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Shade

by Andrew Plotkin profile

Travel
2000

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Reviews and Ratings

5 star:
(84)
4 star:
(103)
3 star:
(43)
2 star:
(7)
1 star:
(10)
Average Rating:
Number of Ratings: 247
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- diddlescatter (US), February 2, 2011

1 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
Surreal, February 2, 2011
Odd, eerie, surrealistic, and foreboding, "Shade's" mood is its real attraction. The game's only "puzzle" is actually a very clever meta-puzzle; once you've noticed what all the significant commands in the game have in common, you'll get the gimmick and soon find yourself at the game's notorious ending.

- Elihu Jones, January 30, 2011

2 of 8 people found the following review helpful:
Shades of black and white?, January 28, 2011
by Aintelligence (Canada)
This is such a controversial game in so many different ways that I felt the need to weigh in my thoughts. I'll get this straight from the beginning so there's no confusion later. This game was in my mind an incredibly put together game. Arguably the best of Andrew Plotkin (although several others come to mind as well).

It is hard to write a review on this game without giving the whole story up, but I'll do my best.
I think that the two main strengths of the game are all related to character, and the links which are created throughout the game. Yes it's confusing and I played it twice to see all that I could learn (although I'm sure I could get more from it in my fourth or fifth time playing it.), but between these two elements, the game is worth the time.

The character is reLly the part of the plot in which I hate to spoil. I will say that plotkin, has really worked hard on making genuine emotion within the character. Every emotion is set out so well, (Spoiler - click to show) from genuine surprise, to a certain shrouded fear, to crazed terror and the downright craziness. the character not only has rapid changes of emotions, but I similarly was drawn into the story and experienced a wide range of emotions and wierdness. (Spoiler - click to show) of course it is the brain of the character which is in the end the most chilling part...

Secondly, the major strength of this piece is how, like a good puzzle, everything relates to each other in a dim, but in the end understandable, way. I think it is that dim sense that something isn't right even at the beginning of the adventure that was extremely compelling. Even further was how seemingly unexplainable things happened and felt vaguely related all
of the time. It really kept me on the edge of my seat. Many have said that it gets really tedious after a while of playing. Personally (maybe i'm just weird) I liked the timing of it very well. Nothing was forced, and it gave me a time to build up the suspense. (Spoiler - click to show) which for me started at the 'strange' vacuum scene.

I didn't really find too many weaknesses with this game, except maybe for the Different parts of the room which I wasn't very fond of. I will say this, it's very well done. Play it and play it more than once.

- NoiselessPenguin (London, UK), January 27, 2011

- Ben Cressey (Seattle, WA), January 25, 2011

- Callust (Michigan), January 2, 2011

6 of 11 people found the following review helpful:
What happened?, December 29, 2010
Some people might think from my breathless review of Spider and Web that I am an Andrew Plotkin groupie. This is not the case. While I have tremendous respect for his fearsome combination of seamless coding and tight story-telling*, he is, in the end, only human. Shade is the reminder.

The start of this work exhibits all of Mr. Plotkin's hallmark qualities: his trick of making the mundane seem interesting with inventive prose, his expert sense of how long to keep the player in suspense before providing the next clue about what's going on, his knack for making the story follow you before you can follow it. The excellence of this work set up some high expectations about what would come next.

To me, everything about the first half of the game seemed to be pointing towards a particular moment of revelation, in which the player would literally "wake up" and begin a new section of gameplay. This never happened. Instead, things take a sharp turn towards the weird and abstract, and the story leaves the player in the lurch, confused and unsatisfied about which, if any, of the tensions introduced in the first half were resolved.

When abstraction is introduced, art is always in danger of sliding down the slippery slope from transcendent to incomprehensible. Shade, unfortunately, goes right over the edge. While it is tempting to think that I just "missed it", it seems more likely that Mr. Plotkin's profound intuition misled him here in deciding how to communicate whatever he was trying for. [edit: Turns out there was quite a bit I just missed. (Spoiler - click to show)The studied opinion of IF master Emily Short shows that a careful reading of the text provides plenty of evidence (subtle though some of it may be) to support a consistent and interesting interpretation of the end. I've upped my rating by a point to reflect this.]

This game is still worth playing at least once just to marvel at the genius of its functioning as the story's central mystery unwinds. I can't even conceive of what the underlying code for this game looks like, but it feels like something deeply elegant and beautifully simple. If the story had the same coherence, this might have been another landmark work in the field.

* Or is it tight coding and seamless story-telling?

- Carlo, December 26, 2010

- mojay, December 19, 2010

- rootmos (Stockholm, Sweden), December 19, 2010

- GreenSnake, December 4, 2010

- Markoff23, November 22, 2010

- Sophronisba, November 7, 2010

1 of 7 people found the following review helpful:
a defining title in the genre, November 6, 2010
by The Year Is Yesterday (California)
The "first" IF I played, aside from some Zork as a child, and therefore my first experience of interactive fiction that went beyond mere "text adventure," blurring the lines between literature and game. To this day, the experience hasn't been surpassed. There isn't much challenge here: let the story unfold, and just try not to get drawn in by the bleak, arid atmosphere.

11 of 14 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.

- FeralPawn (Australia), October 15, 2010

- Adam Rezich, October 10, 2010

- Chris Longhurst (Oxford, UK), September 30, 2010

- Brian Lavelle (Edinburgh, Scotland), September 12, 2010

- Aaron (Lille, France), August 28, 2010

- peterb, August 26, 2010

- Clemency Jones (England), August 26, 2010

- Telvayne (Tennessee, USA), August 18, 2010

- Alder (San Francisco), August 15, 2010


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