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Shade

by Andrew Plotkin profile

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Number of Reviews: 30
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful:
Ultimately unfulfilled, October 20, 2010
by Sig (Olalla, WA, US)
Related reviews: newbie
...though perhaps that was part of the point.

Initially, I felt like I was humoring the game, waiting for it to give me some reason to do something. Then I was weirded out. Then I was very weirded out. (Spoiler - click to show)Having spent some time in Afghanistan, I am more familiar than I care to be with sand that gets in everything--I had a rather strong emotional reaction as things started getting, er, shifty.

Unfortunately, after a while, I just started getting annoyed. Part of that is simply from inexperience with the medium--I have not done many of these, and I have a better sense now of what is needed to progress than I did starting out. But after a while it became clear that everything was heading in a certain direction, and it was only left to me to figure out the right keywords to make it go that way in a timely fashion; this is where the annoyance really came in.

The ending was odd. It's hard to strike just the right note of ambiguity without leaving most people scratching their heads wondering what just happened. For me, it wasn't quite right, but other people apparently were enthralled with it, so I'm not willing to criticize too much.

Enjoyable. Creepy, particularly if you have spent much time in deserts. The more I think about it, the more I like it. Even if you end up hating it, you'll probably think about it a bit, and it only took this tyro about 50 minutes--surely you can spare an hour.

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Danielle, October 20, 2010 - Reply
I liked hearing about how your time in Afghanistan affected your reaction to this piece.

I think "Shade" might be a game/experience that divides some people. (I really enjoy it for its strangeness and ambiguity, but then again, I enjoy things that have a surreal flavor to them.) Like you said, even if you don't enjoy it, it does make you think a bit.

Some IF are very "game"-attuned; you solve the puzzles, find the treasure, you defeat the Grue, you win! Others are striving to be more like interactive art pieces ("Photograph" by Steve Evans comes to mind), while others (to me) have the flavor of a novella or short story that you get to live through ("Shade" was that for me).

In any case, while it's sometimes tricky to find the right flavor of IF you'll enjoy, I really encourage you to keep searching, because there are some amazing gems in this medium, things you won't see anywhere else!
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