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Shade

by Andrew Plotkin profile

Travel
2000

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Reviews and Ratings

5 star:
(95)
4 star:
(124)
3 star:
(53)
2 star:
(12)
1 star:
(10)
Average Rating:
Number of Ratings: 294
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- Marshal Tenner Winter (Truth or Consequences, NM), October 16, 2012

- Rezz05, October 12, 2012

- bluevelvetwings, October 5, 2012

- Sillyjuliaann, September 30, 2012

- AADA7A, September 19, 2012

- Jordan Magnuson (Corvallis, Oregon), August 21, 2012

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Thought-provoking but somewhat blah, August 20, 2012
by glassmice (Equatorial)
Maybe I'm dead inside, but somehow I couldn't get drawn into the plot, despite the excellent attention to detail, (Spoiler - click to show)e.g. the subtle changes to the game environment as the story progressed, and very competent writing. Perhaps what detracted from the story-telling was the predictability of the plot twist, which was not so subtly hinted at (too?) early in the beginning (Spoiler - click to show)(namely the news report on the stereo), and the linear manner in which the subsequent actions unfold. For most of the game I could see where the character was going, and it was just a matter of figuring out how to lead him there; the little details in the story, which on hindsight provide so much to the narrative process, just got lost in the rather tedious gameplay.

That said, Shade provides lots of material for literary analysis, and the ending is tantalizingly opaque. So if you don't mind gameplay (no puzzles!) taking a backseat to a good - if slightly hackneyed - storyline, this IF is for you. If you're unsure if you'd like, its short length (approximately 1 hour) means you could give it a shot anyway. Who knows, you might end up liking it.

- krolikov, August 20, 2012

- Inarcadia Jones (NYC), August 2, 2012

- Amy (Upstate NY), July 20, 2012

- Katrisa (Houston), July 19, 2012

- Molly (USA), June 25, 2012

- rec53, June 9, 2012

- libsrone, June 6, 2012

- kala (Finland), May 25, 2012

- Herr Rau (München, Germany), May 9, 2012

- zylla, May 2, 2012

- The Xenographer, April 30, 2012

- EsotericAlgorithm, April 28, 2012

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
Amazing and Creepy One Room Short IF, April 8, 2012
by octofuzz (Trondheim, Norway)
Played it over an Easter vacation in a hotel lobby and was absolutely captivated.

Easily solved in under two hours but I think it will take several runs through for me to appreciate all of its subtle messages and meaning.

Great for beginners as well (it was the second ever game I completed).

Download, absorb, enjoy.

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A Solid Four-Star Game, March 20, 2012
by Jim Kaplan (Jim Kaplan has a room called the location. The location of Jim Kaplan is variable.)
Related reviews: andrew plotkin, one-room, short
Play the game if: you simply want to enjoy a competent and in some places innovative work of interactive fiction without getting bogged down in complex intellectual challenges.

Don't play the game if: you want to be dazzled with narrative brilliance, or if you want more out of IF than good prose and atmosphere.

Shade is a work of interactive fiction that could easily have doubled as a script for The Twilight Zone. In fact, certain very apt comparisons could be made to (Spoiler - click to show)Ambrose Bierce's "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge", a film adaptation of which was shown on The Twilight Zone.

The bare mechanics of Shade work rather well. In fact, the very question of "difficulty" doesn't even seem to exist in this game. Plotkin's writing is sharp enough that when the rules begin to change, the differences will leap out at you even though they're rather subtle - details such as (Spoiler - click to show)The protagonist's vacuum suddenly being full of sand, or the apartment's plant changing species.

The apartment setting is implemented with convenience in mind, the game allowing for multiple locations in a single-room setting without forcing the player to resort to constant commands of "enter" and "exit". My favorite games in IF focus on synchronizing the kind of decision-making underlying in-game actions with the player's own mind. Such games, and in this case Shade, impart a sense of intuitive control and completeness that can help the game transcend itself in the Turing-esque sense that IF has always striven to accomplish.

There is only so much one can discuss in the story itself without referring to heavy spoilers. The fact that there even exist heavy spoilers is in and of itself something of a spoiler, which poses something of a problem. Nevertheless, for the sake of completeness, the attempt must be made.

An undeniable strength of the story is the atmosphere. The one-room setting achieved the right balance of comprehensibility and potential to explore; the pacing of your introductory searches around the room is good enough to introduce all the important elements at play and keep them in your mind at all times.

Perhaps because I've seen this particular brand of story before, Shade's actual narrative doesn't come across as particularly fresh or new for me. This is likely more a subjective nitpick than an objective criticism, but there you go. What might be called the second act (Spoiler - click to show)(specifically, the process of turning all of your apartment to sand) was for me a rather laborious process of carrying out the obvious, even though I understood more or less where this story was going to end. Even before getting to this stage I'd more or less guessed the ending - showing that while subtle details will leap out at you, there's an added risk of too much foreshadowing.

The result was that I wasn't as gripped by Shade as I might have been - the two moments of genuine excitement being the realization of what was actually going on (turning out to be something I'd seen before), and the epilogue of sorts, which is written rather well.

Still, this is, if not a great work, at least a very good one; the implementation of the setting, the comfortable command system, and the prose are by themselves enough to make this game worth your time.

- Relle Veyér, March 1, 2012

- deathbytroggles, January 29, 2012

- Hagbard Celine, January 26, 2012

- E.K., January 18, 2012


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