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Reviews by namekuseijin

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View this member's reviews by tag: clickable-drivel IF Comp 2016 rant
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Emma the Trust Fund Baby, by garcia1000

1 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
twine empowerment against the system, September 12, 2017
by namekuseijin (anywhere but home)
Related reviews: clickable-drivel
poor guy uses twine to write out his inner rage against those lucky few economic elite bastards

this clickable static fiction reads so single-mindedly and plays so linearly that even the author seemed to get bored with it and thus finally offered one more choice, one that seems central to the plot:

Emma takes a "gap year" after graduation in order to find out what she really wants to do with her life.

> Travel, vacation, shopping! London, Paris, Milan, Tokyo, New York!

> Compassion and volunteer work. Helping the poor in society and striving for a fair and just world.

it was obviously very out of character for Emma, thus I chose the latter and guess what?

It was tedious and uninteresting work, and she decided to find something more useful to with her life instead.

sure enough, there was no real choice in the single-minded rage propaganda with a 1-dimensional character about as deep as the author's mind... so much for choice-games... the only real choice here is to keep churning and filling ifdb with 1-star clickable static fiction...

Monstrous Neighbour, by mendax

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
several ways to kill a vampire, September 12, 2017
by namekuseijin (anywhere but home)
Kill or be killed in a manichean fictional setting. is it possible to even get killed? Perhaps it's random or just happens to be one of the possible static outcomes in this hypertext

Seriously lacking too in breadth of action: got to a single finale by just linearly clicking single choices offered, like opening a drawer. I wasn't impressed enough to try other paths.

Frankly, last year's IFComp title 16 Ways to kill a vampire at McDonald's is just way more polished and better executed game of the same genre and theme.

The Nemean Lion, by Anonymous

2 of 7 people found the following review helpful:
A joke, not a game, September 11, 2017
by namekuseijin (anywhere but home)
And a very good one at that. Then again, not everyone gets jokes...

BTW, the author is now listed as Anonymous. But I remember very well it was by Adam Cadre.

Pogoman GO!, by Jack Welch and Ben Collins-Sussman

0 of 6 people found the following review helpful:
Pokecraze satire, September 11, 2017
by namekuseijin (anywhere but home)
This is not interactive fiction. It is a humorous satire of an immensely shallow mobile game/spyware that took the world by storm a few months ago and that pretty much faded into oblivion ever since. And while I did enjoy the satire aspect and humor very much, it still plays out just as shallowly and repetitive as the game it took for inspiration, so I just couldn't bother to go on and catch'em all let alone go into the Nyantech HQs and do whatever it was supposed to happen.

Didn't like that excuse for a game, didn't dig this excuse for an IF. :)

perhaps I'm missing something extra, like in Cadre's Nameless, Endless? if so, I may well revise it, but I won't hold my breath...


ok, almost a year ago it seems like I reviewed it before even entering the Nyantech HQ. Since I hate Pokemon, I ended up hating this one too just for its subject matter, but I should know better to expect sheer brilliance from the same duo from Rover's Day Out, Hoosegow and others. Game's well worth it, just laugh your way with the satire until you get more proper IF from inside the building.

sorry for the initial rant

Batman is Screaming, by Porpentine

0 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
joke's on you, joker, September 11, 2017
by namekuseijin (anywhere but home)
click your way through this short linear single joke to find out


kids, don't try to write when high, ok?

for thumbdowners: it's an extremely short review for an extremely short piece of barely interactive crap induced by cocaine. Click on the "Twee" link over there to see what I mean... seems like fame is not doing our favorite alien IF writer much good.

SCREW YOU, BEAR DAD!, by Xalavier Nelson Jr.

1 of 7 people found the following review helpful:
funny, but not IF, October 30, 2016
by namekuseijin (anywhere but home)
no, it's not interactive when it demands a "page turn" for each new word in the text. text effects don't turn it more interactive either, nor does the parser-like text links

screw you, bear sonny

The Mouse, by Naomi Z (as Norbez)

1 of 8 people found the following review helpful:
static fiction with bad fonts, sketches and possibly sound effects or music, October 26, 2016
by namekuseijin (anywhere but home)
I don't play IF with sound on, so I wouldn't know. Presentation is terrible with horrible cyan fonts over a background the color of dry blood.

Not IF: you read (bad) prose and click a link in the bottom to "flip the page". The story is about some boy with bad haircut who wears a shirt reading "fight the system" and doing it by revolting at competent literature by writing shitty literature I didn't care enough to read.

but I did give one more star because I think it's done in good faith and the author is probably just unaware about what IF is about.

To The Wolves, by Els White

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
hypertexter outcast gets revenge on her text-adventure elder pursuers, October 22, 2016
by namekuseijin (anywhere but home)
Related reviews: IF Comp 2016
As much as I hate to give this thoughtful piece of a fiction just 3-stars, I can't reason how it could be any different: it's not quite interactive, but its fine prose and imaginative setting deserves something. Actually, by the end it turns out to be pretty evident that some kind of metacommentary on the IF community is at the heart of it all and that kinda ruined it to me.

(Spoiler - click to show)A girl is outcast from her village. The eldars actually wanted her dead, but she flees and survives her pursuers, eventually settling on an abandoned hut in the forest. Day after day she lives the miserable life expected from freedom: hunting for food (actually, choosing this or that link), customizing her hut (choosing this or that irrelevant link) and surviving some random encounters with past acquaintances who want her dead and either killing them or fleeing. She also finds a pack of wolves who were supposed to eat her, but don't feel like it and learns not much from it. Then some inevitable day one such encounter with villagers get her nearly killed, but she's helped by some ancient being and cast as some kind of undead. She now can hear spirits and have her vengeance on the village, by destroying the token of their traditions. She's really shown them how not to mess with sacrificial women, bastard eldars. oh, I got end 1, but no achievements unlocked, too bad.

anyway, I really liked the beginning and I liked the prose. Good writing is always scant in IF these days all with twitter fiction fans and all. But I felt that second person singular did nothing to me here. I was never under the illusion I could actually do anything, it didn't engage me into it. And while prose is good, there's not enough of a story there. The prose goes all about into trying to set the mood, to set you in the shoes of the character by lots of sensations, smells, tactile feedback thrown at you. It was almost like text VR! unfortunately, did little to me. Which is weird to say because I took quite some time with this one, so in a way, I was pretty engaged.

But now I've seen most of it and felt like I accomplished little here. I did have 2 parallel playthroughs with it, so I know there's lots of text you only see one way or the other, if one enjoys multibranching hypertext.

BTW, I truly loved the visual style of it. gorgeous and mood setting typography. at least that twine gets right. or is it plain css? anyway...

Take, by Katherine Morayati (as Amelia Pinnolla)

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful:
the primordial user agency verb taken to a whole new level, October 15, 2016
by namekuseijin (anywhere but home)
I started playing this one and it felt like Midnight Swordfight - let's call it MS - all over: a weird setting not immediately recognizable that takes a while to digest with a constrained verb list. I hate this "modern" take on parser games to be constrained to a few verbs, perhaps a sinister plot by twine jihadists to constrain parser to "clicks". But here, as in MS, it works. Apart from that - and from swordfight - they are very unlike each other. And I quite enjoyed this one. my somewhat spoilery review follows...

In MS, I never felt quite connected to the story: you kind of view the whole thing from an audience's point of view, being able to interact with scenery and "script" your way through some kind of play. Here, something ironic and strange is going on: take is the primary verb, but it's not used in its usual and traditional parser-IF agency-setting way, but it's supposed to be your take on things happening around you. You don't take things, you write your take on them to some mysterious audience eager for some kind of perverse reality show. Who are the audience? why, certainly we, the players. The protagonist keeps us enthralled by his descriptions and we write back and with our feedback, he lives on. something metaphorical here...

Despite lacking apparent user agency, your take on things is what keeps you alive: you're some kind of clone or android - with the audience always in contact to you via some monitor (probably text-only) installed between your ribs. Yeah, the setting is kind of disturbing. So, either you keep them enthralled by your takes or you're history. Choosing your takes is the challenge. So, ironically, this is choose-your-own-takes in parser form to great user agency effect. :)

The story goes from the point of view of what looks like a gladiator in his late years, a fading star in his profession still into this for his skills in taking anything - including opponent blows. It seems there is indeed nothing he can't take and taking it graciously to his audience to keep them enthralled is what the gameplay is all about. I found the setting pretty fascinating by itself, and the narrator is clever enough to keep it gripping. Finely crafted prose at work here.

The pacing is quite linear and although there are a few physical locations with their own props, you don't move with cardinal directions, you're moved through the scenes in time. Like most other games in IF Comp this year, it looks like a short game because they forgo long linear plots with single solutions in favor of a multibranching solution space, where many paths may be rewarding in their own. It has quite high replay value and you keep playing to see where other branches might lead you. Not quite a puzzlefeast, but still got enough beef to keep you wondering...

one of the best this year, hands down.

Btw, earlier I called the player character a "he": it's not quite that and it's only when we take the point of view of the adversary that we can understand the meaning to the empty sheath and fragility of the old gladiator. There's quite a lot to digest in what looks like simple uncompromised fun here. Some playthroughs are a must.

And btw, my personal take on it: (Spoiler - click to show)it's an ironical description of hetero sex, with the player character being a female whose only role is to take a beating from the sword from the male adversary. She doesn't seem to enjoy it nor take it lightly, thus it's never a win. You only win when you can USE the sword, as the point of view by the male protagonist reveals. So, yeah, a single joke, but a well thought out and executed one.

Cactus Blue Motel, by Astrid Dalmady

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
roadtrip, conspirations, twilight zone, October 7, 2016
by namekuseijin (anywhere but home)
Related reviews: IF Comp 2016
3 girls on a roadtrip stop by an old motel in the middle of the desert to spend the night. Once the neon flower is lit, the hotel comes to life with a plethora of eccentric characters reeking of nostalgic times. Should the girls move ahead, should they stay? Do they even have reasons to go on? What's going on? I thought it might hide some horror behind it, but instead it treads along a Twilight Zone path.

You know, the setting and writing are pretty solid and really captivated me, despite being a bit too much of the short prose style and link-exhausting side. But then, as I kept playing to see where it leads, there it comes, tucked away in the literal middle of the road, blunt as a slap on the face: (Spoiler - click to show)the scene where they're walking to the phonebooth and they pretty much SCREAM OUT LOUD THAT ALL THIS FANTASY SETTING IS REALLY JUST AN EXCUSE FOR YET ANOTHER GAY COMING OUT SIMULATOR. just like Birdland last year and the myriads of twine output that make up most of IF these days. guess this is what we get for decades of puerile dungeon spelunking abuse...

5 stars despite it, thanks to gripping, vivid setting, lush presentation with fine typography and color schemes, some memorable characters, fine dialogues and storytelling, good dosage of drama, comedy and conspiracy... I don't know what to tell without giving out much, only that this is a must-play and well worth it.

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