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Bus Station, Unbound

by Jenn Ashworth & Richard Hirst

Slice of life
2015

Web Site

(based on 3 ratings)
1 member review

About the Story

Bus Station: Unbound is a fable about about finding yourself in-between places and times: a 'choose your own adventure' for grown-ups, in which the narrative lies in your own hands. Is it about an iconic building under threat from a short-sighted council or a horror story about infernal retribution? Or is it a tale of guilt, grief, home and forgetfulness? You decide.

Game Details

Language: English (en)
First Publication Date: January 28, 2015
Current Version: Unknown
License: Pay-what-you-like
Development System: inklewriter
IFID: Unknown
TUID: 26v116snv41qyw62

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Number of Reviews: 1
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A highly branching interactive novel exploring a liminal space, January 1, 2017
by verityvirtue (London)
Related reviews: melancholy
You're going home for Christmas, for the first time in years, if only to make up for all the damaged relationships you've had over the years. But the snow is coming down hard, and your next coach is likely to be delayed.

The authors describe this substantial, large work as primarily an interactive novel, but it works as a vaguely open-world exploration as well. There are lots of optional 'side quests' and characters with whom you can interact; exploration opens up different endings and storylines.

But this is built on an emotional heart, reflected in the parallels between the PC and the building. The location's brokenness reflects the PC's own. The shoddiness of the building itself, the glitchy machinery, the inertia of the buses, even the irritable, argumentative NPCs: aspects of these are reflected, in some way or other, in the PC's own relationships with their family and in their own life decisions. Perhaps even the liminal nature of the bus station - a space characterised by transition and impermanence - reflects how the PC stands on the cusp of something new.

The theme of symbolically rich buildings, buildings as containers for ideas, is not a new one. This idea, for instance, is taken more literally in Bruno Dias's Four Sittings in a Sinking House. In both, the titular building reflects brokenness elsewhere: it is the PC themselves in Bus Station, Unbound, while it is the owners' material worship in Four Sittings.

Something else I enjoyed in reading this were the contrasts and almost-contradictions in the bus station's 'characterisation'. It is described in ways that sit uneasily with each other. It is at once a "monstrous waste of money", but also a structure of "pale concrete petals", "heartlike" in its action. The storylines invite comparison between Preston Bus Station's mundanity and terror, human warmth and mechanical coldness.

There's a lot to explore here in Bus Station, Unbound.

If you enjoyed Bus Station, Unbound...

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This is version 2 of this page, edited by RichCheng on 27 March 2015 at 11:05am. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item