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Rameses

by Stephen Bond profile

Slice of life
2000

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Member Reviews

5 star:
(26)
4 star:
(41)
3 star:
(19)
2 star:
(7)
1 star:
(4)
Average Rating:
Number of Reviews: 6
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1-6 of 6


A young man struggles with his identity and with self-loathing, February 3, 2016
Rameses is like 'Ulysses' by Joyce; a well-known classic that is uncomfortable at times and neither of which I can really recommend as enjoyable.

Rameses is a young college student who is dealing with loneliness, loss, and ennui. The main idea of the game is that you cannot always, or even often, overcome your character's desires to accomplish your own.

The character is accurately portrayed a shallow young man of his age, leading to a lot of profanity but worse, to the player becoming a partner in small despicable acts. Not things like murder or assault, but petty and mean things that he feels are not his fault.

Within its sphere, the writing is good and the implementation is excellent. A mid length game.

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
Angst done about as right as you can get, August 17, 2015
by Andrew Schultz (Chicago)
The short version of this review: in Rameses, you wait around and talk to some people where the conversation is pretty much already decided, and life stinks, though it's way less blunt than that. I've written shorter reviews about much longer games.

It's certainly less blunt than my college-years "I can't move" style fiction. I wrote long stories and short stories, sure there was a much bigger difference than there really was. I probably had the right idea why I shouldn't write too much of it--it's just no fun for anyone involved, done straight up, though all the same, having a more public outlet might've helped me move on earlier.

And Rameses does capture this frustration, much better than so many recent Twine games that discuss emotional issues. It's beyond just useful therapy. I admit I shut the game down twice when starting just because I didn't want to put up with a bunch of profanity TODAY, if you please, even in a short game. So I had my own Rameses moments with respect to something that is not really a great task, abstractly.

What gives Rameses most of its success is how the conversations are structured--there is only one end, regardless of how many clever things you may think up that you could say, or someone more spontaneous could say. It deflates a convention of text adventures where someone's funneled into asking about something, and we sort of buy into it for plot purposes, or suspend disbelief, or appreciate a fourth-wall joke. But here, there's a helplessness whether you go with or fight the flow, like when (Spoiler - click to show)you're forced to guess the price of a pair of a rich fellow student's jeans, which he may be lying about anyway. This was the high part for me--NPC "lets" the PC and the player have "fun," or pretty much all the fun they deserve to have, and they have nothing better to do...right?

Now pretty much any work can shut off hope and it'll be given some credit for ripping open the honest underbelly of human nature by some crowd. I've read far too many of them, but I think Rameses deserves good credit for the brief episodes where you daydream, or observe things you can't speak about, or have chances where it'd make sense to say the obvious, and fail. It's just that Rameses's scope is limited by its own subject. There are only so many ways you can say you utterly have no choice. Rameses finds many and executes things well without overstaying, but my snarky side has to wonder how many people who hail it are partially praising themselves for getting through it unscathed, because they remember being a bit like that in college or high school, whether or not they swore too much in public or in our minds.

Not that I'd have the courage to say this to Stephen Bond's face, mind. I'd be too worried he'd laugh and, truthfully, say "That's the point." Or something even cleverer.

6 of 11 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.

1 of 12 people found the following review helpful:
Not bad...but could have been more..., August 19, 2010
I am a bit disappointed that this game didn't allow you to do more...I would have loved to have known what would have happened if the player was allowed to combat the bullys. A lot of insecurities going on that frustrated me.

17 of 18 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.


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