Kind Words
August 2, 2019 4:54 PM   Subscribe

Thousands of people have come together to create the most moving experiences of the year. Kind Words, a game that invites you to write about something that worries you, and other members of the community are encouraged to send you a kind response - all to a lo-fi beat. Watch a playthrough.
posted by dinty_moore (8 comments total) 43 users marked this as a favorite
I have just signed up to get this added to my wishlist because what a wonderful idea.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:11 PM on August 2, 2019 [1 favorite]

That sounds really nice. Good job. I love the mechanic of the "guide" character is actually a/the mod giving you personalized guidance.
posted by bleep at 10:19 PM on August 2, 2019

It'll be on sale on Steam in September, but it's available now through Humble Bundle's monthly subscription; it's one of the games in the Trove. I'm considering re-subscribing for a month to get it.

I had a subscription for several months, maybe more than a year, and I now have a huge collection of downloads and Steam links for games I know I'll never play. When I hit the point of "yeah, there are 5 high-value games and 3-6 low-value but interesting games every month, of which I am interested in maybe one," I stopped. On the one hand, I have no interest in Slay the Spire or Squad, next month's feature games. On the other, I'd get the non-DRM'd version of Kind Words before the Steaming hordes get access to it and we get to find out if its interaction stands up to a wave of vicious trolls.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 1:29 AM on August 3, 2019 [1 favorite]

Yeah, my thought is that this is lovely, but will fall over so fast once/if it hits users in volume, and doubly so if a reddit or chan decide that going and trolling it would be hilarious. If it can survive a period of being in the sights of asshats, maybe it can return to being the sweet thing it is the moment. But I wouldn't bet on it, sadly.
posted by Dysk at 2:07 AM on August 3, 2019 [2 favorites]

I guess the one thing it has going for it is that there are so many tiny steam games out there that might escape notice. But yeah, I wondered the same thing.

The moderation system seems a lot like the moderation that gets used in volunteer text campaigns, so it still might work.
posted by dinty_moore at 4:34 AM on August 3, 2019

I love games like this where the only way to progress is to be nice to people (even anonymous people.) I thought Journey was an amazing example of this. Does anyone know if there is like, a name for this game mechanic so i can look for other games like this? or maybe you know of some?
posted by capnsue at 7:03 PM on August 3, 2019

It's a very lovely game, and has a neat mechanic where you can have a webpage tell you if you have new mail (so you don't have to leave the game open all the time. ;) )

I ran across an AMA with the dev on reddit, they really did seem to want to keep things friendly.

The biggest win may not specifically be the advice you get, though that can be helpful, but to give you a place to exercise your empathy muscles. Taking a moment to think about someone else, with best wishes in mind for them, is a very good daily exercise.

The makers of Journey recently released Sky which encourages collaborative play, and rewards you with non-verbal emotion animations, and lets you hold hands with other players while you fly and puzzle solve your way through a really pretty realm. Currently only available on mobile.

p.s. Slay the spire is really really good. :D Something about the rhythm of play is totally addictive, fwiw. ;)
posted by dreamling at 8:18 PM on August 4, 2019 [2 favorites]

I re-subbed to Humble Monthly, downloaded the game, and tried it.

1) It's lovely. The art and music are charming.
2) It's well-intentioned but it's so open to abuse that it's frightening to think about.
3) For now, it's full of very earnest, mostly very lonely people who are trying to help each other. There's an overwhelming, "aww, how sweet" tone to the whole experience.

There's some buggy things - a few actual bugs, plus game design details that could be better. (The dev's working on some of them.) Like, there are people who will post uplifting notes instead of actual requests. Which are nice! ...but hard to answer. Dev is working on a way to separate these from the requests that want replies.

You collect stickers by giving answers to requests. If the recipient liked your answer, they may give you a sticker. Once you have a sticker, you can attach it to replies; I don't think that also gives out stickers, but I'm not sure. There are about a dozen stickers. When you have a sticker, you can place that object in your room. (You can still use it as a sticker.)

Many of the requests fall into these categories:
* Imposter syndrome, "I think I'm faking everything and people will notice"
* I like a girl and don't know if I should tell her
* I am depressed and lonely and don't know if that will ever get better
* I hate my job
* My ex has scrambled my social life

There are also a few "should I come out to my parents?" and "just starting school far from home and that's scary" posts. And there are "Please share your favorite song/game/book" posts. There are also gamification posts: "I have these stickers; send me a reply and tell me which one you want."

I have no idea if the dev is ready to deal with swarms of reports of hostile requests/replies that are likely to happen when it hits Steam.

I have all but one sticker. I would decide not to deal with the "I like a girl" requests, but if you don't answer them, they keep popping up, so I wind up saying something noncommittal to make the request go away. (Something like, "ask her, but respect her boundaries if she says she's not interested. I hope you find someone special for you.")
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 1:09 PM on August 6, 2019 [1 favorite]

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