Ramblings: Munchlax Analysis

[10/10/17 edit: god does this not age well at all]

I’m sort of a podcast-junkie and I got a bunch of educational and gaming podcasts loaded on my phone. I too have also been taken up by Griffin McElroy cloud and his stuff is also threatening to fill up my phone, forcing me to constantly redownload data for phone games.

Cool Games Inc. is a real interesting thing to listen to. Griffin and Polygon-fellow Nick Robinson spends like half-an-hour or more bouncing ideas off of each other for games. A lot of them are ridiculous while some are ridiculous and cool. Like The Lodge. I want The Lodge to be real, goddamn it.

While The Lodge has yet to become reality, some fans do take it upon themselves to make some of the Cool Games Inc. properties reality.

munchlaxanalysis

Munchlax Analysis is one of those games. Munchlax Analysis is a narrative game made in Twine by aliveinthewired, which I’m guessing is a Lain reference. The game’s based off of episode 46 of Cool Games Inc. The grand idea of Munchlax Analysis was born out of a separate idea of a game idea where musicians fight with abilities based on the names of their songs (which is a rad idea in itself), leading into a discussion of the soundtrack of Digimon the Movie, then heading into Pokemon: The First Movie and its negative critical reception and decided to make an idea based off of that.

You play as a film critic tasked with reviewing Pokemon: The First Movie. The game is a standard narrative Twine with multiple choices, telling the story of a reviewer struggling to review a movie they see as vapid. In between moments of the writer stressing over the review, you piece it together with the different choices presented to you, giving an accompanying block of text for the review. The choices range from the reviewer being unable to suspend disbelief and questioning the more fantastical elements of Pokemon to comparing the movie to other ones to acceptance that the movie isn’t for them. Most of these choices are negative, reflecting the reception of the movie while feeling like a satire of that reception.

In most circumstances, the paragraphs you’ve pieced together will lead to you getting fired. However, one combination of choices I got presented a victoriously published review made up of all the choices I picked, while getting to keep my job. I don’t know if there’s only one winning combination or multiple ones, but reading the review tidbits for each choice is entertaining in itself.

It’s not quite the Papers, Please-esque game envisioned on the podcast, but aliveinthewired still succeeds at giving a nice take on the concept.

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