That one's going to take some explaining, isn't it? AHC being a clone of TB because the same creator; that's like saying Aprone's swamp is a clone of castaways because... I'm sure you get the point.
If you're going to say that AHC is a clone of anything, say it's a clone of entombed because the concept of turnbased combat is there, because the concept of exploration is there, because there's freaking gold in both games, for goodness sake. Shops? Check. Tavern? Check. Three party members you can get to go with you on your explorations? Check. Looting? The ability to find gold and items you didn't start off with before? New spells, skills and increased stats as you leve and gain XP? Check check check!
and if we keep ripping it apart like this, we can claim that any game that does things like this is a clone of any other. No no no! Those of you arguing it from this perspective have missed the topic creator's purpose and point!
I realize the rest of this is going to sound like a verbal spanking of sorts, and perhaps one might infer that I'm ungreatful for this particular title... I'd like to clarify that I'm not. while I have personal reasons for feeling to some degree the way I do, I'm going to leave those out of the equation and sincerely focus on this discussion as objectively as I can. I can't promise I'll do it justice, but I promise to try and beg your undivided attention throughout, regardless whether you're a dev or a gamer.
Because James and I have already had this discussion, I feel I am more than qualified to weigh in on this side of the conversation; the question is not, "What makes this game not a clone?" The question is, and I quote, "What makes this game any different to the 50000000 clones out there?" We can safely assume when we rip apart a game as I have shown above, that any game is a clone of any other because "insert number of random concepts I've already dealt with here." the question does not even attempt to soften, or make in any way harsh the fact, that this is, in fact a clone. Of what is arguable, but the fact is that when you step into AHC and, assuming you've played RPG's before, you're stepping into familiar territory. Perhaps it's been spruced up with more dialogue than the last one you played, and the spells and skills are called something different, and the sounds are different, and the damage types are slightly different, and the numbers are different, but it feels, for the most part, entirely the same!
This is the question! What makes this game, any game, different from the last one I played that had all of the same concepts in it? What makes AHC stand out more than Entombed, to use my above example? is it just the fact that it's not a dungeon crawler? is it the fact that there were more devs on the project? is it the keystrokes? Is it the music? is it all of the above and nothing else? Could this game be more?
and once we get done answering that side of the question, let us ask ourselves something else: if we were a part of the majority of gamers playing sighted games on sighted game consoles, would we be perfectly ok with sticking to the concepts, mechanics and overall play remaining almost predictable? Is Mortal Kombat exactly the same as Tekken? Do you feel the same when playing both? does Virtua Fighter feel the same as those two? If we add Street Fighter and Killer Instinct into the mix, can you honestly say that if you've seen one fighting game you've seen them all? Are all FPS games the same to you? Are all RPG's??
Eventually the sighted community ends up wanting more, ends up wanting to raise the bar! Is it wrong for the blind community, and its developers to want the same? Having finally paid 20 dollars to see what all the fuss was about, I can honestly say thatI would rather have waited 10 years for AHC to come out and be vastly and uniquely different to what it is now, than having all the hype I ended up with and the anticlimax I felt when realizing that this is something I've played before with more sopistication thrown in! the marketing was brilliant! The design is different! the sounds are different! the keystrokes are different! The places, items, names of people and even the way they interact with one another, are all different! Perhaps I'll find that when I have the time to actually sit down and play through the whole thing that the replayability is even different! the game, the mechanics, the way you play it and the purpose for which you're working toward, though, it all feels like I've done it before! That doesn't make it a horrible title, and it's not a purchase I regret making, but if I'm going to stay in the ag market as an audiogamer, I believe I have the right to ask and kindly demand, whether in fact developers should be more concerned with making games that do more, more in the sense that there's more of a game than the last one we had! Strip out all the complex sound design, take away all the smashing and pounding music, forget all the beautifully done acting scenes and cinematography and, focus! On a game! if that's what it takes!
If there's a reason I respect Aprone, it's the fact that he's made us all have to! Have to think outside of the box! have to use a mouse to play some of his games! Back when I first arrived on the seen everyone was absolutely desperate to stick to their keyboards and beged him forever and beyond to change up swamp to fit their needs! why not! FPS's can be done this way! Audioquake, anyone? Technishock? Shades of Doom? All keyboard! why not! Aprone said no! While some may have gone out of their way to mcjigger the game to do some of what they wanted... what do I know, I believe we can all agree you're going to get the best results in Swamp by using a mouse! All of Aprone's games require you to do something you don't feel ok with doing! In castaways and Paw Prints, you have to make sacrifices and you're more than likely not going to win the game with all the units you started out with! It means people are going to die! IN Swamp, you have to work for everything you acquire; you can't sit around and do nothing if you want to succeed, and dying has consequences! In Lunimals you can, of course, choose to sandbox yourself in and make the game as easy for yourself as you like, I suppose, but if you're playing the actual campaign you're going to struggle to figure out the proper balances for your domes, and there are variables along the way that'll trick you and trip you up so that it's not always entirely the same, not absolutely predictable! It's worth mentioning that Lunimals and castaways have practically the same design as far as mechanics go; keystrokes are practically the same and for awhile, so were all of the sounds! the two are, however, two entirely different games and different experiences!
these are just some titles I bring to your attention to show you that difference can be achieved, that we can have entirely unique experiences when gaming, with every single game! Aprone didn't concern himself with the best sound design and acting scenes as much as he did with producing titles that would captivate the gamers he was working for, and to this day, years after he intended to quit working on a project that was supposed to be a throwaway, Swamp continues to be talked about and played and desired! this, audiogamers, is what we should be working for! Not all games are great works of history, but they can be if we honestly want them to, and if you're going to spend money on making it, invest time and people on it, and expect others to pay for it, you really should try to make it so!
I do not know what my future holds, but I do know who holds my future.