Errant Signal – Entwined

By Shamus
on Jun 25, 2014
Filed under:
Video Games

Josh is sick today, so Spoiler Warning will be either very late or very Not At All. So let’s talk about the latest Errant Signal:


Link (YouTube)

I haven’t played Entwined. This is actually the first time I’ve seen anything about it. I’m always a worse game “journalist”This is not to say I’m ever really a journalist, but I’ll admit the distinction is more gradient than binary. when I’m coding. I just can’t keep up with gaming news when I’ve got my head in programming mode. I will say the visuals are amazing.

I know everyone dumps on the orange / blue thing that movies are doing, but I think it’s fine when semi-abstract videogames do it. My problem with orange / blue is when it gets overused on live images and we end up with orange actors. But this? This is glorious. I reflexively want to play it when I see the images.

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Footnotes:

[1] This is not to say I’m ever really a journalist, but I’ll admit the distinction is more gradient than binary.



20626 comments. Hurry up and add yours before it becomes passé.

From the Archives:

  1. Ilseroth says:

    While I haven’t played Entwined, I watched someone play through a couple “ifetimes” and I can honestly say… it definitely seems to be a game developer who got a little too in love with a concept; but lacking the technical capabilities to construct a game that is actually… fun?

    You can argue whether the gameplay elements were artistically congruent with the message or not and as Chris said in the video; they do seem at odds.

    However my issue came from a purely biological viewpoint. A fish and a crane in love? Could they have at least picked two animal that aren’t in a direct predator prey relationship? Maybe artistically it is supposed to make it “forbidden” or what have you; but for me it just made me go “That crane wants to eat the fish, nom nom nom nom”

    Maybe I am sharing in Chris in that… maybe I am just not pretentious enough to like the game; but I think that the issue here is the definition of pretentious. It is an inherently *negative* criticism. It isn’t stating some high level of artistic finesse but rather an attempt and failure of artistic finesse but acting as though it was a success; which is exactly what makes the game rub me the wrong way.
    (It’s not the exact definition, but you get what I mean)

    It claims to high artistic vision, but I think that it’s gameplay as a reflection of the interaction and nature of love simply doesn’t work; not to mention isn’t fun. And let’s make this straight, as soon as you make a game that isn’t fun with the attempt to make an artistic standing you comprimise the intentions of making a game in the first place.

    • syal says:

      Maybe artistically it is supposed to make it “forbidden” or what have you; but for me it just made me go “That crane wants to eat the fish, nom nom nom nom”

      …now I want to see Entwined with Me and Mr. Wolf as the soundtrack.

    • Paul Spooner says:

      There’s an assumption running through the bulk of your statements, that “games are supposed to be fun” which you seem to think that everyone else will reflexively agree with. I, for one, do not. I suggest you re-examine the question “what is a game?”

      The whole “eating” thing is a bit strange, though I suppose it could be seen to play into the sexually suggestive nature of the theme.

      If the game was more willing to go for comedy and irony, they could have played it straight, with the game being about the crane flying across the water, scooping up every fish it can, and then have ending segments where the crane is toying with the fish, and the fish thinks it’s actually impossible love.

      • Ilseroth says:

        I suppose you aren’t wrong; I suppose a game doesn’t inherently have to be fun, but simultaneously if I were to be so bold to put forward that I believe this game in particular wasn’t attempting to make a statement by having gameplay lacking in fun.

        If someone put a gun to my head? I’d say a game was a scenario with specific imposed rules, generally used as temporary escapism from normal life. Even if the activity in the “game” is one in normal life, it is removed from normal life, under certain rules.

        That being said, I suppose I neglected to say that generally I prefer games that at the very least attempt to be fun.

        And yeah, if they played it for comedy or irony then whatever. The issue is their desire to go straight faced in there and claim a higher message; and have it fall flat both thematically and through gameplay.

      • evileeyore says:

        “There’s an assumption running through the bulk of your statements, that “games are supposed to be fun” which you seem to think that everyone else will reflexively agree with. I, for one, do not.”

        If a game is not fun I won’t play it.

        Therefore it stops being useful as a game and only becomes useful as something else entirely (for example a boring teaching aid or an example of how games that aren’t fun don’t get played).

        In that measure I agree with the presumption in Ilseroth’s statesment.

        • Nimas says:

          I don’t want to be argumentative, so to try and avoid that I’ll just ask a question of you.

          What do you think of a horror game? Is it meant to be fun? Or is the different emotion (it at least tries) to evoke either lesser, or at least to you, not useful?

          Again, please don’t read this as a confrontational attack (unfortunately writing almost always comes off like that), I’m just curious as to what you view on the larger spectrum of games, and by extension, entertainment media as well.

          • syal says:

            I think anything you do for its own sake counts as fun. If people deliberately seek out horror, it’s because they find it fun.

          • evileeyore says:

            “Fun” may not be the “best” term. “Enjoyable”? “Pleasurable”? Derive “Fulfillment” or “Meaning” from?

            I do not enjoy ‘pure horror’ games. So, for me they are not fun.* I grok that my fun and other people’s fun are subjective, as many people find pure horror games ‘fun’ (thrilling, enjoyable, etc).

            However if the purpose behind making a ‘game’ is not for the audience to have ‘fun’, then perhaps they are not making a game.

            * S.T.AL.K.E.R. is about as close to horror a game I enjoy getting… and I had to take some of it in small doses. I had to skip the The Church level in the original Thief game for example (the sound was too scary) the first time I played it.

            • Joe Informatico says:

              Someone–maybe Yahtzee?–suggested we should use “engagement” as a broader term in place of “fun”. Does the game hold your interest? Is it so crushingly difficult most people wouldn’t consider it “fun”, but the real challenge (as opposed to Nintendo Hard or Do It Again Stupid difficulty) still keeps you playing again and again? Does it make you think even if the gameplay isn’t particularly original? Does it terrify the crap out of you like a good horror movie?

  2. Daemian Lucifer says:

    “I know everyone dumps on the orange / blue thing that movies are doing, but I think it’s fine when semi-abstract videogames do it. My problem with orange / blue is when it gets overused on live images and we end up with orange actors. ”

    Its just like any other technique,when used appropriately,it enhances the work,when abused,it ruins it.For the best example of this contrast,look at cgi in terminator 2 and in episode 1.

    • Paul Spooner says:

      What I don’t get is why it isn’t yellow and blue. I get that “gold” is a thing, but yellow, for a game, seems much more vibrant.

      • Alexander The 1st says:

        It’s based on the colour wheel: orange is the complement to blue, yellow’s complement is purple.

        As for why orange/blue is so common for movie and video game covers – orange is close enough to skin colour to be a colour easily noticeable in graphic design – more so when contrasted with blue, especially when you start to play with saturation and brightness levels (Which can be useful to prevent strain on the eyes when putting two complimentary colours nearby – see for example, putting a giant red block next to a giant green block at full saturation, and then stare at it – it can give after-images, especially with text written in the opposite colour of the block on it. Saturation helps here.).

        Or the short version: orange/blue is the lazy-man’s colour scheme if they don’t want to look grey or brown-ish; it makes two colours look colourful, one of which you’re very likely to have present anyways.

      • Nidokoenig says:

        One of the advantages of orange and blue is that it’s a vibrant, or at least visible, pairing even for people who are colour blind, and from a quick look at colour wheels put through colourblind filters on Google, it looks like the most consistently readible pair of complementary colours, so if you’ve got no reason to pick another pair you might as well use it for accessibility.

  3. Is Josh sick-sick or “Josh is sick because he drinks and that’s your fault” sick?

  4. Roger Hågensen says:

    Hey Shamus, I just tested out Google Pagespeed as I was curious as to site performance now that the google ads are gone.

    https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.shamusyoung.com%2Ftwentysidedtale%2F

    I also double checked by testing at Webpage Speed
    http://www.webpagetest.org/result/140625_TE_Z1G/

  5. Paul Spooner says:

    This is the first time I’ve heard about the game either. Watching the introduction video, I was really excited! What kind of concepts are they going to try to convey? What kind of mechanics will they use? Both animals are about moving through fluids, and the streamlines seem to suggest they are going to do something with turbulence. That could be interesting!

    You could have the crane diving under-water for short periods, and the fish leaping out of the water for equally short periods. How are they going to resolve the tension of the crane wanting to eat the fish? Of one breathing air and another breathing water? All questions that leapt to mind at the suggestion of the characters and the setting…

    But no… Some sort of flying-on-rails tube thing. Where did the water go? Where are the interesting ideas?

    So disappointing.

  6. Paul Spooner says:

    Every time I see the title, I read it as “Ent Wind” and my mind is filled with Tolkeinesque musings on shattered wind-swept mountain slopes.

  7. Sleepyfoo says:

    I think the mechanics would work much better if the fish was filling up the birds bar and vice versa.

    I also think it would be better if there was a timer and the dragon shape/ abilities were affected by the evenness of the bars at the end, not necessarily their completeness nor the perfectness of the play.

    The first change would feel more like they were actually working together, rather than merely adjacently with a common goal, and the second would allow a commentary on types/health of relationships.

    Peace : )

  8. Hal says:

    At the end of the video, Chris mentioned “Passage.” I decided to look it up, gave it a try . . .

    Well, I’m glad other people seem to have found it meaningful. It didn’t really do anything for me.

  9. Rick C says:

    About 7:15, Chris showed Shamus’ “Do it again, stupid” article on Escapist.

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