“It presents dialogue as a genuine plaything,”
May 23, 2018 1:42 PM   Subscribe

Mike Bithell’s Quarantine Circular is a fantastic conversation with an alien [Polygon] “Mike Bithell’s series of short games seeks to push conversational gaming onward, within the testing constraints of tight budgets and limited development time. Like his superb Subsurface Circular, released last year, Quarantine Circular is a series of dialogue trees, peppered with simple puzzles, climaxing in a big moral choice. While Subsurface Circular offered two alternate endings, this game has six. I played through three of those endings. Game time for a first playthrough is about 2.5 hours.” [YouTube][Game Trailer]

• Mike Bithell's new game Quarantine Circular is another weird text adventure [PC Gamer]
“Bithell describes Quarantine Circular as "a one-sitting game for adults in search of a polished new world to discover" and a text adventure enhanced by "social dynamics and greater choice." It's about a group of scientists interrogating a member of an alien race believed to be linked to a mysterious global pandemic. It deals with "themes of humanity and philosophy," and looks to have the same branching dialogue that made Subsurface Circular so interesting. Judging from its Steam FAQ, Quarantine Circular is quite short indeed. The first entry asks "If this game is ‘short’, what’s to stop me getting a refund when I’m done?" presumably referring to Steam's two-hour refund window. Not that there's a problem with short games: as Steven put it, valuing games by their cost per hour is bullshit. The FAQ also explains that Quarantine Circular is totally independent from Subsurface Circular and Bithell's other games. "Quarantine Circular tells its own self contained story," it says. ”
• Mike Bithell Talks Quarantine Circular, Narrative Choice, and Circumventing Sci-Fi Expectations [Kotaku]
“I asked Bithell about the changes he wanted to make while he was working on Subsurface Circular's follow-up. "I think the biggest bit of feedback on Subsurface Circular was the element of choice and the focus of players on being incorporated more into the storytelling," he said. "That was something that I think is an expectation of the genre. We have this weird dialogue-based text adventure thing, and I think it obviously feels a bit like a visual novel. I love Subsurface Circular, but increased choice was definitely something that it felt like the audience was interested in". One of the bigger changes that I appreciated as a player of Subsurface Circular before Quarantine Circular, was the downplaying of complex linguistic puzzles; something that apparently resulted from players' frustration with some of the puzzles in the original game. On the flip side, Bithell wanted to make the structure of conversations more complex, to avoid treading the same ground he had already covered previously.”
• If You Missed Last Year's Detective Game Subsurface Circular, Play It On The Switch [Kotaku]
“In Subsurface Circular, you ride a subway full of robots going about their daily lives. Your job is to help solve their problems, but there’s a catch: you can’t ever leave your seat. The game came out on PC last August, but, like most things, it’s even better on the Nintendo Switch. Subsurface Circular is a game by Thomas Was Alone developer Mike Bithell that’s available for Switch today. The player controls a detective robot who is “geo-locked” on the titular Subsurface Circular subway train. After a concerned robot approaches them for help searching for a missing friend, they must solve the mystery behind a growing epidemic of disappearances. [...] The features of the Nintendo Switch port capitalize on this believability. Subsurface Circular uses the Switch’s gyroscope features in handheld mode to allow players to tilt their screen to partially look around the environment. Seeing the background tilt and shift depending on how you’re holding the console feels a bit like craning your head to peek towards the end of a subway car at the latest commotion.” [YouTube][Game Trailer]
posted by Fizz (3 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

But a big "fuck off" to the little pointless puzzles that block progress and break up the story. So I am stuck, anybody got the second code? "The Admiral is right" or whatever?

I cannot figure out the deal, and even after reading all the logs I am stumped, no patience to brute force the thing... grrr.
posted by Meatbomb at 8:11 PM on May 23, 2018

*spoiler alert* The Admiral Is Foolish... but yeah, feels a bit pointless to include these bits, here I am on the Internet farting around, broken out of this excellent story!
posted by Meatbomb at 8:19 PM on May 23, 2018

It feels a bit like a trapped room murder mystery. It might not be everyone's cup of tea but I am digging on it. Then again, my own gaming tastes tend to gravitate towards story and character, so this is my jam.
posted by Fizz at 8:41 AM on May 24, 2018 [1 favorite]

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