Tuesday, December 1, 2009

An Apple a Day... Doctor - Explained

An Apple a Day... Doctor is an art game, well it's trying to be an art game. In other words, the game is trying to vehicle a message by his mechanics or some people might say gameplay. I wont used gameplay because of the lack of cohesion in the definition. A couple of games can be mentions as such art game (pretty classic) : Passage, Braid, Marriage, etc. These games vehicle a message from their game mechanics. And An Apple a Day tries to vehicle a message from his mechanics too.

In An Apple a Day, you play as the Doctor, you role is to be the doctor that you want. So as a player you explore the possibilities of the mechanics and you discover different meaning too your actions. A way to play An Apple a Day is to find the more "ending" possible. I would say the way to play this game is by trying to understand your action as a doctor and understanding the effect of your choices.

You can consider the game finish when you found four "ending" but I can tell you that there is still a little more to find. The game is all about choices, it is normal to feel a little confused about the actions you make at first. The actions all make sense after a few play.

You can play the Game :


Is there any message? By looking at the game and the title you can figure out that the theme is : An apple a day keeps the doctor away. Well at first I though that will be could to avoid the doctor as an "human" and by eating apple the doctor will just go away. The idea sounds pretty straight forward, but the problem was the game will turn out into a sort of avoiding game with a theme. I wanted to play the theme, not to add a theme to some mechanics. So I turned out the game, what would happen if the player was the doctor. I first I was going to make the inverse of an avoider game, like running after everything green in the screen, but after playing I wish I were the moon Daniel Benmergui. I was looking for something smooth and relax. I took a little bit of the structure of finding different "ending" according to the choices of the player.

This allowed me to really explore the meaning of choices. If the player eat all the apples in the games, there is no way the npc could heal them self other then the doctor bringing them the hospital. So the player just fill up the hospital. If the player play again and decide to wait a little bit, the NPC will heal them self and just one will stay there, sick. So the player will go help him, because there is no way he could get an apple. In that case, the player really understood what the game is about, it is about acting when it is the right time, when people need you. So the player knows his role. After that, by exploring the rest of the possibilities, by thinking, you can understand what everything means. I am not going to spoiled the rest of the game... you will have to find yourself.

Thank you to Frank, Max and Simon for helping testing.