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About the StoryTuesday morning. London Underground. Hangover. Journey begins.
15th Place - 19th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2013)
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Number of Reviews: 3
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The prose is exellent. I enjoyed reading it, despite some vulgar elements (I usually reject verbal abuse). As some critics already pointed out, I can just say the same: The beginning was a bit aimless, I did not understand what to do, and when the main encounter finally happened, I had the feeling that my choices actually had not made any difference. The author gets an extra praise for implementing each of the mentioned passengers in detail and rendering thoughts about them. The text effects were interesting.
All in all this is a well-crafted piece of interactive fiction, which put a focus on fiction rather than interactivity. Nevertheless I must say that the first part was somehow tedious and I wondered "when is something gonna happen?" too many times.
Note: I posted a similar review on the webpage of the game.
Perhaps this game would work better with a map as a companion piece--perhaps not, because there doesn't seem to be any reason to go to any specific place. Essentially you wander the subway in a fashion similar to the classic Zork maze--there are areas and people to look at, but none of them advance you or get you anywhere.
I can't tell you why I switched lines, or why I swapped trains--as my protagonist said sometimes, "Or I could change to the Charing Cross branch. I could do that. There is nothing stopping me."
I found reading my protagonists stream-of-consciousness to be infectious. His sense of ennui and boredom made me wonder what I was doing and why I was bothering. I suspect this was the intention--but I found it frustrating. I prefer it when the emotions aren't told to me, but rather things I experience through good writing and plotting.
Finally, a twist occurs, but it is quite late in the narrative, and I had a hard time understanding what it was trying to tell me. It seems to be a meta-commentary, but I'm not sure on what--the nature of games, or a psychological statement? Ultimately, I was left wondering why my protagonist didn't just go into work, or get on a different train and go home to sleep off his hangover.
Good parts but a vague whole in existential tale of traingoing., November 18, 2015
Moquette is a Quest hypertext game in which you play a hungover security guard who begins to feel the weariness of his lot too heavily during one morning commute on the London Underground, and who then begins to wander the network in some kind of attempt to do anything differently.
This was the first Quest game by the author of the Quest engine, Alex Warren, and I think it made sufficiently good on views expressed in his blog over time about trying out different things in IF. It's not going for radically different, but it has its own feel and structure, and text effects which are novel enough to make me say that the author walked some of his talk. I found the game fascinating at times, well written as often, though in a way which underutilises (or just doesn't utilise) experiences the protagonist has had earlier in the game. Another problem is that no specific background emerges for the character. And I found the ending to be very querulous; it seems really hard to end existential IFs in a way that is equally or more satisfying than the game content.
There is a fair bit of content in Moquette, and its attention to geographical and other details of the London Underground give it the smell of the real. But overall it's a mix of good elements amongst others which don't work so well.
The run of decisions you make during the game consists of looking at various strangers who get on and off the trains, deciding when to switch train lines, when to stay on a train and when to get off. There are a lot of strangers and a lot of lines to switch between, so eventually the player is likely to start wondering: Does this game have a trajectory or an end, and if it has an end, how deep into my travels will that end be? I wondered all of these things.
The protagonist's view of both himself and others as unthinking cogs in the machine of life is one of the classic concerns of modernity, a concern emphasised in this game by the fact that the whole thing occurs on trains, those classic symbols of the Industrial Revolution. With all this in mind, it seemed to me the game could have gone on forever, making a conceptual point of pointlessness while annoying a lot of players in the process. Thus I was glad of a random encounter on the trains with a character whose presence opened up the possibility of throwing a spanner into the cogs. Still, the protagonist's narration around this event didn't change to reflect the passage of the day, his wobbly health, things that had happened earlier or anything that might happen later. The lack of connectedness of the parts renders the game's finale probably more ambiguous than was intended.
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