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What is SpyParty?
SpyParty is a spy game about human behavior, performance, perception, and deception. While most espionage games have you spend your time shooting stuff, blowing stuff up, and driving fast, SpyParty has you hide in plain sight, deceive your opponent, and detect subtle behavioral tells to achieve your objectives.
Unlike the suave and confident spies you might find in films or books, most spies in spy games are more like super powered commandos--more Rambo than James Bond. By contrast, SpyParty is a new and quite different game about the more interesting and deeper aspects of being a spy.
You can tell at a glance the people who don’t know what SpyParty is about. The ones who do eagerly rush to get in line to play, or else stand at a distance feverishly narrating the action to their friends. But then there are the ones who have never seen this before, or perhaps who have heard the name “SpyParty” vaguely associated with something cool, but have no other knowledge.
My favorite part of working SpyParty’s PAX booth is talking to these people. I walk casually up to them with a slight grin on my face, feeling every bit like a lion stalking its unsuspecting prey on the savannah, or maybe a drug pusher with something extremely addictive to sell. I just need to get them to TASTE this game. My partner tells me that she thinks I am unrivaled as a persuader and/or salesman if I’m talking about something that I love or care about, and I love and care about SpyParty.
“Hi, how’s it going, enjoying your PAX?” is how I typically start. Usually I get some kind of half-response, like “Yeah….” as they don’t look at me, their eyes straining to understand what is happening at the cocktail party they’re watching on the screen. Maybe this is some kind of sniper game, like Silent Scope, they are perhaps thinking. That’s when it’s important to intrude on their train of thought.
Note: this is a day-by-day diary of Krazycaley’s trip to PAX Prime to help man the SpyParty booth. It is being reproduced here with permission of the author. Enjoy.
Wednesday, August 27th, 11:00pm
Wodar is arriving early. He previously warned me that he might do so, so by 11 I’ve ensured that my law practice is in order for the next week, my things are packed, and my partner Jess and my dog William have both been properly wished farewell. Wodar finds a street not too far from where I live to park his car for the next few days, so I come and pick him up. He wishes, upon my picking him up, that I had opened the door and said “get in, there’s no time to explain.” We roll off down the 605 toward Drawnonward, who apparently plans to stream with us present.
The first order of business after launching the site was to squash bugs and start filling the database up with replays, and as we tweeted out on Friday we quickly doubled the number of total replays at launch, to 1,700. Yay.
But with great numbers of replays comes great need for organization. I think Aquaman’s assistant said that. So naturally, the next order of business was making them sortable and searchable. You can sort replays by Spy, Sniper, date uploaded, or date played, and you can sort sets by most of those criteria, was well as games played.
Searching is simple at the moment: you can specify a Spy and/or Sniper, and each field will offer autocompletion suggestions from a list of all the Spies and Snipers currently in the database.
And just to nexusify (whatever, it should be a word) these two things, we’ll be adding sorting to search results, as well as expanding search capabilities before too long. And pagination, as the pages get a little on the unwieldy side.
You can also expect another batch of replays uploaded soon, these ones largely from the 2014 Summer Cup. And going forward we’ll be tagging a lot of these reviews with the match results, to help identify them. Thanks to all the participants who gave their permission.
The SpyParty Ladder, administrated by KrazyCaley, has really influenced how SpyParty has grown and developed recently. I understand that as a smaller community, it makes sense that a centralized, continuous tournament of sorts can be a large draw to many players, especially higher level players who primarily want to test their skills against similarly skilled opponents. That is exactly why I joined the ladder initially, or more accurately the tournament that would seed the initial placings into what would become the Ladder.
For a time I was really content with the Ladder, just happy with how it worked and what it was doing for the community. I mean, look at all of this new activity and excitement! All these sweet replays, and suddenly a real competitive amphitheater to legitimately put ourselves to the test! And I would like to note that, for this exact reason, the Ladder is very good at its intended purpose, which I would define as ~ To provide a stable and reliable competitively minded place with which to test one’s skill at the game of SpyParty.
Now the specifics of why I decided to step down from the Ladder are unimportant for this piece of writing, but what is important is the things I’ve started to notice that are seemingly a result of the Ladder.
This feels a little out of place, but the thought crossed my mind, and once the dominoes start falling it’s hard to get them to stop.
I was thinking about where SpyParty, as a game, and to some degree as a community, will eventually land after (or perhaps during) it’s beta phase in regards to eSports, serious competition, and things in that vein.
Games like SC2, CS:GO, and DoTA2 are special games that seem to either gotten lucky, or were hand-crafted to be serious, eSports kinds of games. I know Chris Hecker’s goal for SpyParty, on some level, was to allow for this amount of play, and to even encourage it, but I guess what I am asking is – Does SpyParty have what it takes to be a real contender in the world of MLGs and Dreamhacks?