Saturday, April 13, 2024

Table Manners EGX 2019: quirky enough to keep me playing

When I saw that Table Manners was going to be at EGX, you can imagine that I was more than a little excited. Only recently did I mention that Table Manners was a game for our readers to keep their eye on, and it was most certainly one of my favourite games to play during my time in London.

For those who may not know, Table Manners is a game where you’re doing an activity we all hate: dating! Or more specifically, trying to date. But depending on your hand to eye coordination, as well as how floppy your wrists are, you may end up leaving this dinner between you and your date with food all over your shirt.

This is because Table Manners is physic-based, meaning that each move of your disembodied hand matters. For example, while you may be trying to pass over the wine to your special someone, you could quite as easily smack them in the face instead. Or even worse, spill wine all over their lap.

But first, you need to get on the actual date. You can always just jump straight into Table Manners gameplay, you miss out on some of the funniest moments if you do.

Instead, I went to the game’s book, where you can flick through and find a date that ‘suits’ you. You don’t really know too much about the people you go out on dates with apart from what they look like, which at the moment only really gives you two or three options with different hair or skin tones. I do appreciate that it doesn’t just put you with a random person though, so you can pick the gender of your romantic partner if you so wish. But after you pick, it’s trying to keep your date that’s the problem.

My way of approaching anyone for a date is to, of course, a mixture of small talk and jokes. This led to mostly rejections, which reminded me of real-life quite a bit, before some poor soul actually found a joke about pizza funny. Clearly my soulmate.

After successfully being a functioning human being, I’m whisked away on my date. This is where the fun really starts as after small talk, my date will suggest I get something for them. For me it was wine, which after several attempts, I managed to get into my glass and then hers. My date was a good sport, giving me a beautiful smile as I dropped the wine bottle on her hand several times.

No matter, she obviously enjoyed my wine skills enough to keep the date going. Her next instruction for me was to light the candle on our table, which should already tell you where this is going.

Sweating buckets, I attempted to pick up a match. It didn’t go well, my fingers dropping it over and over. My date was staring at me, sighing and looking more and more unimpressed as time went on. This was very much like all my real dates, only with fewer fire hazards.

Eventually the match was lit, but by the time I’d even tried to light the candle my date had already lost her temper, slamming her fists and leaving and I was brought back to the menu of picking which lucky guy or gal I’d be attempting to date this time.

Table Manners is definitely a kooky concept, but it’s also one that brings a smile to my face at how even dating can be turned into a game. Sure, it may be a game that doesn’t have as many hours as your favourite shooter or RPG, but it’s definitely one that’ll catch your attention and in the end, that’s all that matters.

Table Manners is set to release on PC in 2020. For more coverage of the game, check out what we’ve got here at Gayming Magazine.

Aimee Hart

[She/They] Aimee Hart is Editor-in-Chief of Gayming Magazine. She specializes in queer fandom, video games and tabletop, having started her career writing for numerous websites like The Verge, Polygon, Input Magazine and more. Her goal now is to boost LGBTQ+ voices in the video games industry.