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Published April 11, 2016

This match is, on paper, straight forward. One is a demonic being desperate to stave off impeding hunger and the other is someone’s Shih Tzu (I think it’s a Shih Tzu anyway) explaining the American tax code. Something tells me we’ll be done with this one pretty quickly. NaNo VNs all set? Ready? GO!


Weird is Normal ~ Delivery

Every NaNoRenO you have a slew of titles that just get done. This is a concept every creative team needs to understand, because as a great man once said, ‘Real artist ship’. However, the unfortunate corollary to that is that no matter what conditions were behind getting it done, once it is done it will still be graded on the same chart as every other product. The audience is sociopathic in that regard and that reality covers every medium of entertainment.

So why do I bring this up with this game? Well, as I said, this won’t be the only one but it is clear that Weird is Normal ~ Delivery just got done. Apparently the development period was less than a week and the game itself is short: you can knock it out within thirty minutes. The entire story is just getting the protagonist, an ogre named Johnson, a late night meal while he’s in the middle of playing an MMORPG.

We get a little bit of character from him on a path that deals with getting one of his friends to get the pizza for him, as he has apparently pissed off the delivery people of the local pizzeria. The back and forth between them was entertaining and if more than a few days had gone into developing it, it could have easily carried the entire title. As it is, it’s just an aftertaste of the title’s potential and not what it achieves.

Again, don’t get me wrong: completing anything for NaNoRenO is a personal accomplishment. But hopefully in the future we’ll get more out of this developer than this.



Basic Tax Law

So, who’s got their taxes done with?

If you’re an American, the annual task of filing your tax returns can be annoying. If it’s your first time, the task can be more than a little daunting. Luckily, we have Barky Budget and Basic Tax Law to help us out! The entire game is very simple: the creative team guides you through the basics of filing your taxes and these lessons are accompanied by high quality pictures of a Shih Tzu: the aforementioned ‘Barky Budget’.

It has the charm of a small business idea and, frankly, it isn’t all that bad. I would still strongly suggest that you get tax advice from a certified professional or use certified tax filing software if it’s your first time doing a tax return, but I’m willing to bet the dev is as well. This is Tax Returns 101: a course simple and straightforward enough for anyone to understand. And to ensure that much, the game includes a small quiz at the end to keep track of your progress.

It isn’t narrative genius by any means, but it shows a solid understanding of its core concept and the ability to simplify that concept so that anyone can understand them. That is the basics of how education works and, considering the subject matter, the developer took it about as far as it could go.

Moving On

No surprises here: Basic Tax Law moves on. I’m a big proponent of educational works and while it wasn’t the most creative educational game I’ve ever played; it gets its concept across well enough. We’ll see how well Barky Budget does in Round 2.

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