Facade Game: The history the highs and the lows of a popular Interactive Drama
For how many years, the search for the ultimate interactive fiction has been the constant grueling passion of most artificial intelligence (AI) researchers, game developers and digital artists. One of the fruits of this quest is Façade. Generally speaking, a true interactive fiction is a software wherein a programming algorithm analyzes character responses and player inputs. This application is a deviation from the usual pre-scripted sequences. Therefore, with realistic interactive fiction, a story will eventually emerge regardless of the action of the player.
History of Façade
Façade is developed by Andrew Stern and Michael Mateas. The story game utilizes AI in order to react to any of the responses typed by the player. Due to glitches, peculiar responses, and low quality graphics, Façade has been the subject of interest of most online parodies. The game was originally released in 2005 as a free downloadable game on the Interactive Story web page. It was initially developed for the Windows operating system. In 2006, there was a reported Mac version of the game produced by Ryan Gordon.
Mechanics of the Gameplay
The player takes the role of a guest who is visiting the apartment Trip and Grace, a married couple. It will soon become obvious that the marriage of the couple is declining. The player can then try to resolve the problem with their typed responses. These responses will ignite a discussion that can result to various scenarios like the couple leaving each other, getting back together, or you are asked to leave. The game is highly-recognized due to the complexities of the artificial intelligence used, which opens to a wide range of interpretation and reactions based on the player’s responses.
How the World Responded
The game initially received favorable responses due to the revolutionary mechanics of its game play. It was so well-accepted that the game’s incomplete version was able to make it to the 2004 Independent Games Festival finals. The New York Times covered the game in 2005 and called it “the future of video games.” In October 2010, it was featured in the “1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die” book. However, with the dawn of high definition graphics, the reputation of Façade is slowly declining. Parodies were spread all over YouTube and online and even offline activities. In early 2012, Tumblr helped the resurgence of the popularity of the game when it launched the blog entitled “Ask Trip and Grace”. With this content, users are given the opportunity to direct questions at the fictional characters.
Increase in Fandom
- Mods – The popularity of the game influenced the proliferation of modified fan versions. With these versions, some elements are added and some are altered in the room like the characters, the view from the window, and decorations.
- Melons – In the game “melons” is translated as a euphemism of the female breast. It makes it hard for players to differentiate the literal context of the word, which is the fruit, and the euphemism. Since then, a lot of parodies have been created solely based on “melons”.
- Noteworthy images – Several photoshopped pictures and products of fanart gain inspiration from the game.
- The creation of the game is tailored upon the concept of experiencing real drama in a game setting.
- Storylines are so varied that the likelihood of repeats won’t happen. This game feature is the main reason for its high replay value.
- Due to the ambiguity of the word “melons”, there’s a tendency for Trip to respond negatively to it, prompting him to slam the door right in the player’s face. This is the fastest way of ending the game.
Even if you are the kind of person who have a low glitch tolerance or holds the strict definition of the word “game”, Façade is worth your while. The game is free. Therefore, you can just delete it if you hate it. Façade opens up the window that lets game developers and artificial intelligence researchers take a peek into the future of gaming. While the course of the interactive storytelling of the game is monotonous and the game in general is not relatable to most game today, it gives conclusive evidence that there is an intelligent virtual world out there, a world where one can escape from reality.
Façade is obviously not a conventional game. There are no explicit rules and objectives that players need to follow and attain, respectively. Façade is an interactive drama. It has a life of its own. Whatever glitches are associated with the game, from the bizarre to the comic, is just as normal as the problems we encounter in real life.