January 19, 2009

Meta-Games?

So I'm seeing these ForumWarz ads all over the place, and thinking...ok sounds interesting. I guess. Went to try it out (it's freeeeee! - sort of.) and got lost in a jumble of confused information and directions. But apparently here, on this simulated world that is the internet, with all its simulated interaction...Forumwarz creates a simulation OF the simulation, in which you have to hack, troll, whore, or emo your way into pwning the fake message boards they show you. Who the hell spent the time creating all those characters and writing message board threads for them all? You go into simulated existing forums to do this stuff, after all; and they have ongoing conversations that you have to pwn.

Needless to say, this sounded extremely mega- well, META. Which makes it either too cool or too stupid for words. It's kind of like in Rockstar Games' "Bully", where to win certain challenges you have to play arcade games like "ConSUMO" against the nerds and beat their scores to win the clubhouse. Only in a really goony way. It's not like a mini-game, either; it's a simulation simulation.

Then to make it even skeezier, there are REAL message boards in there for people who PLAY the game, adding to the overall incomprehensibility of what you're trying to do. One of the threads on the "real" forums says "No trolling here" and you're like...is it a test? What the hell am I trying to accomplish? This is weird.

Finally it hit me, since there are so many 4-chan memes in it, it might be a good idea to see how they review such an exercise. I wasn't disappointed - I got more laughs from the Encyclopaedia Dramatica entry on the game than I did from playing the hour or so that I played. Also, it's not free if you actually want to progress. So there's that.

But for a few lulz, do read the intro to the ED game review; it's definitely good for some laughs. Skip the game.

2 comments:

Jalapeño Bootyhole said...

Hi there!

Jalapeno Bootyhole here, co-creator of Forumwarz.

Thanks for your mini-review of our game. Even though you didn't seem too enthused about our offering, we appreciate people taking the time to check it out.

However (and we know the game can seem a bit confusing at first blush), I'd still encourage you to play a bit further into the game to get a better idea of what it's about. The universe of Forumwarz is indeed very "meta," but we'd like to think there's more to it than just an endless barrage of detached references — there's an engaging story in there somewhere.

In response to your (perhaps rhetorical) question: Our small team did in fact write all the dialog, item descriptions, attacks, forum text, etc., although we had a lot of help from our users in creating the Episode 2 forums. (As your review notes, Episode 2 requires a donation, although you can derive a decent amount of gameplay without paying anything.) It was a lot of work, but it was a labor of love.

Finally, while ED's writeup of Forumwarz is indeed amusing, I'd encourage you to check out that article's history. Its early versions were, uncharacteristically, extremely positive and enthusiastic. But as soon as we started advertising there, one of our users deemed it "gay" and decided it needed a more typically sardonic tone. However, we doubt anyone at ED believes a word of it. It is, in other words, about as representative of Forumwarz as their article on World of Warcraft is.

If you want a "fair and balanced" description of the Forumwarz universe, you can check out our shockingly comprehensive Wikipedia entry.

Thanks again for your time and interest.

Jalapeno Bootyhole
Creative Director
Forumwarz

AnnieMcPhee said...

Hello yourself, Jalapeno Bootyhole, and thanks for dropping by!

"It was a lot of work, but it was a labor of love."

Aw, I'm sorry. I was having some fun; but obviously someone really DID put a lot of work into the thing. That much is clear.

As to ED; if they really hated it, naturally they wouldn't have so many pro-tips on how to beat the game...that's just how they do it. I will in all likelihood be giving my character another shot, even if I can't really figure the damn thing out. Who knows, maybe I will in the end :)

Congrats - regardless of any negative reviews I take it you guys are doing well, and I hope you continue doing well.