Heart of the OHR 2014

Heart of the OHR Contest Results

 

2014 Edition

 

From June 1, 2014 to November 30, 2014, the OHR community was once again given the opportunity to relive the days when random battles were accepted and game design was about visiting towns and crawling through dungeons, and then get rewarded for implementing the throwback design into their games. The contest, called Heart of the OHR, had a simple rule: make, add to, or finish a traditional OHRRPG. We’ve done it before. We’ve done it again. But did we want to relive tradition for the third time?

 

This year we shuffled the pot again and decided to toss every category we offered from 2012 into a single melee free-for-all where every game entered had to contend with the next, fighting against veterans, newbies, Legends, rule-breakers, and titles that some authors had never actually entered on their own. Heart of the OHR was down and dirty this year, and with the new two-thirds rule in effect (meaning any game that receives fewer than two-thirds the maximum number of votes gets the empty spaces filled in with fives), the competition was really anybody’s game. In all, eleven authors entered into the arena, three of which had no idea they were competing (around here, we call them “unofficial entries”), with one author throwing in two games for double the carnage, bringing Heart of the OHR 2014’s total game count to 12, matching the game count that had supplied the inaugural Heart of the OHR in 2010. In a year that boasts the OHR’s weakest number of releases in its 16-year history (at 24 new releases and a handful of updates for the whole year), that’s impressive. But, as usual, the contest has not gone on without its controversies. With the addition of two games that possibly violate the ground rules, endless deadline extensions to ensure the voter outcome is fair, and general interest in this year’s entries escaping quickly with the breeze, it’s easy to question if the Heart of the OHR is merely beating with a murmur. Add to that this year’s abysmally low contest score average of 4.43 (from both pure and 2/3 rule inspired votes), almost a full point and a half below 2010’s average of 5.8 and more than a point and a half below 2012’s average of 6.14, it’s easy to see that Heart of the OHR has had a difficult year in 2014.

 

But nonetheless, Heart of the OHR 2014 beats on, and to celebrate its continuance of life, we must crown a winner. It was a tough battle, and with game rankings changing positions like lottery balls in a wind tunnel with every new vote to come in (from 14 voters in total), it was difficult to gauge which of this year’s titles would actually take the crown. But like all things in life, the voting period had to come to an end (as many as three separate times), and with it, a final vote. The ending may be controversial, for the true winner might’ve been damaged by the two-thirds rule. But that’s why we have a two-thirds rule, so voters will have a reason to vote for all and leave no game behind. In such a difficult year for the Heart of the OHR, it only makes sense that someone would ultimately get screwed. As I said, down and dirty. But why would we play if there was no drama attached?

 

Here again is the story of that battle for the Heart of the OHR:

 

Please note that rankings are listed from worst to best, and based on average votes, not rosters or quantities of total players. For this reason, abstained votes did not count against games, but in many ways helped their averages. The two-thirds rule requires that all games receive at least two-thirds the maximum votes, as set by the top-voted game, in order to receive a ranking based on its pure votes (those values given entirely by voters). Any game receiving fewer than two-thirds the maximum vote receives a score of 5 for every missing vote below the two-thirds range, thus keeping voters accountable and the ranges from suffering from too many spikes caused by too few opinions. This year, the top-voted game received 12 votes, so the two-thirds rule required all games receive a minimum of 8 votes to be ranked according to its pure average. Games utilizing the two-thirds rule (in 2014, two games were forced to succumb to this rule for having fewer than 8 votes representing their final scores) were ranked according to their 2/3 rule score.

 

12. James Doppler’s Epic Sci-Fi Fantasy Quest of Space Time Adventure for the Mind by JimLuc T. Kirkard  jamesdopp0000
Fuzzy Description: A socially challenged, self-proclaimed hero, has delusions of grandeur as he travels around the village doing favors for a drug-addicted wizard in preparation to confront the nemesis he never gets to fight.(Original Game – Unofficial Entry)

Average score: 2.25

Total Voters: 8
Achievements: Below the Belt Champion,Poisoned Heart,Need a Shower Afterward,

Simple Jack Award

Highest Rating: 4Lowest Rating: 1 Audience Consensus: While its graphics and map design are competent, and the music is certainly catchy, the game’s detestable humor, assuming it’s trying to be funny, makes it near unbearable to play. It cares more about shocking and offending than it does about delivering an interesting story.

 

11. Dragons! By Guroo  dragons!0001
Fuzzy Description: In a world where passage from one environment to the next is in perfect balance, according to the weapons it offers and the monsters that populate it, it’s easy to wonder if the hero is traveling in a world of adventure or of one painted by numbers. But who cares? That soundtrack is awwwesome!(Original Game – Unofficial Entry)
Average score: 3With 2/3 Rule in Effect: 3.5
Total Voters: 6
Achievements: Waist Level Champion,Dance Party Fantasy,Paint by Numbers,

Welcome to the Grid,

Where Are All the Dragons?

Highest Rating: 5Lowest Rating: 2 Audience Consensus: Pretty bland to look at, and the soundtrack, while amazing on its own, is too dance-y and unfitting for the fantasy landscape theme, according to traditional tastes. The game’s file size could also turn some people off. The battles are also repetitive and grind-y, but that could be said about most OHRRPGs. Gave one player a headache.

 

10. Stand by kylekrack  standgame0002
Fuzzy Description: A group of miners have gone missing and it’s up to our hero to traverse a side-scrolling landscape in order to find and free them. But will the townspeople help? They don’t seem to be saying much. Are they even there? Use X and Z to find out.(Original Game)
Average score: 3.75
Total Voters: 8
Achievements: Side-scrolling Hero,Key Is Pressed Award,Silent Villages,

Most Ambitious,

The 4’s Almost Had It

Highest Rating: 6Lowest Rating: 1 Audience Consensus: Interesting idea making a Zelda II type of adventure with scripted RPG battles, but there isn’t enough here yet to really dig into the story. Game is also riddled with bugs and empty areas, though nothing that actually breaks it. Good start, but needs lots of polishing.

 

9. Invasion of the Mantle Dwellers by RabMoghal  rabmoghal20140000
Fuzzy Description: Paranoia grips the world as the nefarious and cuddly Mantle Dwellers infest the earth as weevils might infest a garden patch. Why are they here? Can they be reasoned with? Or should we just kill them all and ask questions later?(Original Game)
Average score: 5
Total Voters: 9
Achievements: Heroic Newbie,Cliché Killer,Squeezable Enemies,

Epic Staircase Award

Highest Rating: 6Lowest Rating: 3 Audience Consensus: Good introduction for the game’s author, as the story shows promise, and the hook about saving the enemies rather than fighting them is something we rarely see. Flaws in presentation and design ultimately bring the game down, but with some care, they can be fixed, and the game could become something memorable.

 

8. Zero: Secret Pasts Collide by Buni  Zero0001
Fuzzy Description: Mages are the targets of homicidal prejudice in the town where our mage heroine grows up. Even though she’s willing to take her chances among the paranoid, her friends convince her it’s safer to vacate the town before its steward discovers her magic secret and makes her pay. Thus, her journey through a Final Fantasy-familiar landscape begins.(Rereleased Game)
Average score: 5.11
Total Voters: 9
Achievements: Final Fantasy Award,Epic Introduction,Epic In-production,

Most Dramatic

Highest Rating: 7Lowest Rating: 2 Audience Consensus: Ripped graphics, bad portraits, and a long-winded introduction where everything is thrown at the player makes the game difficult to dive into, but character and town development help save the game for the long haul. Pacing takes some getting used to. Nothing that more love can’t fix.

 

7. The Pumpkin Warriors by Froginator  thepumpkinwarriors(alpha1)0002
Fuzzy Description: Your frog goes missing, and you set out on a grand adventure to find it. Soon, you find yourself traveling a countryside full of pumpkin warriors and Blobster creatures, many of who refuse to speak, in order to fulfill your destiny, whatever that may be.(Original Game)
Average score: 5.25
Total Voters: 8
Achievements: More than Meets the Eye,Best non-Halloween Pumpkin Game,Straight Six-shooter,

Saturday Morning Special

Highest Rating: 6

Lowest Rating: 2

Audience Consensus: A great start for a new author. It’s fun, cartoonish, slightly ridiculous, and reminiscent of Earthbound (thanks to its soundtrack). Has plenty of rough edges thanks to incomplete areas, silent NPCs, and twitchy battles that come out of nowhere, but still promising. Even has secret areas!

 

6. Troll Over by Spoonweaver  Troll Over0008
Fuzzy Description: A troll wants to be a villain, and he will wander around the mazelike forest recruiting the baddest folks he can find to help him retrieve enough passes to audition for a minion role in the evil Warlock that lives atop the hill’s army. He’ll defeat the innocent and desecrate shrines as he attempts to solve puzzles along the way. He’s a true villain’s hero. And remember, Atomisk is a nut.(Original Game)
Average score: 5.5
Total Voters: 12
Achievements: Multiple Endings,Wait, That Guy Was Really a Hero?,Fun to Be Bad,

Don’t Recruit Atomisk

Most Voted On

Highest Rating: 8Lowest Rating: 1 Audience Consensus: Quirky and puzzling, the game has a few interesting design choices. Its cartoonish look also helps with its charm. Casting a villain as the hero is also a nice touch. Besides that, battles can be bland, and the maps themselves have little to offer. Pretty straightforward adventure with most of its gameplay happening automatically and its story happening at the end. Has multiple endings depending on your approach.

 

5. Batman & Robin by RedMaverickZero  Batman0000
Fuzzy Description: In 2010, famed crime-fighters Batman and Robin foiled the Joker’s nefarious plot to use tainted fish against the city of Gotham. But how did the Joker and Harley Quinn get out of Arkham Asylum in the first place?(Rereleased Game)
Average score: 5.87
Total Voters: 8
Achievements: Fan Game Award,Altered Add-on,Villains Are Cool, Too,

Still Better than Schumacher

Highest Rating: 9Lowest Rating: 3 Audience Consensus: The base game is a lot of fun once it gets going, but “Joker’s Breakout,” the version officially submitted to Heart of the OHR 2014, has less a visual impact, none of the level selection that makes the base game better, lacks enough saves to correct bad moves, has difficult health restoration balance, and is all around too limiting to keep it from gaining the secure foothold that players have when playing the base game. Still more than competent as a game, but not as fun as the core Batman & Robin game.

 

4. Mr. Triangle’s Adventure by RedMaverickZero  triangleadventure0017
Fuzzy Description: Mr. Triangle is trying to enjoy some peace and quiet after saving the world. But wouldn’t you know it? Trouble comes knocking on his door (literally), and once again he has to show his opponents why they shouldn’t mess with him or his planet.(Original Game)
Average score: 5.89
Total Voters: 9
Achievements: Beat Your Vegetables,The Big Empty,TL;DP,

Rewriter of Legacies

Clever Boss Award

Click Here to Donate

Highest Rating: 9Lowest Rating: 2 Audience Consensus: Bringing an old controversial character out of the past and into a new kinder image doesn’t seem to fly with some players. Do they want to live in the past? Even though the game is epic in scope, it does feature plenty of large, featureless areas that turns some people off. Clever boss battles make up for the bland random battles, even if it means essentially solving a puzzle first. Animation works well and writing is competent. Still needs proofreading. Donate button an interesting add-on.

 

3. Okédoké! La Leyenda Mexicana by FnrrfYgmSchnish  okedoke0245
Fuzzy Description: El Garbanzo and his wacky crew of misfits finally plunk down for the last leg of their adventure to find out what the government is planning up in those desolate snowfields of Alaska. Could it be that evil’s afoot? Is evil more than afoot? Is it a politician with his or her foot on the pedals of a giant robot? All the secrets are finally revealed in this complete version of this epic game.(OHR Legend)
Average score: 6.5
Total Voters: 10
Achievements: Storied Ending,Cultural Survivor,Mega Dungeon,

Best Explosion,

One Day of Your Life,

Legend

Highest Rating: 10Lowest Rating: 3 Audience Consensus: Kudos for finishing an epic game that’s great to look at, but the problems that began with the first two chapters prevail in the later chapters. Mostly criticized for its controversies in racial, drug, and redneck stereotyping, it draws a tough audience, but also criticized for its large maps and near pointless battles, it’s hard to tell the exact reason why so many players are polarized by the experience. Some see it as a sprawling adventure full of interesting puzzles and comical characters. Others see it as an offensive mess that should’ve ended after the first chapter. Which side do you take?

 

2. T4R4D1DDL3 by superawesomeric  t4r4d1ddl30002
Fuzzy Description: An atmospheric quest through a trippy world of one-liners in that soul-searching scavenger hunt for 14 varieties of underwear. Or something like that. To describe the intricacies of Taradiddle is to outline life one breath at a time. We should all be so lucky as to fine-tune our perspectives of its heart and speak of its wonders through our tongues of digital bliss.(Original Game – Unofficial Entry)

Average score: 7

With 2/3 Rule in Effect: 6.5

Total Voters: 6
Achievements: Existential Nightmare,Cotton Candy Dream,Rebel Heart,

Panty Raider,

Vittoria’s Secret,

Hugs and Shoes

Winner of the Prestigious WTF Award

Highest Rating: 9Lowest Rating: 5 Audience Consensus: No one is really sure what to think of this game. Is it even a game? Is it just a collection of Twitter comments in some Avant-Garde storytelling crisis? Is it the adventure equivalent to mall shopping? Does it even qualify for the Heart of the OHR? Who the frick knows?

 

1. Winged Realm by Pheonix  theonewithharpiesinit0002
Fuzzy Description: An intense light shines in the distance beyond the harpies’ tower, and shows no sign of abating. Determined to find out what’s causing it, three harpies brave the terrors of their 8-bit tower descent as they head for the outdoors and seek the mysteries surrounding this dreadful light.(Original Game)
Average score: 6.91
Total Voters: 11
Achievements: 8-bit Hero,Who’s Who Award,Up from Behind,

Battle Fatigue,

Purple Reign,

My Shizuma,

Master of Technicality

Highest Rating: 9Lowest Rating: 4 Audience Consensus: Difficult, grinding, confusing, purple. It has competent writing and that attractive 8-bit style, but the characters’ names are often hard to follow, as are their sprites, and it’s difficult to root for any one of them as they all somewhat bleed together. Map design is also bewildering, but has the added touch of providing environmental puzzles to keep things from becoming bland. Shops and NPCs also help diversify the environment, as they’re hidden behind doors and are represented as a single picture. Interesting game, if not difficult to track at times. This is the Heart audience’s favorite for the year.

 

And there you have it, your lineup for the 2014 Heart of the OHR Contest.

 

Even though this year had a much weaker turnout than previous years (in terms of quality, as evidenced by the scores), kudos still go out to our winner, Pheonix, for coming in from behind during the last cycle of votes to win the contest. Until the last-minute votes came in, his game, Winged Realm, was running in fifth place and Okédoké, our only Legends release this year, was holding the top spot. As you can see, anybody’s vote can alter the landscape of winners, so voting is important. Anyway, good job to those who tried. Also, good job to superawesomeric for making T4R4D1DDL3, the game with the highest pure vote average, which in previous years would’ve won him/her(?) the contest, but not under this year’s rules.

Thanks also to James Paige, Spoonweaver, Fenrir-Lunaris, Mystic, RedMaverickZero, Meatballsub, Willy Elektrix, Ichiro, and Meowskivich for helping with the prizes.

 

Heart of the OHR 4 begins on March 1st, 2016, and runs until July 31st, 2016, so get your entries started now if you want to make it even better than this year’s crop.

 

—Pepsi Ranger

 

P.S. For anyone who cares, here is the explanation for select achievements:

 

Below the Belt Champion

-No vote for James Doppler reached the midpoint barrier (any score greater than 4).

 

Poisoned Heart

James Doppler is so full of offensive material that including it in this contest kind of taints the Heart of the OHR’s legacy. But because the contest doesn’t censor, it accepted the game anyway. Begrudgingly.

 

Simple Jack Award

James Doppler violates the number one rule for making its touchy main character likeable: it fails to reveal any redeeming quality beyond Doppler’s surface ills, instead choosing to go (if I may alter the original phrase quoted by Robert Downey, Jr.) “full [sludge-head].” Watch the movie Tropic Thunder to get the full scope of who Simple Jack is, what the original phrase means, and why this award applies to this game.

 

Waist Level Champion

-No vote for Dragons! broke the midpoint barrier (any score greater than 5).

 

Welcome to the Grid

Dragons! uses a very blocky (or gridlike) map design to set up its adventure. The whole game feels mechanical or even computerized (partial Tron reference).

 

Where Are All the Dragons?

-For a game that has the word dragons in the title, it’s surprisingly low on dragon encounters.

 

Key Is Pressed Award

Stand forgoes standard OHR controls and instead relies on special keys like X and Z to interact with objects.

 

Most Ambitious

Stand attempts to build its RPG structure on mechanics not quite native to the engine. A bit of a stretch for the Heart of the OHR, but still enough of an RPG to qualify for the contest.

 

The 4’s Almost Had It

-The majority of Stand’s votes were 4’s.

 

Heroic Newbie

-RabMoghal, the author of Invasion of the Mantle Dwellers, comes out of nowhere and drops on the community a competent RPG that focuses on a non-cliché storyline. It’s a refreshing thing for a new user to bestow on our game list.

 

Epic Staircase Award

Invasion of the Mantle Dwellers has not yet mastered the art of map design, and a conspicuously placed diagonal staircase of mammoth proportions in the town’s castle pretty much sums up the game’s initial problems with presentation.

 

Epic In-production

Zero: Secret Pasts Collide is credited to have a 13-year development cycle between its last release and its current one.

 

More than Meets the Eye

The Pumpkin Warriors has a few surprises under its belt that aren’t readily apparent, but a little bit of exploration might uncover.

 

Straight Six-shooter

-The first five votes (out of eight) for The Pumpkin Warriors were 6’s.

 

Saturday Morning Special

The Pumpkin Warriors is the game that best looks and feels like a Saturday morning cartoon.

 

Wait, That Guy Was Really a Hero?

-A Troll Over spoiler alert!

 

Don’t Recruit Atomisk

Troll Over goes to a number of unscrupulous places to define its quirkiness, but the disturbing weirdness behind the death cultist Atomisk’s recruitment takes the cake.

 

Altered Add-on

Batman & Robin comes with two games, the titular game, and the add-on, “Joker’s Breakout.” The add-on changes the gameplay formula to provide a different kind of experience from the base game.

 

Still Better than Schumacher

-In spite of its flaws, the OHR version of Batman & Robin is still more entertaining and sensible than the crapfest we got out of the 1997 movie of the same name.

 

The Big Empty

Mr. Triangle’s Adventure has been criticized for its sprawling maps with little to offer in its variation in scenery or interactive objects.

 

TL;DP

-Or, Too Long; Didn’t Play. Mr. Triangle’s Adventure already boasts 25 hours of gameplay, and it’s still incomplete.

 

Rewriter of Legacies

-Mr. Triangle comes from a checkered past, and his latest game, Mr. Triangle’s Adventure, tries to correct (quite successfully) some of that negative press.

 

Clever Boss Award

Mr. Triangle’s Adventure has the most interesting boss battles of 2014. Defeating them requires as much brains as they do Spacebars.

 

Click Here to Donate

Mr. Triangle’s Adventure is one of the first OHR games to offer a special “Donate” button on its title screen, offering its developers support. Have you chosen to donate yet?

 

Storied Ending

-The final version of Okédoké! La Leyenda Mexicana takes a page from the Legend of Zelda school of endings and provides epilogues for many of its characters at game’s end.

 

Cultural Survivor

-Refers partly to Okédoké’s heroes surviving the negative reactions they receive from NPCs and villains during their journey, but also refers to the game’s endurance inside a community that finds it too controversial for enjoyment.

 

Mega Dungeon

Okédoké! La Leyenda Mexicana’s final dungeon is a sprawling puzzle that takes about three hours to fully navigate.

 

Best Explosion

-The final moments of Okédoké! La Leyenda Mexicana climax with a huge explosion. It’s epic.

 

One Day of Your Life

-Referring to the amount of time you’ll need to finish Okédoké! La Leyenda Mexicana.

 

Legend

Okédoké! La Leyenda Mexicana is the second OHR Legends release in Heart of the OHR history. The first was Vikings of Midgard. To become a Legend, a game has to be rereleased for the Heart of the OHR twice or more.

 

Rebel Heart

T4R4D1DDL3 wasn’t initially eligible for the Heart of the OHR. A conversation with TMC convinced me that the game is very much like the kind of stuff people were releasing for the engine back in the late 90’s, and therefore is about as close to the “heart of the OHR” as one can get. So, I caved and allowed it to enter. It still basically breaks the rules.

 

Panty Raider (and Vittoria’s Secret)

T4R4D1DDL3’s main source of items and armor comes from women’s fashion. Included in the roster of various tops, pants, etc. is a wide variety of underwear types, many of which you can find in treasure boxes. Not the kind of thing you’d normally expect to find all over an OHR adventure world.

 

Hugs and Shoes

T4R4D1DDL3 is so full of nonviolent content that it’s basically a feel-good game, until you realize it’s eating your heart and trapping you in a nightmare.

 

Winner of the Prestigious WTF Award

T4R4D1DDL3 is one of the most abstract head-scratchers we’ve had on the OHR in years. No one really knows what to make of it. It’s even hard to decide if it’s brilliant, wacky, or downright awful. It’s the apotheosis of WTF.

 

Who’s Who Award

Winged Realm’s heroes look similar to each other (in that they’re all 8-bit harpies), and have names that are complicated to track. It’s very difficult to tell any of them apart.

 

Up from Behind

-Until the final votes were cast the night before voting closed, Winged Realm was in fifth place. The last crop of votes shuffled the Top Five enough to put Winged Realm in the lead and Okédoké, the original lead, in third.

 

Battle Fatigue

Winged Realm is wrought with unescapable battles, is made difficult to keep healing potions, and doesn’t give you much to look at between fights.

 

My Shizuma

Winged Realm resembles the kind of games OHR user Shizuma is best known for making, including the classic epic Spellshard: Black Crown of Horgoth.

 

Master of Technicality

T4R4D1DDL3 should’ve technically won the Heart of the OHR for having the highest average score based on pure votes. But because the new two-thirds rule requires that all games have at least two-thirds the voter representation of the top-voted game (this year, the honor goes to Troll Over with 12 votes), anything below the line must be supplemented with fives to balance out the averages, which can potentially lower a game’s pure score if it’s higher than five, and that’s exactly what happened to T4R4D1DDL3. So, even though its pure score is greater than Winged Realm’s, the rules say that two-thirds takes precedence over lesser voted games, and T4R4D1DDL3’s two-thirds-affected score is lower than Winged Realm’s purely voted score. So Winged Realm wins.

 

And now for fun, here is a statistics list of the Heart of the OHR’s various achievements so far:

 

Highest Participation Turnout: 17 (2012) (13 originals, 3 rereleased, 1 legend)

Lowest Participation Turnout: (tie, 12 (2010) (8 originals, 4 rereleased); 12 (2014) (9 official, 3 unofficial))

Highest Voter Turnout: 16 (2012)

Lowest Voter Turnout: 12 (2010)

Highest Average Contest Rating: 6.14 (2012)

Lowest Average Contest Rating: 4.43 (2014)

Highest Rated Game: Motrya (2010, 9.5)

Lowest Rated Game: James Doppler’s Epic Sci-Fi Fantasy… (2014, 2.25)

Most Voted On Game: DUNGEONMEN: Men of Dungeons (2012, 15 votes)

Least Voted On Game: Vikings of Midgard (2010, 5 votes)

Most Perfect 10’s Given to a Single Game: 8 (Motrya, 2010)

Most Imperfect 1’s Given to a Single Game: 5 (Hero, 2010)

Most Perfect 10’s Given in a Contest: 12 (2010)

Fewest Perfect 10’s Given in a Contest: 1 (2014)

Most Imperfect 1’s Given in a Contest: 13 (2010)

Fewest Imperfect 1’s Given in a Contest: 1 (2012)

Widest Voter Spread for a Game: 1 – 9 (tie, Tales of the New World 2, 2010; Okédoké! La Leyenda Mexicana, 2010)

Narrowest Voter Spread for a Game: 6 – 8 (Final Dragon Legacy, 2012); 3 – 5 (Universal Wars, 2012)*

Highest Low Score for a Game: 7 (DUNGEONMEN: Men of Dungeons, 2012)

Lowest High Score for a Game: 4 (James Doppler’s Epic Sci-Fi Fantasy…, 2014)

Number of Games to Receive Votes from Every Voter: 1 (Eternity Fragment Prelude, 2010)

*Universal Wars actually received a low vote of 2.5, but decimal votes were not accepted and were thus rounded to the nearest whole number, in this case 3.