James Moulang

/ Contacts

September 2017

Download Contacts on itch.io here

I've recently been learning to put contact lenses in, something I've been putting off for a while, because I don't really like the idea of poking myself continuously in the eye. My first tutorial session didn't do wonders for my confidence, either. I found the whole process stressful and frustrating, and I (for some reason) wanted to capture that feeling in a game. Games don't have to be empowering for a player, they can just express something that's true.

At the time I had also been playing Night in the Woods and one of my favourite features of the game was the variety of bespoke minigames, for example, this one where the player (playing as the main character, Mae) eats pizza with her friends:

There's a slightly clumsy, almost slapstick feel to these minigames, but they're used to great effect in expressing the personality of the characters. I wanted to create something similar - a minigame vignette of my experience. While Night in the Wooods uses simpler minigames that recur over the course of the story, I was trying to replicate the physical sensation and frustration of trying to put in my lenses:

Because of these features of my experience I had to go with an intentionally complicated set of controls, a la QWOP, and I broke some principles that make regular games more enjoyable:

Whether or not the goal of making an intentionally annoying game was worthwhile, I'd say I achieved it, and I've heard from people who played the game that it feels true to their experience (imagined or otherwise) of putting in contacts. I was also really pleased to see YouTuber Jupiter Hadley play the game: