10 Beautiful Postcards

Its Tuesday somewhere in the world! Since it has been two weeks please share your thoughts and feelings about 10 Beautiful Postcards.

In order to allow for a thorough discussion of 10 Beautiful Postcards this thread will contain spoilers for any and all portions of the game.

In a few days I’m gonna put up another thread about the next game for videogame book club. I’ll be asking how people feel about the format. So if you would like the club to be run differently, think on changes you would like.

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I have not finished and am about to start more after I write this post. So far the game is delightful!

For now the most surprising element was the regular shift in perspective/character controls. It brought to mind Frog Fractions and the frequent changes in that game.

I haven’t played any other games by thecatamites. Do their other games have similar tone or themes? Or are they similarly surprising?

I was so surprised when it popped into 3D the first time!

I’ve got big time Anodyne 2 brain because it just came out, but something they (Ano2 devs) talk about is how ‘heterogeneous’ their game is. Most games are so samey, lots of ‘core’ gameplay with slight changes on the theme or w/e. It’s super refreshing to play something like this where it’s just like … a big pile of weird stuff and it’s not afraid to become something completely different all of a sudden.

I’m only a short bit into it but I’ve laughed a bunch. I think the writing is great although sometimes feels a little too off-the-cuff or something? I kind of don’t love a lot of the art, feels like just random colors that don’t work together for me. Coupled with the abrasive music it’s a little barfy. But there’s so much variety that sometimes stuff clicks and ends up looking great, like especially maps where it’s super sparse line work I think.

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I feel like I risk overly determining the discussion if I hop in early since I contributed some of the art/writing, and also wrote a blog about it, which includes my thematic interpretations, but I don’t want to forward it as a “canonical” interpretation, because there is obviously a ton of ways to take it!

I like thecatamites’ games because they give me the same feeling of like, unpredictability and abundance that the weird PC CDROM games I played when I was a kid gave me. That a ton of mysterious and appealing things could just emerge indefinitely from the computer. Goblet Grotto and 50 Short Games are my other favorites

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I definitely felt that PC CDrom callback when i played the game as well, i had intense flashbacks of the demo CDs of point and click games i played as a kid, pajamasam and marine malice and whatever that one with a car was. They share the same cacophony of onscreen elements in each tableau, but i think also the untethered-ness of the whole thing: the demos i played were from cereal boxes and i didn’t have a notion, at the time, of the difference between a cereal box demo and a full product, so i viewed these experiences as truncated non-sequitur games, and the uhh “structural chaos” of 10 beautiful postcards gave me the same kind of vertigo?

Also, 10 beautiful postcards is (in part) about the absurdity of capitalism and the way its agents uphold the mirage of a rationale behind it (half the characters in the game are very intent on explaining to Pesky that It Makes Sense, just hear this out, witness this clever scheme!!) in a way that only works as long as everyone is too busy/overwhelmed/poisoned to stop and think about it, and i think CDs in cereal boxes are kind of like that also. Like whose idea was it to put CDroms in cereal boxes honestly?? Sometime in the past someone came to an exec with the brilliant idea to strike a deal for the promotion of their videogame with fucking kellogg’s and apparently noone stopped to ask what the hell was going on.

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Also i wanna say the way that the dialogue works in that game (by duplicating characters / extending the scene-time over the screen-space (??), and giving them different speech bubbles that just appear on contact, like some kind of hyperlink fresco) is SO clever

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I LOVE the weird time dilation you get from the duplicated character speech bubble thing. It pulls from comics (and I imagine simplifies production) in a way that feels so smart. I plan to steal it for future stuff.

I’ve been taking it slow (read: it took me 13 hours to beat ano2 lol) and playing a little here and a little there, and reading @coleoptera’s blog as like a companion piece, which I think does the game a huge service in contextualizing it and making it part of something so much bigger (and also smaller and more personal and specific). I haven’t finished either yet though - I keep bumping back and forth feeling like I need to play more before I read more, etc.

I just played through the gallery in the game and was really floored by it. I felt like it really doubled down on the way the game mixes up space and time. Was a really beautiful way to fall in and out of a surreal dreamspace.

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The gallery arc is one of my favorite bits too, both because I’m “actually an art historian” and because the change in perspective from character to eye reminded me a lot of the kind of ambiguous position the player was in in a lot of the old edutainment CD-ROM type games I had as a kid. I think the idea of being a moving eye within a game space is so interesting!

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I’m playing through very slowly, but opened it up this morning and walked around again.

One thing that strikes me is how many critical arrows hit me as I play. There are so many moments where a particular perspective or ideology has the absurdity of their view pointed out in a short and humorous line. My personal perspective is often hit by these barbs and I am both stunned by how funny and technically correct it is while I’m also aware that there is a good heaping of reductionism to make the joke punchier. The skill of writing some of thise jokes just really impresses me because they require such a commitment to see things in a different way than the dominant culture in which I live.

Something else I appreciate is the impressionistic quality of these spaces. They have persistent doorway-connections so it often feels like a series of places that exist in the area of one another, but they often have such strongly varying aesthetics that makes each space feel like it had something particular and significant worth representing with a color palette, soundscape,slight inconveniece, or inclusion. In the session I played this morning, it was the parking-garage that struck me. It has the feel of a section on my camera-roll when I am bored in a place and just took a bunch of photos. Or if I have an opportunity to do something that would typically be rather expensive and I make sure to jot down a page-length description of what I found interesting.

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Thank you all for the kind words!! I didn’t want to respond until the thread died down but very glad to hear people have been enjoying my attempt at the exciting genre of “yume nikki clone with no collision detection”.

It doesn’t surprise me that some parts end up feeling a bit acerbic although I wouldn’t be able to say exactly which bits they are, hahah. When I first started working on this game I was feeling quite bitter and that was what made me want to just make the happy, goofy game that I’d personally find interesting regardless of whether anyone else felt it was good or a real game or whatever. The process of making it was very pleasurable but I guess a little of the negativity ended up in there too. I’d originally planned to make it a children’s game, and I’m pretty sure there’s no violence or swearing in there, but I came to suspect those parts would make it kind of unsuitable for that purpose, or at least a little more of a bummer.

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