A downloadable game for Windows and macOS
Created by Silverstring Media and friends as part of Vancouver's Full Indie 48-hour game jam in November, 2013, "Patient #" is a short dialogue-based game in which a therapist (the player) talks with a patient.
The game was created to test different kinds of unconventional conversation mechanics. Borrowing some inspiration from "Heavy Rain," dialogue options are presented visually in relation to the person you're talking to, sometimes physically positioned on their body or in the space around you, and the options themselves physically react to the course the conversation takes. You can choose an option based on the general approach you'd like to take, or you can "think" about it (casting about the room, staring into space at the choice) in order to get a better sense of what you're about to say. You can select your dialogue choice by clicking on it with the mouse or by hitting the appropriate number on your keyboard. Don't remain silent for too long, though; some patients don't like to be kept waiting.
The responses you get are also dependent on your patient's current emotional disposition; there is seldom a single "right thing" to say and which comments are deemed offensive changes depending on how the conversation has gone so far -- leading to over 2000 possible experiences of this game. Dialogue with NPCs is just a series of subsystems tallying points or tripping true/false flags, and the design sensibilities in most games fail to do much to obscure this reality. With Patient #, our goal was to make dialogue feel more genuine, more realistic, and less like a system you can easily intuit and game. Were we successful? That's up to you to decide!
Patient # also incorporates the Sharecart 1000 save system. Originally created by Toronto-based indie game developers DROQEN (Alexander Martin) and Damian Sommer, Sharecart 1000 is a framework for making a diverse set of games that all communicate with one another in a fundamental way -- through their save file. The rules are simple: you have to use all of the variables in the official Sharecart 1000 save file, and you’re not allowed to save data anywhere else. You can find a list of all the Sharecart 1000 games at: http://www.sharecart1000.com/
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