Aug 16, 2020


It's been over a week since the last entry... between having troubles getting games to work, and most of my gaming time being sucked up in other gaming-based obligations, the bundle just wasn't a priority. Still, I can knock out some quick ones.

#hasicontent is a PICO-8 game about taking pictures of bunnies to post them on Instagram. Find bunnies, take pictures, and you'll get likes for it. You can spend 100 likes to make a carrot that'll lure more bunnies. There is no meaningful goal or conclusion, you simply take pictures, bait with carrots, and gather likes until you decide you've had enough.

I tend to be fond of microgames like this, and not just because they're fast to play and write about. I don't think the joy of an experience is necessarily diminished by it being shorter - in fact, less time needed to commit to it makes trying microgames all the more appealing to me. They have minimal cost, but potentially very, very high reward.

The obssession with length is what annoys me when people fall into rhetoric of short/long playtimes being more or less value for their dollar when buying games. We are moving further into not being satisfied by having "a good time", but demanding we have "a long time". The want for skinner boxes, not fun. But this is an old person yelling at a cloud over something completely separate and I'm taking away from #hasicontent, apologies.

Anyway, the sheer joy of microgames is their nature as a single paragraph. The dev gets a single thought or expression, and a little room to expand it, but that's about it. In #hasicontent's case, the developer's experience finding and photographing bunnies in the garden and posting them on social media. A true, if minor, story, that got made into a game, and now I get a quick glimpse in a simulated version of that experience. That is all, with no need or desire to expand further.

And #hasicontent does what it set out to do rather well. Panning around to find a bunny, snap a photo, see the hearts from the likes and the message notifications on your phone, it captures a duality of relaxing time in the garden, and the unfortunately-addicting feeling of seeing your like number increase and people noticing your posts. Mechanically, the likes have no purpose except to buy carrots, but I still felt bad spending them anyway. On the practical side, there are options to hide those message notifications, and a special mode with the phone graphic removed so you can take a real screenshot of your bunnies. I spent somewhere between five and ten minutes on it and was fully satisfied by the experience.

I enjoyed it. #hasicontent is a good game.