uh oh...

While we're on the subject of distraction...

As someone who does not count himself among the admirers of "casual" games like Farmville, Mafia Wars, and the like (to say the very least), but who, for a period a few years ago, lost untold hours to The Kingdom of Loathing, my discovery yesterday of the browser-based game Echo Bazaar raises a red flag. While it is still too soon to tell for sure, this one definitely holds the potential to eat one's life (for a few weeks at least).

It's pretty much impossible to describe the play of Echo Bazaar in a paragraph or two, but, like any self-respecting MMOG, there's a dedicated Wiki that includes a Getting Started guide and a detailed walkthrough of the the first few actions to get you going.

What's really intriguing about Echo Bazaar is the world-building. It takes place in "Fallen London," a vaguely Victorian underground version of actual London with a touch of steampunk, a touch of Lovecraft, and more than a touch of China Mieville (along with a welcome touch of dark humor). It's also fairly non-linear, giving you the freedom simply to explore or to pursue various of the goals that become available as your experience increases. And, unlike many such games (The Kingdom of Loathing excepted), the writing (presented in small, bite-sized chunks) is typically worth reading (and sometimes quite wonderful).

One element that could put some people off is that Echo Bazaar requires a Twitter account to play. But the developers go to great lengths to assure players that there is never any requirement to involve your account if you don't want to. However, if you do choose to take advantage of the Twitter integration, there are definite advantages to cooperating with friends who are also playing (you must be following each other on Twitter to do so). Personally, I find the Twitter requirement totally benign (and I'm a person who refuses to go anywhere near any Facebook games).

That being said, I did create a separate Twitter account specifically for Echo Bazaar. So, if any of my myriad readers do decide to give it a try, come follow Ariel Hawksquill. Once you've found lodging, perhaps we can help each other out (or compare nightmares).

And if there aren't any posts here for a while, you'll know why.

1 comment:

nancyenge said...

Damn you, citizen!