This is my first write-up of a game I've made, and so forgive me if I'm infinitely more ginger in my criticism.
This brings up an interesting point, though. As someone who's very interested both in the development side of video games and in providing a critical perspective on the medium, can I have it both ways? I fully believe that it's impossible to ever have a completely detached, objective view on any product I ever make. Especially at this early stage: if I were to critique my game with the same strictness with which I critiqued Rayman Legends or Gone Home, the game would seem to me an utter and embarrassing failure, a game not worthy of public release.
Of course, the game hasn't been publicly released, and its context is extremely important. So for the moment I'll resolve to critique my own products differently than I do commercial releases. But assume I'm being unfairly generous in my direction.
Super Apartment Cleaner DX++ Turbo: Reckoning HD
As my first ever project, and the first time that I've ever written code for the purpose of creating a playable game, I consider Super Apartment Cleaner a resounding success.
I figured out fairly early on in my time here at NYU Game Center that my 'thing' was making lighthearted games. This isn't to say I don't have a desire to make games that have meaning and push for meaningful dialogue - I absolutely do, and I can't wait to work on games that allow me to say things. Even this game and my second game have meaning to me, and have a reason for existing.
By lighthearted, I mean that I don't want my games to take themselves too seriously. I don't want my games to feel like someone is trying to tell you something, or had a difficult time making it. Maybe this is the same thing as a game having "polish" or "juice. But I want my games to seem airy, light, and effortless, if not mechanically then in execution.
I'm not sure I nailed that in this game. As I said, this is the first thing I have ever coded.
I decided early on, stupidly, that I would make a mini-game collection. So instead of saddling myself with the task of coding one simple game, I decided I would be coding eight or so separate little games. This was my introduction to the idea of scope - although I was able to finish the game, and the game turned out well, I gave myself much more work than I should have for the two weeks I had to develop the product.
In addition to the difficulty of learning to code many different types of little games, we had the restriction of not being permitted to create any art assets outside of the Game Maker editor. This means we were limited to making all of our graphics in an editor that is only slightly more complex than MS Paint, and as a result, took a very long time to create. So my decision to have many small games in my game also meant having a ton of assets.
In the end, I was happy with how the game turned out. The game feel was better than I expected, although looking back the controls aren't nearly as intuitive or interesting or good-feeling as I would like them to be. I learned a great deal from this game, but perhaps the most important thing was to make sure I don't forget that a real human is going to be playing my games. It's easy as a designer to focus on the things your good at, or on the things that make the most polished product (like my title screen) - but it's difficult to think as a player and not as a designer.
I'm very proud of my first game. But there is so much to learn, and I'm excited to learn it.