Alexis


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PatrickAlexis is a girl invented by Nathalie Lawhead and her colleagues at her zing-zang web dev firm, Alien Melon. AlexisShe's basically, like, a sweet girl, but she's just misunderstood, most of all by herself.

Like the more elaborate Blue Suburbia, Alexis isn't so much a game with goals and clear objectives as a rhizome open for exploration, with a human subject poised in its center. After an opening cinematic you're able to click on different underlined words in the girl's aloof break-up letter and get a sub-cinematic as a result. Its really weak interaction design, in contrast to a really robust gamer's game, but its interesting for a few minutes even as the hamster choir and tweaked out teeny-bopper voice grows excruciatingly irritating. This is in part due to the sonics, but mostly due to the archetypal experience of being dumped by someone more attractive and less intelligent than yourself, which if you haven't experienced directly, you've probably experienced vicariously through some form of popular culture.

What is most interesting about Alexis from a designer's point of view is how its subject exudes socially meaningful feedback in her motions and eyebrow twinges and talk-to-the-hand theatrics—if only there was an interface and algorithm to account for that kind of personality (not necessarily Alexis', but any personality expressed so vividly). Most designers chasing that grail would, lacking the necessary conceptual tools, construct elaborate puzzles with social dressing and tie in a plot twist to the logic of the solution, adventure game style. The Alien Melon aesthetic wouldn't have it though, closure isn't in their vocabulary, so clicking on the continue tab gives you all the closure that an almost completely random close-up of a plush moose doll can give.

Whatever. Click.

47 Comments

Dear GOD.

You posted this... but not this?

I did do a half-chuckle at some point in this... thing... though.

The Pantry would be cooler if it did automatic looping sorta like Electroplankton (the one with those chain doodads that you would touch the parts of)

Funnish...reminds me of a friend or two...and the moose...I want one :(

That may have been the most annoying thing I have ever experienced in my entire life. I think that was the goal, though, so it was also highly effective.

Yeah, the interactivity sucks, but it kind of plays into the feeling one might have being dumped by such an individual--you don't really have any say in the matter when you get dumped.

How I wish I could upload this chick into a Half Life 2 mod...and obliterate her with the scenery and my Gravity Gun.

yeah... i think this "game" is gonna give me more nightmares than Purgatorium :::shudder:::

I must admit - I have read the review twice and have no idea what it's trying to say about the game. First time I've ever had that happen on this site.

Sorry, but this "game" really has no value whatsoever.

It's really, in my opinion, just video clips of a really annoying girl trying to tell a story. Click on "continue" and it's over. There's no actual gameplay, and no way to just say that it's art, like 99 Rooms.

It's a video, plain and simple. All of the pop culture junk is thrown in there because it's pink and the girl says "like," "totally," "oh my goah!," and it makes jokes on her intelligence.

How you managed to write so much positive stuff about "Click the purple words and get annoyed even more!" is beyond me.

I'm just highly disappointed in this "game."

my head hurts.
why is this on JiG?
Thanks for the Samorost pantry link, Imok20 - that was nice, hadn't seen it before. I just wish you could loop the sounds infinitely, make beats ...

That's thirty seconds and one mouse click I'll never get back. :/ I've been more amused by the hamster dance, it at least is cute whilst annoying. Thank you to Imok20 for posting the pantry link!

Z! - What is art? Would you consider acting an art? And what about story telling? Is that an art to you?

I agree that this piece in no way resembles 99 Rooms, but that doesn't disqualify it from being considered a form of artistic expression. Moreover, a piece doesn't even have to be enjoyable for it to have artistic or creative value of some kind.

I believe there are many perspectives from which to find "value" in any creative work, and Patrick has highlighted some of them present in this piece. For example he indicates that Alexis is similar to the author's other work previously reviewed here, Blue Suburbia, in that it is definitely not a game but rather a "rhizome open for exploration." What that means is the viewer is free to interact and explore the piece at will, moving from node to any other node of the underlying structure since they are all interconnected. This is technically a form of "interactive narrative" and it is not trivial to do, and do well.

"This is technically a form of "interactive narrative" and it is not trivial to do, and do well."

Yes, but we're strongly suggesting that this one isn't done well. This is the most negative feedback I've ever seen on this site. And I'm sorry, but I agree with John - this game would be greatly improved if it was a first-person shooter.

The community of JIG needs to grasp a little more firmly the concepts of irony, sarcasm, and parody. This website may require funding, but it was by no means intended to be a business when it was first instated, and we can't expect our games to come pre-packaged, easy to use, and especially easy to swallow.

The game is sarcastic, the review is sarcastic, and the result is generally that of discontent. Like "Don't Shoot the Puppy", things like this are awkward and confusing, dadaistic, artful pieces of anti-art, interactive adventures of containment, but unlike "Don't Shoot the Puppy" things like this don't tell you the purpose of it's existence right in the title.

In all honesty, the only thing that bothered me about the flash as all the "chyeah" action she had going on in the loading screens. Other than that, it was not that annoying, but it was extremely amusing.

A similar format (that is, the format of clicking a highlighted word and it sending you to a different anecdote altogether) is used in an interactive "blog" by...well...to be honest, I don't know who. Nobody, I suppose. In fact, the name of the blog is Nobody Here: Just Me and features a main page with a vector man at a keyboard, with a scrolling menu of topics that is controlled by moving your mouse. The man types a couple words about the topic at hand in a text box to the left; hovering over "hermit" causes him to type "Hermit crabs keep hiding".

Once clicking a topic, you are brought to a page with words, a picture, possibly moving or stationary, possibly interactive, with the words likely containing a link. All mentions of the word "I" brings you to the homepage, and the use of the spiral at the bottom is to send you to a random page. Some of the words link between pages, "eating/fishes" has a link for the word "they" that sends you to "fish/cleaner fish", which has a link for "parts" which sends you to "apart" which has a link for "toenail", "body", "him", "dreaming", "revolution", and "sleep", as well as an interesting interactive implimentation that features a figure of a body that is segmented into long thin boards stacked on top of one another; hovering over the boards causes them to individually disappear (they don't come back, but you can still hover over them) and cause a strange block of varying fleshy colors appear in gaps in the text. I believe these blocks probably make up a picture of some sort, but it's nearly impossible to tell.

All in all, the purpose of the blog is to pull you into more and more anecdotes and individual, seperate, and ultimately worthless experiences, and yet so straightforward and interlinked that clicking once more is unavoidable.

You know the saying "Hell is other people"? I'd like it to contain an addendum, "Especially if those other people are sqeuaky-voiced irritating teenage girls named Alexis who repeat -chyeah- about a billion times".

I'd like to recommend this game to the best torture experts all around the world. Be sure to have a slow net connection like me so you wouldn't accidentally God forbid see some actual content besides -chyeah-chyeah-chyeah-..

Ciao! Wait I mean ciao-ciao-ciao-ciao-ciao-ciao-ciao-ciao-ciao-ciao....

Oak - I don't take issue with the "game". It's obviously sarcastic, but it's not effective sarcasm. It's just... meh. I don't think it deserves being highlighted in a blog like JIG. But that's a matter of opinion, and just because I have a low opinion of something, doesn't mean the reviewers need to share it.

I am, however, sincerely bothered by the *review*. It is not helpful, nor informative. It is quite probably disingenuous in the stance it takes. In being so, I find it very different than the other reviews here. I come to Jay is Games to learn about games, and to get honest, intelligent opinions about them. Jay provides such an opinion in the commentary above. The review fails to do so, quite probably deliberately. Just because a "game" or other interactive experience is supposed to conjure annoyance in its participants is no justification for writing a bad review.

Well, Jay, I definitely don't consider this art. I think that drama is a form of art, and, in my opinion, this doesn't even count as acting. She's yelling "like, totally, like, not, like, meant to, like, be, like. Chyea!" I can get any girl at my school to do that, and get the same sarcastic effect in real life.

Sure, it's a sarcastic joke on pop culture, but it's not even done well. It's not a blog, it's a movie, and an annoying one at that.

This "interactive narrative" doesn't convey much of a story at all. You can read the story on the first part, then click on some stuff and hear "like...you know, like, you, like know when you're, like...meant to be...chyea!"

It's just an arrangement of flash movies, with the opening and ending ones being the only ones with any sort of story going on. It's just annoying, and there's nothing you really do in this "interactive narrative" except click for different clips. It reminds me of a scene selection screen on a DVD.

It's almost as if two minutes of my life were just cut off, and I can do that by buying a donut at Krispy Kreme. I think it's safe to say that the best thing about this review is the link posted by lmok.

"It's really, in my opinion, just video clips of a really annoying girl "

"The community of JIG needs to grasp a little more firmly the concepts of irony, sarcasm, and parody."

The problem with it, IMO, is that the actress ISN'T ANY GOOD at pretending to be the annoying girl. There's not any sense of reality to it. No recognition of, "Oh my God, I know someone like that." Clueless and Mean Girls were funny because they were over-the-top expressions of someone we all knew. This just ... isn't. There's no resonance.

It can't RISE to parody because it totally lacks the sense of what it's parodying.

Plus the hampster choir makes me want to drive a pencil through my brain.

This has been a test of the emergency broadcast system...

Future reviews will be of better games, but I wanted to see where the line should be drawn.

But hey, when she says "oh wait, I have a chemistry test next week, so uh, can we still be friends?" I cracked up. You kinda have to let go of your expectations and take Alexis for what she is, though thats a challenge when she clearly would never do the same for you. Maybe thats a different kind of challenge than getting a high score.

OMG! That was like the most annoying game ever! OMG!

This crap does not deserve to be on JIG in the least. This game/art/interactive whatever is too annoying and too worthless.

tschiaaa, tschiiila, tschiaaa, tschiiila, tschiaaa, tschiiila, tschiaaa, tschiiila, tschiaaa, tschiiila, tschiaaa, tschiiila, tschiaaa, tschiiila, tschiaaa, tschiiila, tschiaaa, tschiiila, tschiaaa, tschiiila, tschiaaa, tschiiila, tschiaaa, tschiiila, tschiaaa, tschiiila, tschiaaa, tschiiila, tschiaaa, tschiiila,

[snip]

Well, Patrick, to be perfectly honest, yeah - that one part was pretty funny... still not enough to redeem the entire experience imo, but whatever.

What doe "chyeah" even mean?

if i hear chya just one more time...
this game is actually pretty, no, like totally, stupid.
I just think that there is absoulutley no point in listing to an uncomprehensible, squeaky voice for however long it takes her to spill all her troubles etc.
NOT a favorite.

While I do understand the low quality sarcasm and acting in this flash, and the lack of enthusiasm and information in the review and flash itself, I do believe that it was deliberate. Yes, that's sinister, and yes, it's annoying, and yes, it's going to bother the community, and it will go against expectations and demographic popularity. I personally do find the flash to be annoying, the interface to be awkward, and I gave an example of a site that does it better, minus the cinematic experiences.

That said, I understand why this flash exists and why it sucks on purpose, and why it was posted. I won't be complaining about it being on JIG, ever. The review wasn't written by Jay, but if he let it pass through the filters and be posted, then he must have had a reason to do so.

I think the moral of the story is, in fact, "whatever", and I don't see a reason for people to comment things like "this does not deserve to be on JIG" if Jay himself wanted it posted. There's a lot more to art than feeling comfortable, satisfied, and happy; but if you want that, then by all means, do, go off and play Samarost. Jay reviews games like those as well, so consider it a luxury rather than a community service.

I have to say that while this game was insanely annoying, that's what made it irritatingly addictive. I felt compelled to keep clicking on the word links, just to see what happened. While this isn't one of the best games posted on JIG, it is however a piece of art. And while JIG is about reviewing some of the best of the best games on the net, it's also about introducing people to other forms of artistic expression. And that is what this review was about.

Great job Patrick.

This review seems like its sole reason for existing was so the author could attempt to defend the PoMo indefensible. "Don't you guys get it? It's, like so shallow that it's deep," except with more pretentious four dollar words culled from Intro to Art Theory and a brochure for Web 2.0.

Alexis is useful for one purpose, though; it illustrates that just because something is the product of design, time, and effort, it doesn't mean that it carries any artistic worth whatsoever.

I'm just glad I'm on broadband so I didn't have to sit through more than seven chyeahs at a time.

It wasn't a game, it was a performance ARTpiece. I totally got my kicks out of it, and am glad there is such diversity on this website :) True, I probably wont play it again, but I'm glad that I played it once.

I got a kick out of it.

Then again, I love conceptual art, I'd argue forever for Brillo Boxes and minimalism, and I believe pop art is utter genius, so you might want to ignore me.

Heh .. for me, nothing sums up the utterly ridiculous pretentiousness of some 'art' forms as this little news story about a plinth. I totally cracked up the first time I read it.

I liked the little doodles around the screen. And I really liked that the entire time I was thinking "Oh my sweet granny. Can someone really be this stupid? And will someone please turn off the hamsters?" because that was what I was supposed to be thinking. It did what it set out to do. By definition, that means it's a success.

Jay has a sense of humor that many here can't seem to grasp. And I'm glad he pointed it out.

So there. *pthbbbbbb!*

"a rhizome open for exploration," -an interactive art piece.
"a human subject poised" -a person standing
"in part due to the sonics, but mostly due to the archetypal experience" -partly the sound, but mostly the annoyance factor
"you've probably experienced vicariously"
"exudes socially meaningful feedback"
"if only there was an interface and algorithm"

I am not one to rail against people using $4 words. My fiance is in art history, so I see enough of it. However, one of the finer points of JiG (other than the nice selection of casual games)has been the relaxing reviews. In fact, the reason I visit the site is for the reviews; plenty of other sites have recent game releases. Over the top reviews such as this, only serve to push readers away. A casual gamer is one that is usually playing on a lunch break or in between classes. They don't want to spend a lot of time analyzing the game, and they certainly don't want to spend a lot of time anaylzing the review to grasp what it is saying.
When I read the review, I got to "a rhizome open for exploration," and started skimming. I started the next paragraph and was met with "exudes socially meaningful feedback". I'm done with reading it now, and decided to try the game to see if it was worth the time. The game annoyed me enough to make me read the comments, spend the time reading through the review, and finally write this comment. I actually got more enjoyment out of the feedback comments than the initial review. Finally, I do agree that the body language and and facial expressions would be interesting to be able to programmatically reproduce in a generated character. If that is the sole interest, it should be a game developement site, and not here.

Yes, thank you, Zengief. You've said what I was trying to say earlier, much better.

"The problem with it, IMO, is that the actress ISN'T ANY GOOD at pretending to be the annoying girl."

I'm wondering what she sounds like without that annoying voice distortion (I'm guessing it's distorted). That's probably only there to make her better at being an annoying girl.

"The internet: This is serious business."

Unless you were forced to read the review and click on the game, there is really no reason for complaint. It's pretty much like checking the best seller list, buying the number one book, disliking what you read and then writing an angry letter to list's creator for featuring it. It's not like they told you to go buy it in the first place.

To the extent that this piece generated the discussion it has, I am extremely pleased with the result.

You should know that many game designers/developers do frequent this site. I am hopeful that at least part of the reason for this is because we care as much about the underlying design of the experiences being highlighted as we do about the resulting end user experience, since the former directly influences the latter.

Chris Crawford told me in an e-mail a year ago, after he was assailed for writing an article in The Escapist about evolutionary psychology and games (go figure) that "if you're being fired on equally by both sides, you know you've done something right". Then again, thats Chris Crawford's advice, I'd rather actually be on the level with you all.

Next review will be about a GAME and won't use words worth more than two dollars, two fifty tops.

So, Jay, what should a game designer/developer (even a really minor one like myself) take away from this discussion? And do you feel that the useful parts of the discussion arose because of, or in spite of, the writing style of the review?

By the way, my above question is a genuine one, not some sort of sarcastic. I really want to know what Jay thinks here.

"what should a game designer/developer...take away from this discussion?"

The first thing that comes to mind would be that evoking emotion is a significant and poweful goal of any design, and I am grouping "socially meaningful feedback" along with it. I think the point here is that to get your audience to "feel" anything is to succeed, at least on some level, especially if that emotion is one you've specifically targeted in your design.

In terms of the writing style, I'd have to say that I believe it played a secondary role to the annoyance factor of the piece itself, and yet it was complementary at the same time. But I do not think it was intentional. =)

Other pieces that come to mind that explore different emotions other than "fun" and "happiness"...

La Pièce - I'm not sure if the irritating nature of this game was intentional, but if it was it sure is effective. =)

Kafkamêsto - Franz Kafka often wrote about themes of hopelessness and futility, and this point-and-click succeeds in evoking similar emotions in the player.

Why go through the hassle to create flash games to raise annoyance? Especially if it involves a camara and an actress.

I think popups will do this far more effectively ;) ;)

Especially these Javascript Popups that open over the content you want to view, and won't let close themselves....

BTW: A triple, double, thousand thanks to Jay to keep this site annoyance-free :) (at least from the popups side not the alexis site :))

On a completely random note, there's a game on the same site where you play tic-tac-toe with a hamster to get out of Hell. It's fun. ;)

People, please! It's just a joke! The idea came about when my sister got drunk. She's not acting, she like that.

If given enough booze...

who knows the song in the background?

It's a sped up version of Bizet's Carmen opera it's the Habanera "L'amour est un oiseau rebelle".

As much as this was hella annoying It made me laugh. Like...really hard.

I have to say I thought it was quite funny.

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