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Reviews by sushabye

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1-8 of 8


Hexteria Skaxis Qiameth, by Gabriel Floriano
Nothing to see here, November 14, 2017
Presents the concept that people's thoughts can be shaped by their language. Yes, its the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis as seen in the 2016 film "Arrival". So, what cool narrative does this game wrap around the central idea? Well, none. It simply presents a variation of that idea, gives you some clickable links to play with, and sits back. Job done? Not for me. It needed more than just some nice mock-19th century writing to engage me. A beginning, middle and end would help.

Harmonia, by Liza Daly
Beautifully presented but predictable, November 14, 2017
I can't fault the style: the "annotated manuscript" look and feel is incredibly seductive. Unfortunately, the actual story it's seducing you into is less impressive. A university professor has gone missing while investigating some tunnels under the school. His journal reveals an obsession with an author of a time-travel novel from 100 years ago. You've been brought in as his substitute, and start scouring his journals for clues. Meanwhile, his assistant has been following you around.... If you can't already guess where this is leading, you might get some enjoyment out of this. For me, everything felt utterly, utterly predicable. I could pretty much guess every beat of this story, all the way down to the final "choice": which is the only meaningful choice in the game, the story being highly linear. Still, great presentation though, and I learnt something about "utopian literature", a term I had never heard before.

The Unofficial Sea-Monkey(R) Simulation, by B.J. Best
Strangely familiar, November 13, 2017
A sea-monkey management simulator in Twine. Or is it? Maybe that's just the player's way of distracting themselves from the familial neglect/abuse situation going on around him. There's a good idea here, and that idea is called Ultra Business Tycoon III by Porpentine. Swap a business-sim computer game for a sea-monkey tank as the focus of the player-character kid's attention, and this is virtually the same thing. It's reasonably well-written nevertheless, and I like the meta-narrative explaining the need to replay over and over to get all the endings, but still, Porpentine did it better.

The Owl Consults, by Thomas Mack, Nick Mathewson, and Cidney Hamilton
The Owl Disappoints, November 13, 2017
You are a consultant to super-villains, guiding them step-by-step over the phone. You have two lines, and can switch between the two characters at will. This is all very original, very clever stuff, a great setup, with fun writing. Unfortunately, the game is marred by implementation difficulties: levers that should be off being described as "on", buttons that should be switch on being described as "off". Which makes actually playing and solving the puzzles very difficult. Even if that was fixed, it would still be far too hard. Looking at the hint system reveals jumps in logic that no reasonable player could guess. I wanted to like this one, but it threw too many hurdles in my way. Disappointing.

Out There, by FibreTigre

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Cool but cruel, September 2, 2017
The loneliness of the long distance space traveller. I love the turn of phrase in the writing, the adorable little vignettes, and the sense of personality of the protagonist, lost in space and going slightly crazy. Really feels like it sits in the tradition of French science-fantasy: I can imagine a Moebius comic strip telling this tale.

It even has a central plot, with an interesting and satisfying conclusion, going for it too. But far too few people will actually get to see that plot, as the game is ridiculously hard. Impossibly hard. I ended up playing a modified version just to see the story.

Hoist Sail for the Heliopause and Home, by Andrew Plotkin

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
Game of the year, January 29, 2011
This is exactly what short interactive fiction should be. Effortlessly evokes a classic science-fantasy style to tell a satisfyingly complete tall tale with perfect circular logic. Gameplay-wise, the interface and commands are based on the nautical model ("HOIST SAILS" etc) which will likely be initially unfamiliar to the player. The writing, however, does a great job of directing the player to the right commands to use very subtly, an invisible tutorial offering a guiding hand. Every puzzle builds on what you previously learned, often you will instinctively know what to type: the sign of a master of the form at work. I challenge you to think of a better game released in 2010.

Without a Clue, by David Whyld

5 of 12 people found the following review helpful:
Sherlock 2008, April 25, 2008
Uses the exact same idea as Infocom's 80's Sherlock game - you play as Watson instead of Sherlock. Even starts the same way, with you outside 221B Baker Street about to enter. The writing is a decent stab at apeing the Conan Doyle style, the puzzles are too obscure and unclued though. I knew pretty quickly the location I wanted to visit, but even after exploring all the other locations allowed first, it still wouldn't open up that area. Highly frustrating. The ADRIFT language used to write this game didnt help much either, not the author's fault but some annoying limitations in its parsing became evident.

rendition, by nespresso

11 of 20 people found the following review helpful:
Horrifying and scary... but I think that's the point..., April 25, 2008
I was inspired to try this by the comment "Whoever wrote this sick piece of **** should be banned from Interactive Fiction for life. It should be removed from the IFDB and the archive, and quickly". Anything that can inspire that level of extreme reaction must be worth playing!

I realized that the game is intended as a kind of mirror for those who play it. It is very opaque, and doesnt spell out its intentions at all, so any judgement about its worth, or offence at its subject matter, says more about the person playing it than the game itself. So the comment about banning the author and deleting the game indicates a "liberal neocon"-type personality, the kind of person who turns a blind eye to the atrocities being performed in their name by western regimes, and when confronted with the truth wants it hidden away from sight.

The most horrifying thing about Rendition: this stuff is actually going on, today. If you feel uncomfortable playing it, why are you allowing your government and military to do it? I'm glad this game exists, and is being distributed. "They hate us for our freedom!", right? So let's ban the author and delete the game, that'll show 'em!


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