Thechineseroom: The Goal Is To Get Pigs Under Your Skin

Thechineseroom: The Goal Is To Get Pigs Under Your Skin

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Anyone who plays the game for four hours or less hates it, and anyone who plays over six hours loves it, says Dan Pinchbeck.

Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs, thechineseroom's collaboration with Frictional to create the second Amnesia game, has enthralled and polarized fans of the original. "So many people said, if you had taken one word out - Amnesia - you'd have been getting nines and 10s from reviews," says Jessica Curry, Dan Pinchbeck's partner. But that's OK, say Pinchbeck and Curry; thechineseroom wasn't trying to create something that beat Amnesia, and Frictional wouldn't have thanked it if it had. Thechineseroom wanted to make something that burrowed under your skin, and it thinks it succeeded.

"What you've got to remember, if you get flak, is that you are being compared to a game that never existed," Thomas Grip of Frictional told thechineseroom team just before Machine For Pigs launched. It was true; many of the complaints from fans boiled down to 'it's not how we remember Dark Descent', whether or not their memories of the original were accurate. But, Pinchbeck discovered, many of those same fans who initially wrote emails saying 'it's not Dark Descent' would write him again, days later, to confess that Machine For Pigs had gotten to them, at a fundamental level.

"That's really interesting to me to have people write twice," says Pinchbeck. "Either, 'I loved it,' or 'it's shit', in your emails, in your in-tray, but to have so many people come back and say: 'Oh, it's got a really ... insidious crawl to it." Playing with your nerve endings, creating something that sticks with you long after the denouement, that was what thechineseroom wanted. It certainly helps if you spend longer in the world, exploring it as you would an old fashioned RPG, but the point - particularly in the early stages - is to teach you "the emotional way of playing the game," says Pinchbeck.

Nail that, and you've got the essence of Pigs. Everything after that is gravy.

Source: Guardian

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The problem I had with the game was that it was basically another "walking simulator". When I heard "Frictional collab with thechineseroom" I thought story/gameplay by frictional and visual stuff by chineseroom. Not just a Dear Esther with pigs.

I get that videogames are "interactive stories" but just walking has never seemed that "interactive" to me.

It wasn't that great a game in general, it had a vaguely interesting back-story and the only part I found remotely decent was a certain speech from our Walk-in-a-direction Bot 3000 at the end.

Comparing it to Dark Descent wouldn't be fair because they were both games aiming for very different things but really if they were going for this 'get under your skin' motif, for me personally, it didn't really happen.

I completed it and I still hate it.

It starts strong during the first 30 mins, than you realize that nothing you can do has any consequence and there is nothing else to do than getting to the next story point in an increasingly twisted story that ends on a totally different note than it began with.
At least that final note held something interesting.

The only section that impressed me was the 'pig quarters' and that far too short. Would the game have been more like this, maybe I'd have even liked it.

emotional? yeah it raises my blood pressure!

Anyone who plays the game for four hours or less hates it, and anyone who plays over six hours loves it, says Dan Pinchbeck.

That's the most circular logic I've ever heard. Someone who loved it would of course play it more (though I can't see how a seasoned player could milk over six hours out of that thing without playing it twice or really getting hung up), whereas someone who hated it would play it less.

Yeah, okay, it's not the original Amnesia, fair enough. Problem is, it's called Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs. It's waving the banner of the franchise. I think people expected a bit more connection than an engine and a few throwaway lines on random found bits of paper.

Had it been called just A Machine for Pigs almost nobody would have compared it negatively to the original. But then, the sales would be lower.

would write him again, days later, to confess that Machine For Pigs had gotten to them, at a fundamental level.

Tell me about it. Ever since I realized what they were going for with the meat plant I can't stop humming "I wish I were an Auschwitz Meyer weiner...." and that is going to get me in so much trouble one of these days.

exploring it as you would an old fashioned RPG

I wasn't aware there was that much to explore. The opening parts in the mansion, maybe, but once it went steampunk hell it was pure linearity. I watched three different Let's Plays of it, including one by OMGarrett who normally manages to get into the weird corners of the games he plays, and all I saw was the exact same linear run-through with little variation from all three. Even with their different play styles, the game just funneled them from set-piece to phone call to gramophone to set-piece. Hell, I can't count the number of times Garrett said "invisible wall" when he tried to stray from the beaten path and got nothing for it.

Yeah, well, Amnesia was no Penumbra, so it sucked!

That's the most circular logic I've ever heard. Someone who loved it would of course play it more (though I can't see how a seasoned player could milk over six hours out of that thing without playing it twice or really getting hung up), whereas someone who hated it would play it less.

Maybe they did clinical trials with forced play time

It was a definite let-down. Having unlimited oil for your lamp, having few monsters and no real sense of danger even with those monsters and having no actual game mechanics outside of walking killed it. It was not scary, it was not atmospheric. It was bland.

These guys are so pretentious I can hardly stand reading anything they say without vomiting in my mouth a little. Anyway, I took my time on A Machine for Pigs, just as I did with Dark Descent. The difference was that I was thoroughly bored and the longer I played, the more bored I became.

Formica Archonis:
Problem is, it's called Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs. It's waving the banner of the franchise.

Zelda 2 waved the banner of the franchise and look what it did.
Also Amnesia now has literally two games in the franchise, they can afford wiggle room with what they wanna do. Amnesia is whatever Frictional says it is, and if they were completely fine with the TheChineseRoom's take on it then it's most definitely Amnesia.

These people are unbelievable. This was an ok-ish game that could've been great if they's taken a ton of pages out of the original's book, but it didn't get to me on "a fundamental" level. The story wasn't even that great or original.

This is as much evidence of them having learned nothing as I'll ever need.

Also, that game didn't accidentaly get slapped with the Amnesia brand, thechineseroom were explicitly hired to make an entry in the Amnesia franchise. Cutomers had every reason to expect more parallels than the player characters not remembering stuff.

 

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