No vulgarians were harmed in the making of this post.
March 8, 2007 7:04 PM   Subscribe

A handsome, though humble, little game for Flash Friday: Sprout. The clear winner, in my mind, in this game design competition. (Though the sequel to Gateway is as eerie as the first.)
posted by Terminal Verbosity (28 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
nice art, but the gameplay sucks, just trial and error with only one right way, I'll pass.
posted by CaptMcalister at 7:20 PM on March 8, 2007 [1 favorite]

I didn't enjoy Sprout very much when I played it a while back. Thanks for pointing me to Gateway II, though. I just got sucked into it and realized that I should be working.

Definitely going to try that out tonight.
posted by eyeballkid at 7:22 PM on March 8, 2007 [1 favorite]

Very gorgeous looking, but the playability isn't quite there. It needs more Rube Goldberg I think.
posted by substrate at 7:25 PM on March 8, 2007

I'm not as big a fan of JiG as I once was. Their submission/selection process is questionable, in my opinion.

In addition, I'm getting a little tired of the way they seem to shill for some companies, instead of trying to be the independent game reviewer they claim.

And I'm just a bit bored with the "Hey! Here's the new completely bizzaro game we allegedly had people unconnected with the development, hosting, and marketing of submit to us!" theme that seems to be common.

Rewarding innovation is nice. Rewarding playability seems nicer.
posted by Samizdata at 7:34 PM on March 8, 2007 [1 favorite]

What do I do when I get into the desert?
posted by Saucy Intruder at 7:56 PM on March 8, 2007

Saucy, you need water to grow in the desert.
posted by zsazsa at 8:02 PM on March 8, 2007

Sprout is terribly linear, but soothing enough that I don't mind the frustration. Saucy, you'll want to noticing that the act of growing, sprouting, dropping coconuts, etc., can actually change your environment. However, I do like the fruit tree going WHOOSH in the desert. I wish that happened in real life; I'd plant spontaneously combusting trees all over the place.
posted by adipocere at 8:12 PM on March 8, 2007

Whoops. Forgot my postscript to my post above...


There. I'm done now.
posted by Samizdata at 8:19 PM on March 8, 2007

Oh, not that Sprout.
posted by Rhomboid at 8:45 PM on March 8, 2007

Or this one.
posted by sappidus at 9:09 PM on March 8, 2007

This game is really nicely designed, and I like the fact that it is an adventure game. However there is basically no gameplay, just a neat visual experience.
posted by Count at 9:42 PM on March 8, 2007

Not this Sprout, either.

But speaking of which: Sproutstock, anyone? We're going to drop some acid and see Huey Lewis and the News.
posted by zylocomotion at 10:24 PM on March 8, 2007

Rewarding innovation is nice. Rewarding playability seems nicer.

Couldn't agree more, samizdata, but a good chunk of playability is being able to figure out how to make it do what you want it to. I guess mastering MK combos or whatever is similar, but much less elegant and subtle in approach.

Sprout is terribly linear

I didn't see it that way, adipocere. I found I was making choices I were probably wrong, just to see how they manifested. And this from a guy whose primary goal in WoW life is to get pretty much all the way through, smelling the roses as efficiently as possible while never working harder at it than I care to until it ends.

Heh. Flash as existential angst.
posted by phrits at 10:29 PM on March 8, 2007

Thank you, Terminal Verbosity, for posting this.

No, Sprout may not be for everyone, but it is exactly the kind of game we were looking for in the competition. By the way, it was a competition with a theme: "GROW".

Gateway II is also an exceptional (and elaborate) effort and deserves recognition as well.

You picked two excellent choices to link to, I must say. ;)

Samizdata - we have no affiliation with Triplejack, I just love the site. The administrators there work hard to maintain a family-friendly environment, which is consistent with the goals I have for my own site. We hold a weekly poker event to foster community, and people love it. Many of the prizes come out of my own pocket, including the Nintendo DS we'll be giving away.

Furthermore, we select games to review based on whether we find them exceptional, and for no other reason. No one tells us what games to review. Ever.

Your accusations are unsubstantiated and furthermore don't even belong here. This post is about a couple of exceptional (FREE) Flash games created by independent game developers, and submitted to a game design competition that celebrates talent from around the world.
posted by jayisgames at 11:55 PM on March 8, 2007

Whoops. Forgot my postscript to my post above...

posted by jayisgames at 12:04 AM on March 9, 2007

As you wish.

posted by Samizdata at 12:49 AM on March 9, 2007

I hate hate hate Grow-type games. However, I don't agree with the JiG bashing here. JiG is awesome for what it is: A huge collection of links directly to games I would never be able to find myself, with very little getting in my way (such as advertising). I'd say the biggest problem is the lack of a good interface for browsing the collection.
posted by DU at 4:06 AM on March 9, 2007

This is the 40th anniversary year of Conway's excellent game of Sprouts.
posted by Wolfdog at 4:13 AM on March 9, 2007

I'm well aware of that issue, Wolfdog, and we are working on that. I appreciate the feedback and the kind words.
posted by jayisgames at 5:12 AM on March 9, 2007

Sorry, my previuos comment was directed towards Du, not Wolfdog.

And we just announced the winners of the competition, so I can report now that Terminal Verbosity called it correctly: first place SPROUT, runner-up GATEWAY II.

posted by jayisgames at 5:37 AM on March 9, 2007

I would rather you work on my issue.
posted by Wolfdog at 5:56 AM on March 9, 2007

Jay, I enjoy your site, but I share the opinion that the site has gotten less enjoyable as it's gotten more commercialized in the last year or so; my patronage has dropped from every other day to every other week. Though I don't share the opinion about your motives or review process.
posted by Kwine at 6:43 AM on March 9, 2007

Thanks so much for the link Terminal Verbosity - I love Sprout. It's beautiful and charming and inventive, and just made me happy playing it. Awesome.
posted by Ira.metafilter at 7:01 AM on March 9, 2007

I appreciate your feedback as well, Kwine. Unforuntately, in the Web world, ads help to pay the bills which increase somewhat in proportion to the popularity of the site. It's a necessary evil, I'm afraid. I'm doing the best I can without selling out and without exploiting the hard work of the indie game developers we promote.
posted by jayisgames at 7:40 AM on March 9, 2007

Fun game, thanks for posting. Good way to kill 20 minutes. :)
posted by Zephyrial at 10:18 AM on March 9, 2007

Cute game, I like the graphic design a la crayons.

Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeee! I just got pooped by a sheep.
posted by Sprout the Vulgarian at 12:27 PM on March 9, 2007 [1 favorite]

JiG has always been upfront about any relationships it has with developers, and I respect them for that. Their competitions entries seem to be some of the best content they provide. And I like sprout a lot when I first saw it - it's a grow type game only if you stuff up you don't have start from scratch - a design decision I can only applaud.

But, as far as games blogs go, my heart belongs to lazylaces - coz when I'm not pointing 'n' laughing, I like to be pointing 'n' clicking. It's a thing.

A deeply, deeply geeky thing
posted by Sparx at 4:15 PM on March 9, 2007

Gateway II is awesome too. Good to see a game with some storytelling ambition.
posted by Ira.metafilter at 4:18 PM on March 9, 2007

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