IntroComp 2016: BestieFone

Next up on my IntroComp playlist is “BestieFone”, an executable that purports to be a cellphone AI on its way to becoming your new best friend….

It’s quite cute. It’s going for cute, so in that sense I guess it succeeds. I’m not entirely sure, though, if BestieFone is supposed to be genuinely adorable or creepily manipulative. While the attitude and the text-speak combine for an engaging character, none of things we ask BestieFone to do over the course of the demo actually get done. The impression is of a self-absorbed teen who’s more concerned about having you as their best friend than in actually being a good friend.

Perhaps the answer (and character development) will emerge with the full game.

I really do hope more plot and character development will be in the offing, because I’m also not sure that a whole game can be sustained by the illustration of personality alone. I’m an old fuddy-duddy, I admit, and I began to find the text-speak pretty annoying after a while. I’m used to reading plain English, and the need to translate it in my head occasionally got in the way of my ability to follow along. Or perhaps I’d get used to it further along; I don’t know.

I’d have liked a scrollback function, too. The text is played at you, much in the manner of telephone text messaging, and there were times when it felt just a touch too fast for me.

Well, the presentation is appropriate, at least. The anthropomorphising of all the tech functions with which we’re already familiar is also amusing. But the main selling point looks like it’s going to be the character and attitude of the eponymous BestieFone. It’s sweet, that’s for sure, like a vanilla latte with extra sugar. Whether this will turn out to be a load of empty calories weighing you down, or a sugar rush mean to jolt you into wakefulness, I do not know.

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