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rameses.zblorb
For all systems. To play, you'll need a Z-Machine Interpreter with Blorb support - visit Brass Lantern for download links.
rameses.z5
original competition entry
For all systems. To play, you'll need a Z-Machine Interpreter - visit Brass Lantern for download links.

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Rameses

by Stephen Bond profile

Slice of life
2000

(based on 81 ratings)
4 member reviews

Game Details

Language: English (en-GB)
Current Version: Release 3
License: Freeware
Development System: Inform
Baf's Guide ID: 922
IFIDs:  ZCODE-3-061023-FFD2
ZCODE-1-000905-D436
TUID: 0stz0hr7a98bp9mp

Awards

Nominee, Best Game; Nominee, Best Writing; Nominee, Best Story; Nominee, Best NPCs; Winner, Best Individual PC; Nominee, Best Use of Medium - 2000 XYZZY Awards

13th Place overall; 2nd Place, Miss Congeniality Awards - 6th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2000)

16th Place - Interactive Fiction Top 50 of all time (2011 edition)

Editorial Reviews

Baf's Guide


You're an unhappy teenager in an unpleasant Irish boarding school, remembering your happier younger days and putting up with the present as best you can. It's not very interactive, but it's an noninteractivity that serves the purposes of the story--the central character doesn't have the courage to speak honestly with others, so he hardly speaks at all, and the frustration the player feels mirrors the PC's frustrations. There are no puzzles, and the game essentially progresses whatever you do, but as a story and a characterization, it works extremely well.

-- Duncan Stevens

Play This Thing!
Fiction of Constraint
On the whole, Rameses is a better game to remember than to be playing. I remember it as a masterpiece, but part of the mastery has to do with the ruthless way it imprisons the player in its protagonist. Alex Moran is one of the most nuanced viewpoint characters in my experience of narrative games, but he's not fun to be. And yet, through the constraints of the game play, Rameses does trick the player into some tiny sympathy with him. In static fiction this person would simply be intolerable. As an interactive character he's also pitiable, and that's a major improvement.

-- Emily Short
See the full review

SPAG
[...] Rameses manages to find the balance between turning the trials in question into melodrama (by exaggerating them) and making them too trivial to be compelling. Specifically, you're a teenager at a boarding school, enduring your two unpleasant roommates and your own homesickness, or something akin to it--and the roommates aren't monsters, they're just obnoxious. Nor is your character a misunderstood saint--he's flawed in many respects. The protagonist manages to elicit the player's sympathy despite (or perhaps because of) the game's refusal to demand such sympathy.

-- Duncan Stevens
See the full review

SPAG

The writing is solid and has a lot of character -- in some places, possibly a wee bit too much character. Still, as in several other offerings this year, the style fit perfectly the mood and environs. It reads, to my mind, something like those TV shows where a character chooses to narrate the goings-on would were they in a written format, a trick that works with the right characters and situations... which this game has.

-- Tina Sikorski
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SynTax
It is implemented well-enough but it is not a happy story. It wades through unpleasant adolescent experiences, and being stuck with a bunch of stereotypical boarding school students doesn't appeal to me at all.

-- Dorothy Millard
See the full review

>VERBOSE -- Paul O'Brian's Interactive Fiction Page

Playing this character is an exercise in frustration. Every command you enter that might stand up to a bully, or leave a bad situation, or just let the PC take charge of his life in any way is wistfully brushed aside with a message like "Yeah, that'd be great, wouldn't it? But I'll never do it." Annoying, yes, but it's also the very soul of the character, and the very point of the game. In a sense, Rameses turns you into Alex's real self, struggling to get out and be heard, struggling to make a difference, only to be smacked down by fear, insecurity, and sometimes outright paranoia. In his climactic speech, the PC voices the exact torment that the player feels at every prompt -- it's an agonizing experience, and that's the point.
See the full review

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Member Reviews

5 star:
(25)
4 star:
(32)
3 star:
(16)
2 star:
(5)
1 star:
(3)
Average Rating:
Number of Reviews: 4
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Most Helpful Member Reviews


15 of 16 people found the following review helpful:
A psychological study in constraint, April 28, 2008
by Jimmy Maher (Oslo, Norway)
Rameses is a day in the life of a disaffected, alienated teenager at an Irish boarding school. Appropriately enough given its protagonist, it's a study in constraint. As you pass through a series of increasingly squirm-inducing scenes, you the player will try again and again to break Rameses out of the rut his life has become, only to have the game -- or, rather, Rameses himself -- refuse your requests with a variety of lame excuses. The game thus manages the neat trick of using its facade of interactivity to make its point -- said point being Rameses's refusal to recognize the control he has over his own life. The game is as railroaded as they come, but the mechanics serve the theme of the game.

None of which means this is a pleasant play. There are no happy endings here. Rameses is unlikable even to us who have privledged access to his real thoughts, and exasperating in that way that only a clinically depressed person can be. And yet, even as we want to slap him repeatedly, we also can perhaps begin to understand what it must be like to live in the prison he has made for himself. His one saving grace is that, unlike the bullies and fawners who surround him, he at least feels shame at his repeated moral failings.

I never want to play another game like this. Its central gimmick -- and I don't mean that word perjoratively -- will work exactly once. Here, though, it works brilliantly, even movingly.

5 of 9 people found the following review helpful:
Well-executed, just not my thing, November 16, 2007
by Kake (London, England)
Related reviews: Stephen Bond, ***
This isn't really a game, and as the author says in the ABOUT, it isn't really a story either: "All I can call it is a Thing." There is very little interactivity; your agency basically consists of what order to look at things in, and your conversational choices make pretty much no difference to the story. There are reasons for this, particularly as regards the conversations, but I did find it a bit frustrating sometimes, as if I was being made to type meaningless strings of characters before being rewarded with the next section of story.

The writing and characterisation are both very good, and Rameses does seem to be very well-regarded, but it just didn't do it for me.

5 of 10 people found the following review helpful:
The game doesn't need to be played, August 26, 2013
by thiagovscoelho
Related reviews: 2 stars
After a while, I realised the game wouldn't respond to anything, so I did a test: I waited every turn. And the fact that you can wait every turn until the end and, well, get to the end is something to think about: Don't try to play this game. Sure, you can try to download it and read it as a story, but playing it is useless. There is no reason to ever type any command, and you can just type "z" at every time the parser asks you and you'll be fine. You won't succeed in doing anything anyway. Try the first few turns and see what I'm talking about.

See All 4 Member Reviews

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The following games that play with the medium were used as examples of approaches to tragedy in interactive fiction at a Cambridge University lecture in 2007.

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Works that have either broken conventional IF rules to some degree and have successfully gotten away with it (in my opinion), or involved a good storyline. Coincidentally, these types of games happen to be my favorite games.

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Polls

The following polls include votes for Rameses:

Fate vs Free Will Games by loocas
I imagine that the interactive nature of IF would allow themes of fate and free will to be used powerfully. Perhaps the PC is given a glimpse of his or her future and the player tries to avoid it. Are there games in which this is done?...

Influential Games by Rose
As a historical exercise, I've begun compiling a list of IF games that have either done something ground breaking with the medium or otherwise influenced it; and I've turned it into a poll so everyone can have input on the expansion....

PC's personality integrated with the story by JasonMel
I would like to be able to recommend to someone many examples of interactive fiction in which the player character is far from a cipher or an everyman or everywoman, but is instead a character with a definite personality within a game...

See all polls with votes for this game

Links




This is version 8 of this page, edited by Edward Lacey on 25 March 2013 at 11:01am. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item