Home | Profile - Edit | Your Page | Your Inbox Browse | Search Games   |   Log In

Download


SpeedIF_Jacket_2.zip
Contains fullmetal.gam
For all systems. To play, you'll need a TADS 2 Interpreter - visit tads.org for interpreter downloads. (Compressed with ZIP. Free Unzip tools are available for most systems at www.info-zip.org.)

Have you played this game?

You can rate this game, record that you've played it, or put it on your wish list after you log in.

Playlists and Wishlists

RSS Feeds

New member reviews
Updates to downloadable files
All updates to this page

Ugly Chapter

by Sam Kabo Ashwell profile

2003

(based on 10 ratings)
3 member reviews

Game Details

Language: English (en)
Current Version: Unknown
License: Freeware
Development System: TADS 2
Baf's Guide ID: 2206
IFID: Unknown
TUID: 8o4lnoya4kg6ud7h

Tags

- View the most common tags (What's a tag?)
(Log in to add your own tags)

Member Reviews

5 star:
(0)
4 star:
(5)
3 star:
(5)
2 star:
(0)
1 star:
(0)
Average Rating:
Number of Reviews: 3
Write a review


9 of 10 people found the following review helpful:
Wow. Just wow., April 23, 2010
This is the kind of speed IF that makes the whole idea worthwhile.

This particular competition (Speed IF Jacket 2) seems to have had a looser timeline than most, with license of up to a week given by the organizer and an IFMUD post indicating that entries were still being accepted a month after the official kickoff. I don't know how long Mr. Ashwell (who was the organizer) spent creating this work, but the original poem in the introductory sequence makes it obvious that Ugly Chapter is no rush job from a writing perspective.

This work quickly convinces you that it's going to be something very different and very good. In just a few short moves, Ashwell's masterful writing brings into focus the extremely inventive narrative framework he created in which to tell this story, while outlining enough features of the setting to show that he's invested some thought into making it all hang together.

There's a certain style of writing that I love, in which the author spends little or no time on formal exposition and instead builds up a picture through details. It's a difficult trick, but when done right, this literary pointillism gives the reader the vivid impression that he or she is looking through a window at a complete and consistent universe; the individual dots begin to merge into a coherent whole. Ugly Chapter pulls this off almost offhandedly, while it's busy snaring the player's attention with expertly crafted replies to the usual opening moves, replies that quickly make it clear that 1) this game will not have a "you" in in it in the conventional sense of IF, and 2) that won't reduce your enjoyment of the work one bit.

Ugly Chapter is an excellent use of the interactive fiction medium, conscripting even the parser interface into the service of making clear what's happening as the story unfolds. Once the method by which this story is ostensibly being conveyed starts to sink in, the player is quickly railroaded to the conclusion(Spoiler - click to show), before the novelty of the reader/player simultaneously experiencing "being" both the trapped protagonist and the pathos-inspiring narrator wears off.

I would not qualify this piece as a comedy, it's more like poetry. Perhaps what's most remarkable is the way that this work so dramatically exceeds the threshold of expectation set by Speed IF Jacket 2's structure: Authors were given a set of fictional, out-of-context blurbs -- each created by a different participant and given to one other -- and were supposed to create a work to which they would apply.

It's an interesting variation on the random-seed-ideas premise; instead of X components, authors are given X perceptions. As you might expect, many blurbs were silly. A silly piece in response would be entirely expected and appropriate. A story of this quality in response is astounding; Ashwell makes the pretend blurbs seem silly in an entirely new way.

Without knowing the development time, it's hard to say whether this should truly be considered speed IF. Either way, I'm glad I didn't miss it.

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful:
Resentment made IF, September 13, 2010
by Victor Gijsbers (The Netherlands)
One of the best tricks an IF author can pull off is to make the narrator of the game a central NPC; we saw this, for instance, with Violet, and we see it again with Ugly Chapter. Here, the narrator is utterly filled with resentment against the player character, which leads to --

-- really, saying any more would be spoiling this short piece.

Ugly Chapter is a piece of Speed-IF, and it shows: implementation is sparse, the highly linear path through the game is slightly underclued (but see this walkthrough), and the story and setting, though good, are more hinted at than developed. Still, given the small scale, this is an impressive work.

And it makes me itch to see more pieces where the narrator has a strong emotional investment in what is going on in the game.

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful:
A morbid black-comedy sci-fi speed-if, September 5, 2008
by madducks (Indianapolis, Indiana)
I really liked this one. It had flaws typical of a lot of speed-IF... minimal implementation, extremely linear progression and some under-clued actions, but the vivacious writing and bitter narrator add a lot of flavor. The game, a morbid and angry reflection of a break-up set at some unidentified point in the future after mars has been colonized, is full of black humor. The text makes it clear pretty early on that the actions are being narrated by someone other than the PC, which leads to some interesting moments, such as when you input

> examine you

to examine the narrator. The game is perhaps excessively verbose, but the quality of the writing keeps the extended passages from becoming too tedious. By the end of the game though I was pretty tired of the unrelenting resentment of the narrator.

Overall it's worth playing, it is extremely short and the pastiche of exaggerated tones and genres make a surprisingly rich texture, even if the end result is a bit jarring. If nothing else, the quotes preceding the game a worth are brief chuckle.

If you enjoyed Ugly Chapter...

Related Games

People who like Ugly Chapter also gave high ratings to these games:

Death off the Cuff, by Simon Christiansen
Average member rating: (47 ratings)
They all stare at you expectantly, like children waiting to be told a bedtime story. Who can blame them? You are, after all, Antoine Saint Germain, the great French detective. No criminal has ever been a match for you, and everybody is...

Planetfall, by Steve Meretzky
Average member rating: (90 ratings)
"Join the Patrol, and see the Galaxy!" You took the poster's advice, bait and all, and marched right over to the recruitment station near your home on the backwater planet of Gallium. Images of exotic worlds, strange and colorful aliens,...

Babel, by Ian Finley
Average member rating: (117 ratings)

Suggest a game

Recommended Lists

Ugly Chapter appears in the following Recommended Lists:

Best Works of Science Fiction IF by OtisTDog
I've always been a science fiction buff, but works worth recommending seem even fewer-and-far-between in the world of IF than they are in the world of books. This is the list of my favorites for this genre. Please feel free to comment if...

Metatextual Conceits by Michael Martin
Most works of IF present themselves as works of IF, to be interacted with by you, the user, much as a reader would read a novel. These games play with or reject this, by presenting themselves as some other kind of artifact, or by...

Polls

The following polls include votes for Ugly Chapter:

Neil Armstrong Commemorative Space Poll by Joey Jones
I'm hankering to play a good space-themed game. That is to say, a game not necessarily set in space, but a game that is in some way about space or our relation to space. Any takers?

Split-up PC functionality by baf
In a normal game, there is a single fictional entity that is considered to be: - The protagonist: the character that the player is meant to identify with, and whose goals you are trying to achieve - The viewpoint character: the character...

Speed IFs that are awesome by trojo
Expectations for Speed-IFs are generally low, but sometimes games written as Speed-IFs are in fact awesome-- not just "awesome for a Speed IF" but truly worthwhile. List some favorites here.

Links




This is version 4 of this page, edited by Emily Boegheim on 24 October 2010 at 8:19am. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item