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Cart #49642 | 2018-02-25 | Code ▽ | Embed ▽ | No License
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Beautiful! This edutainment game will teach you about the world of cryptocurrency trading.

Inhabit the persona of any of seven different moguls -- six colorful animal mascots who just made their own ICO, and Zaurg, an everyman who just wants to strike it rich with his retirement fund. Choose one and receive constant informative commentary from the other six. Sometimes only the other five -- Zaurg doesn't comment much. Seethe as they jeer at you and relish their downfall.

This game has two end states. If you get one, why not try for the other one?

Different trading strategies will affect the game outcome. The coin prices follow a standard model for stock prices, augmented with additional rules to capture cryptocurrency market behavior and adjust the difficulty. (For minimal cheating on the part of the game, play as Zaurg.) In addition, NPC commentary is influenced by your trading strategy, and one end state can only be reached by an entire day of optimal trading.

The soundtrack consists of five tunes including a chorale and a fugue. Not all tunes can be heard in every playthrough.

Made specifically for Zaurg's personal finance thread on SomethingAwful.

Music by Zekka -- art and text by Zekka and a dozen swans -- code by Zekka -- testing by Frank West.

(This is my first PICO-8 game, so sorry about the low production values!)

P#49643 2018-02-25 02:29 ( Edited 2018-02-27 12:21)

:: Felice

Interesting concept, but I think you have a bug. Most of the stocks bottomed out after a few days and just sat there.

P#49648 2018-02-25 04:39 ( Edited 2018-02-25 09:39)

I concur, interesting concept. The learning curve is too steep at the beginning, though.You'll probably lose some players here.

P#49649 2018-02-25 05:38 ( Edited 2018-02-25 10:38)
:: Zekka

Hey, Felice! This happened a few times in testing, but Frank couldn't get it to repro consistently. It seems to happen about once every five playthroughs and it seems to happen more often if you dump all your money into a cryptocurrency that immediately crashes. Maybe the model is just too accurate?

Let me know if you figure out what causes this. (Or if it happens consistently, that's really bad.)

P#49667 2018-02-25 13:03 ( Edited 2018-02-25 18:25)
:: Davbo

I had a right laugh playing this on splore! I didn't get as far as an ending though so I'll have to play again. I played until the market went totally crazy then I had to stop because I was laughing too hard. Regarding the difficulty, I had no idea what was going on or how the graphs really functioned or how to tell what I owned and what it was worth and what selling was worth but I kinda thought that was on purpose - the game being crazy and confusing to satire the bitcoin trading nonsense. And I thought it was hilarious.
I'll give it another look in later and see if I can get to an ending or two :D

P#49678 2018-02-25 17:47 ( Edited 2018-02-25 22:47)
:: Zekka

Yeah, you have the right idea about what I intended. The audience of the game is a guy on the SomethingAwful forums who won't sell his bitcoins and keeps posting updates on what they're worth, but doesn't understand that they're practically worth nothing if you don't sell them.

I think the game might be a little bit too confusing though -- I'm tempted to write a big effortpost that explains all the things that are in the game and how to get them.

EDIT: Being clear my goal was that people would be able to figure out how to buy or sell (and whether an asset is too expensive to buy right now), but estimating value is just a matter of staring at the chart and praying it goes up, not down. The game tells you what your assets are worth -- afaik a lot of crypto investors just look at the total sum of all their holdings and say "it went up, I'm a good investor" or "it went down, I'm a bad investor." The game certainly doesn't give you enough information to predictably make a profit.

I hope it's not so confusing you couldn't even figure out how to do the basic gameplay mechanics!

P#49710 2018-02-26 13:08 ( Edited 2018-02-26 18:11)
:: Davbo

It's a tricky one - making your game (or whatever creative work) intentionally confusing or obtuse in some other way to make a point. I worried a lot about this when making my Pico 8 game Brainmaze. I personally feel I understood your point with this so mission accomplished...?

I guess you have to put a lot of faith in your players that they will be interested enough to think about it. Hoping that your creation encourages them to tug on an idea that they may not have considered before. Also does every player need to understand it for it to be a success? Half of the players?

To consider the extreme, you can go to an contemporary or surreal art gallery somewhere and see super weird stuff that doesn't necessarily explain itself well or needs external explanation but still aims to get the viewer thinking and is considered successful.

To clarify I did understand the mechanics of buying and selling. The first time I played it was such a blast of information that I just kinda ended up mashing buttons. I think I must have lost all my money immediately and then have been unable to do anything. I was confused enough that I re-started the game to make sure I'd read the instructions properly. Second time round, I could see I was actually buying shares with the line going up but I was confused as to if the line showing how much of each currency I had was related to the price of the currency or not since they shared the same screen space. I was also getting confused as to when the graphs moved up and down and how to know how high up it was if the whole thing could move. Then the clock started flashing and I was like 'huh?' then everything went nuts and that's when I realised I wasn't supposed to understand anything. That was the point. And I thought that was brilliant.

I did play again and begin to figure out my cash counter at the bottom and the $$ signs conveying where the graph was (... right?) but at that point it didn't really matter because I felt like I'd already got the joke. So I think that's worth embracing.

My only criticism is that maybe all the different characters could have had more quips or unique quips. I had pretty much everyone tell me I don't read enough forbes which got tired as a joke and kinda washed out the character of each since they all said the same thing.

Hmm, I've been typing a while. To sum up, I personally think it's okay to throw your player a bit if it supports the point of your game. Though I'm not sure everyone would agree! But that's okay. And again I think this game is great.

P#49744 2018-02-27 07:21 ( Edited 2018-02-27 15:25)

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