The Price of Neptune’s Pride

Written by Craig Lager

August 12, 2010 | 11:33

Tags: #4x-strategy #browser-game #neptunes-pride #strategy

Companies: #indie #iron-helmet-games

And Demotivate People

Eventually, the lying starts. Mere emails can spark wars, keeping you up all night thinking of gossip and propaganda to spread in the morning. If you can do it, playing people off each other is a charm like no other and Neptune’s lends itself to it wonderfully. Everyone knows there can only be one winner in the end, so everyone knows each faux alliance is basically a sham - more of a “let’s not kill each other for a bit” pact than anything else.

These alliances can easily be strained, often to breaking point. Emails like “Hey Blue, Yellow just asked me to help attack you in return for weapons tech”, quickly followed by “Hey Yellow, Blue just asked me...” sum it up nicely. It’s bitchiness, lies, and tittle-tattle on a galactic scale. This is as much a game of social engineering and being a SOB as it is one of maths and logistics.

The fact that the game never stops can lead to it becoming something of an obsession too. In my time with Neptune’s Pride it was never off my mind. Driving along on the way to a meeting it suddenly popped into my head; “Oh crap, what if Blue was lying about that attack all along?

The Price of Neptune’s Pride And Demotivate People
Connect the dots to form a picture of Hypnotoad

The feeling is worsened when you’re helpless. You can’t log in and check anything while on the M6, so you’re sat thinking “Blue could be plotting with Yellow to pincer and kill me right now! They might have already launched fleets. My whole empire could be destroyed!

Or, when you’re dozing off in bed; “Did I send Muffin to the right system? Oh no, I don’t think I did. Best get the laptop and double check. It could already be too late. OH GOD, WHERE’S THE LAPTOP CHARGER?

It’s relentless to the point of shattering minds. I know at least one person who came out of Neptune’s Pride feeling awful about himself after he won. “I don’t understand? You won!” I told him. “Yeah, but it meant screwing over and lying to my friends. I’m not that sort of person. What did I become?” Well, he wasn’t that dramatic about it, but the sentiment was the same - in the cold light of day you see what Neptune’s has done to you. A game, with no prize, has turned you into an utter twat for the best part of a month to the people you like the most.

So, it’s horrible - it wrecks your brain, your relationships, possibly your marriage, but ultimately, it’s worth it. The stress, the strain, the lack of sleep - you’ll get over it all. Everyone has to play Neptune’s Pride once, preferably with people you know. You’ll hate them during, and probably for a bit afterwards too while everything comes out of the woodwork, but it’s an experience like no other. I doubt I’ll ever find the energy to go back to it - it’s an exhausting, emotional strain; but at the same time I miss playing it. I miss not having that constant game ticking over, the drama, and the deceit. Never again though - my head couldn’t take it.

The Price of Neptune’s Pride And Demotivate People
The game is over. I have no friends left.

Sir, it’s over. Yellow just took Nirvera - taking them over the win threshold” Anger. Relief. Disappointment. Tiredness. I nearly cry.
It’s done? It’s actually over?
Yes, Sir. We placed third in the end.
Third?! What do you mean third? We had crushed Blue!
Well, over the last twelve hours it seems Yellow and Blue banded together and started a huge assault on us and Purple.
What?! But it’s over? How...how long has it been?
A month, Sir.
A month? Damn. I should go and wash. And possibly eat. Also, I should stop talking to you. I mean me. Whatever.
Very good, Sir.

Neptune's Pride is available to play online for free at the official Neptune's Pride website.
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