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Alabaster

by John Cater, Rob Dubbin, Eric Eve profile, Elizabeth Heller, Jayzee, Kazuki Mishima profile, Sarah Morayati, Mark Musante profile, Emily Short profile, Adam Thornton profile, and Ziv Wities

Part of fractured fairy tales
Fairy tale
2009

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Number of Reviews: 9
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful:
Enjoyable little game, June 6, 2009
by Matt W. (Vienna, Austria)
The slightly disturbing atmosphere and the multiple (supposedly eighteen) endings are not the main feature of this short game by Emily Short, written in collaboration with various other authors. No, the main reason for playing this game is the conversation system that will, in time, be released as an Inform 7 extension for every IF writer and that gets its test run here.

It combines the standard ASK/TELL style with a system that keeps track of state and the current topic(s) (where are we in the conversation? where can we move from here?) that makes for a more natural flow of dialogue.

Unfortunately, since almost all facts you need to know in order to solve the game can only be learned by talking to Snow White, the main NPC, you need to ask her about anything you can think of anyway (the TOPICS command gives you a list of possible topics at any given moment). What is great in the beginning turns into a pretty mechanical run-though of every topic and reaction the game tells you about.

A solution would have been to implement more non-conversation gameplay - but still, it's a great example of where NPCs and conversation systems are at the moment, and what can be done with them.

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forgepoet, February 17, 2014 - Reply
I was frustrated at first, after asking every single question and discussing every single topic that came up, to find myself locked into an ending that seemed somewhat random and divorced from about half of the conversation (mild: (Spoiler - click to show)not to mention that Snow changed characterization wildly).

After looking at a walkthrough (no WAY was I going to ask about every single thing all over again) I think the game might be meant to be played in a more organic fashion, ie, asking a few questions, deciding what you think is going on, and asking about the topics that apply to that hypothesis, rather than just making sure all the boxes are checked. Which is a surprising and pleasing change from the usual "exhaust every option" method that seems standard these days, but one that I'm sad I discovered too late for my play-through.

(I wasn't sure whether it was appropriate to add a comment to an old review, but I thought it might be useful for someone who hasn't played it yet to try the method I outlined on their first play.)
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