A downloadable game for Windows, macOS, and Linux

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About

Oblige is a narrative-heavy sidescroller/typing game where the player acts as a working-class mother in 1979 Hong Kong. The player must take care of everyday chores while balancing work, life, and a growing responsibility to appease to her spouse and children. Directly inspired by the stories of mothers and grandmothers living and working as housewives. Developed in the fall semester of 2016 for the USC Intermediate Game Development class.

Recognitions: USC Winteractive Festival 2017, GDC 2017 Intel Showcase, IndieCade 2017 Nominee, UCLA Game Art Festival 2017

Coverage: PC Gamer, South China Morning Post, itch.io, Crossfader


Controls

  • use arrow keys to move
  • use E or Space to interact/progress
  • use keyboard letter keys/backspace on keyboard in typing minigames

Credits

Code/design: Jocelyn Kim (twitter - e-mail)
Art/narrative/design: Ivan Tsang (twitter - e-mail)
Audio: Quetzel Herzig (website - e-mail)
Performers: Kailey Zercher (violin), Sarah Mercedes (cello)

(special thanks to the Berklee College of Music for lending us our sound designer/composer and performers!)

Please e-mail jocelynkimchi★gmail.com (★→@) for questions, concerns, and bug reports. Thanks!!

Current version: 1.01 (as of Feb 28 2017)

Download

Download NowName your own price

Click download now to get access to the following files:

Oblige_1.01_lnx.zip 109 MB
Oblige_1.01_mac.zip 109 MB
Oblige_1.01_win.zip 106 MB

Comments

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This looks pretty cool. I'm collecting it so I can play it when I get a moment.

(-9)

I have to show my bleeding heart here and say I didn’t dig this game at all. I was interested in the story, up to a point, until I found all the rich atmosphere and potential of peering into history to be wanting of a decent plot. The gameplay, too, is bearable, but it does feel like the effort is not worth the sparse lines of dialogue I receive for the amount of focus I have to put into your typing mechanic.

So I gave it a disappointing review on Kratzen, but I do think your collective talents are able to make even better titles in the future. Here’s hoping university isn’t too hellish for you!

(+6)(-1)

hey nice self promotion there dude, was it worth being a dickhead to do?

(+1)(-5)

I don’t understand why you’re offended at a comment that isn’t even directed towards you, though I wasn’t aware I was only allowed to share the “correct” opinion for it to be seen as legitimate, and that any other opinion is a desperate attempt at scrounging views from a game that nobody has heard of and will likely go the rest of their lives never knowing about.

The developers of Oblige, too, were likely to go the rest of their lives never having heard a contrary opinion of the work of art they have made, and that I’m just the outlier in a sea of universal positivity. No, it’s instead likely there are many people who played this game, found it not to be to their tastes, and dropped it within five minutes thinking it’s a piece of crap.

All I’ve done is express why it wasn’t to my taste in a way where you can see it. If that’s being a dickhead, then call me a dickhead. It’s my privilege to be one.

(+6)(-1)

I'm not talking about the review pal, but I read that too and I'd really reconsider your tone before going shoving that dreck back in the creator's face. "I'm just trying to show a contrary opinion" is not what you did there, and "this is not worth your time, find something better to do" is not valuable critique.

(+5)(-1)

Look, I get how hard it is to get people to notice your work nowadays, and how cutthroat it can feel to feel worthwhile as a creator now. Engaging with a larger creative community is a great way to keep that grounding, but other people have to feel like you're contributing positively in your thoughts or work, or you get responses like this. I read a few of your reviews in addition to this one, and the majority of what I saw was filled with pompous assumptions pandering to r/gaming types (the unity comment Brianna brought up, the comment about Underhero not being shit despite its indieness and style, even the pervading thought in the Oblige review that it was trying to do Anything other than please you). If you're trying to just do Zero Punctuation-style "entertaining" takedowns of games, if that's what appeals to you that's fine I guess, but if you do it to punch down at games like this, who do you think is going to want to associate with you or engage in good faith? I deliberated a Lot about even giving you this courtesy so I really hope you take a good look at yourself and why you do this, because from what I've seen this is only going to lead to more toxicity.

(-4)

This is one of the more valid criticisms of my work, despite not knowing you in any capacity or understanding what body of work you have produced to make your opinion more valid than everybody else with an opinion of the work I create and therefore fails make your “courtesy” something I should care about in any capacity, so I’ll level with you.

If you’re looking at my writings and thinking, “wow, this guy is an asshole”, then that’s kind of the persona I was going for. I shouldn’t have to state this, but I’m not an asshole. I think that’s obvious from my more glowing reviews and the courtesy I extend to developers whose work I don’t like; I break the fall gently. If the opinions of somebody that the developers don’t know, never knew of before, and will probably never know again, is still such a large cause of stress for them, then I don’t know what to tell them. My obligation is to my readers, not to the developers who I make fun of in the public arena. Most of all, my obligation is to myself, and if I’m not honest with myself as a writer then I don’t know how I would be able to write seriously again.

One of the cardinal rules of comedy is to always punch up, never punch down, and I thought my inflated ego, absurd non-sequiters, and overall taking-the-pass attitude of my public writings were enough of a wink and a nudge to indicate I’m a pathetic figure taking pot-shots at developers who are better than me. I’ve actually lost many relationships from people who don’t understand that the majority of what I say and do are meant to make you laugh. They’re jokes. It’s entertainment. And if you’re not the type of person to enjoy what I produce - and I assure you, there are many people, renowned developers and artists included, who do enjoy my work - then insulting it on a fundamental level isn’t going to make me reconsider the way I write.

The fact is that I have no obligation to sugar-coat my words to those who are the subject of it, because I don’t believe in lying for the sake of saving face. If you want a culture of universal positivity, go look on Fur Affinity or DeviantART and see the awful, truly awful work that comes out of those dumpster fires, and see how many commentators will be praising them regardless. I don’t care if artists are trying their best. One of the hardest lessons you have to learn in life is that, a lot of the time, your best isn’t good enough, and anybody who matters isn’t going to accept your mediocre work for the sake of politeness. You either learn these lessons from the people who have experienced them, or you learn them by being a part of them yourself, and having no idea how to deal with life when it comes crashing down on you.

Criticism is honesty. Full stop. The worst thing you can do to an artist is tell them their work is perfect when it isn’t.

(+7)(-1)

“‘Oblige’ Review” Review

Unfortunately, the review was so long and boring that I didn’t make it to the end. The amateurish writing style read more like someone talking to himself for than an actual review. This indie game reviewer has somehow has never heard of IndieCade, a major, well known indie games festival, and instead of googling it like a regular person with common sense, he called it “full of shit,” demonstrating that he is incapable of doing the basic research required to be a game reviewer. This combined with other uninformed opinions including his belief that Unity is an abysmal engine (a common myth believed by normies with no background in game development) suggests that he’s a...a normie. Oh no... 

Yet another major turn-off in the review was his section equating expressing gratitude toward critique to being a “mainstream shill” instead of a sign that a person actively listens to feedback and strives to improve. It’s clear through the review’s quality that this bizarre mindset has stunted the reviewer’s growth as a writer and as a human being. 

Overall the review is unappealing, unnecessarily long,  and lacks even images to make the experience more bearable for potential readers. I’m unsure why “Kratzen” was so proud to present this (as proclaimed at the top of the review) because I would have been truly embarrassed to be associated with such an uneducated,  diarrhea-like stream of consciousness.  I hope the author learns to do research, discovers how to write more concisely, and realizes that if he ever wants to write anything worth reading, he should drastically alter his way of thinking.

(-4)

Damn, you’re good at this. You should do the Butterfly Soup review I was gonna post in a week or two. And what’s this? Friendly fire on a Bi Guy? We were supposed to defeat the evil, not become it!

I can tell the conversation I’ll get out of my comment will be tempered at best, so I’ll let my e-mail address be the way for more discussion from yours truly. Or you could, you know, accept others opinions.

(+1)

Hi Froge! I guess I should thank you for taking the time to write your thoughts out on the game. I really don't mind critique and I welcome it!

In terms of your review, the one thing that I was really disappointed in is the fact that you singled me and my fellow developers out and like... made some really weird assumptions about us? I know that the Internet provides a low barrier for engaging with others, but that doesn't necessarily mean that you should act as if you know them. I think if you sat down and talked with me, you would probably leave with the impression that I'm not a "mainstream shill" or a "normie".  But whatever, you can think whatever you want about me--but please try to be a bit more respectful and leave those personal impressions out of a game review. 

I want to ask you, as a developer, to not write game reviews by writing about the developer and how many problems you have with them. It makes your writing sound more like some kind of inflammatory gossip column than a legitimate review. I know you have a very unique voice and tone with what I've seen on Kratzen, and I don't want to take that away from you. Just keep the reviews about the games without bringing in your own projections of who the developers are. That's the only issue that I felt the need to comment on--I hope that you can understand where I'm coming from!

(-3)

Hello, Jocelyn. Most of those assumptions were jokes that were meant to be deliberately over-the-top and ridiculous to the point that you couldn’t interpret it as anything other than an attempt at humour. I get a lot of people who fail to understand when I’m being serious and when I’m being farcical, and I feel there’s a significant portion of the populace who can’t understand sarcasm when it’s right in front of them.

Regardless I don’t think anything in particular about you, and I appreciate your maturity in your response. As to whether I’ll change the way I write, I will have to see as I continue to write. Assumptions are just that - assumptions. Not a declaration of fact, and it would be silly if any of my readers interpreted it as such.

Good, but CRUELLLLLLLLLLLLLL with the randomization. Still, a nice mechanic.

Super true tbh. Thank you for playing!! :)

Fun game, for a bit. Like some others, I'd say that the biggest downside is the repetition. It doesn't take a dry mechanic to put forth to the player that the situation is dry. 

Very nice art. I loved the typewriter mechanic.

Hi TheWerepyreKing,

Thank you! That is a totally fair comment. Thank you for taking the time to play <3

i found two endings , one where you make your husband happy delivering everyday money wherever he tells you and one where you sign up your son in violin lessons . Is there any other ending ?

Hello!

There are multiple different endings within the game's branching narrative, but essentially the story tips either towards the husband or the sun. Hope that answers your question. 

I loved this game so simple so perfect here is my playthrough 

Hi 2purpleswitchs,

Thank you for playing and thanks for linking the video!

welcome really liked your game good work

Hey, I recorded a quick video of your game if you'd like to check it out! Really enjoyed it although I found it difficult to get used to at first

Hey Nada!

I'm glad you got the hang of the typing :) Thanks so much for linking your video! 

I enjoyed this game and it's original idea. But I think that the typing can get repetative and seem like a chore. I know that's sort of what you were going for but it's just annoying. I think it would be a good idea to make it so the game has two modes. 'Normal Mode' will just be the game exactly the same as it is now. 'Story Mode' would bw the game as it is, but the letters on the keyboard arn't mixed up so players can experience just the story while keeping the typing experience in the game still. I think this would be a healthy addition to the game but it's just my idea, do whatever you want to do, it's your game after all. But I still enjoyed the game and can't wait to see what other games you make in the future! 

Sorry but my footage corrupted so there won't be a part 2 to this game.

Hey Mutant Gamer! Thank you for your feedback--we hear you and we really appreciate any and all comments/criticism. Lots of great feedback to think about for the future :) 

Thanks for linking the video and for playing our game!

No problem, I appreciate the reply!

(1 edit)

Hi devs, streamed your game there. I'm sorry but it is half-baked in narration and gameplay. I "divorced" husband (closed the game) that makes me ride to another town lots while his "friends" live two inches from each other (or he could've just send them letters with money). I am not feeling tired and exhausted from laundry and cooking, also I could've rearrange my cooking plans so it wouldn't be so in a hurry. I would've not even give birth to those whiny children that need a lot of attention and resources. This is a game about stupid people being stupid. It's not what it is trying to be.

Hey Miriak!

Sorry that you didn't have a good time playing our game. I'm unsure of what kind of criticism you're trying to give in regards to the narrative and gameplay, but we are always open to listen to any and all comments that people may have.

 Thank you for linking your video and playing :) 

(1 edit)

Cool game, team! The typing idea is interesting - I think it could be taken further, and into a more connected context.  Especially since typing, and keyboard layouts, are so tightly tied to the dominance of the English language, and making it hard to type has interesting analogues with language.

At first as I played, I thought I was a housewife in an USA home, and thought the typing was supposed to be about language barriers between some USA  (usually white) men, and women from Asia who have been paid/offered green card to get fly to USA and marry the man. That could be an interesting angle to explore!

I think the pacing of the game could have been a little quicker overall - the typing I think was generally fine (maybe make less letters switch places? Maybe the tedious cooking tasks could have been represented in a non-typing mini game that is still tedious?), the big one was walking in the city, which could have been quicker without losing the sort of contemplation and sense of tedious labor it conveys.

Other than that, I wonder if the "father's side" could have been handled more carefully - though I think the game adds nuance with the father talking about respectability/reputation as these social behaviors that partially drive his poor behavior towards his wife, more nuance could have been nice (longer conversations - maybe the wife questions their roles and routines, and that explains a bit of the father's (flawed) ideology, etc.) 

Anyways nice game! Would love to test any future work from any of the team.

Hey Sean! Thank you so much for your valuable feedback! 

Actually, the typing mechanic was originally borne out of conversations my partner Ivan and I had about Asian immigrants in America, so you're right on the money. Over time, the story changed to be about a mother living in Hong Kong because Ivan had been researching his HK grandmother/ancestors, but we kept the mechanic as it is. We're glad that the tangential themes of USA-Asian language barriers still resonate, but yes--I would love to explore different angles and takes on Asian immigration in the future. :) 

Again, thank you for taking the time to write your comments out, this is all great to have! 

(-1)

For the typing minigames, I think it's better not to randomize the letters on the keyboard at all, they become tedious to play. I bet most people just want to enjoy the story rather than the minigames.

i concur with your comment, the game itself is very beautiful and well done.

Thanks so much, MightyMrB! I appreciate it :)

Hey, thanks for your feedback! I totally understand--it was really difficult for us to balance that fine line between healthy and unhealthy frustration. For us, it was important to keep a degree of tediousness in order to support the game's story/themes, but maybe we could have included different modes of difficulty or something? That's something for me to think about in the future... Thank you!