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Laterna Magica

by Jens Byriel

2014

(based on 15 ratings)
4 member reviews

About the Story

As you seat yourself and turn toward your inner light, you ask that one burning question.

"What is laterna magica?"

Game Details

Language: English (en)
First Publication Date: October 1, 2014
Current Version: 1
License: Freeware
Development System: Twine
IFID: Unknown
TUID: ihnkavh8vaniky3y

Awards

42nd Place - 20th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2014)

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Member Reviews

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2 star:
(6)
1 star:
(9)
Average Rating:
Number of Reviews: 4
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful:
A very playable last-place effort, January 9, 2015
by Andrew Schultz (Chicago)
Related reviews: IF Comp 2014, IFComp 2014
Laterna Magica got dumped on pretty harshly in the IFComp, but it's by far the best last-place game I've seen since I've paid attention (2010.) I'd go so far as to call it the best bottom-three game I've seen. This seems like faint praise, but when I paged through the comp results, I was shocked to find it dead last.

Its last place finish is probably more a result of a stronger field than anything else. Though I can see why people may've disliked it--it's about a journey to ultimate enlightenment, but with loops. A lot of them. There's one choice buried in one loop that breaks another loop, and the text is deliberately obscure, perhaps too obscure. Your choices are questions with no right answers, and while this is part of the shtick, there are almost no ways to get any right answers or clues you are on the right path. It seems philosophically correct that we don't notice that we're getting smarter, but there's no sense of progress or hinting we're doing it wrong besides "oh, this again." I got a semi-messy map out of it, and I stumbled through, but ultimately I didn't feel enlightened.

And three months later, I can't remember what I did, and I'm a bit worried about going back to find out. So I can't say this is a favorite.

Still, the game has a coherent start, a good premise, and a way through that's logical once you see it. It doesn't soar, but it works. It may give unpleasant flashbacks to those books people flog on you at the airport as "gifts," with different spiels whether you're reading a book or not (but could you please give a donation?) & some of the text rattles on. And while I love some so-bad-it's-good, and I've even had fun poking through underimplemented games and reassembling them to find out what's going on, this game feels more like it had good intentions and clear focus on its own but it never translated to the enlightenment it tries to give the player.

I generally try not to rate games I competed against in IFComp, but I feel sad this game has a flat one star. Doing math on the previous ratings, it even needed a three-star rating to bump it up. I can't quite give that in good conscience, but two stars--definitely.

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
This felt cultish., January 9, 2015
by Chai Hai (Kansas City KS)
I understand you were trying to go all philosophical with inner peace and everything, but not agreeing with the material you presented in game made it a not very enjoyable experience. It felt like I was having those views forced upon me, and I had to agree to proceed.

There also wasn't that much of a plot, just click philosophical links and wal-lah.

I don't know, some people might like this, but I wasn't a fan.

A philosophical twine game with two choices at each stage, February 3, 2016
In this game, you are repeatedly asked questions, and each questions has two answers you can click on.

The questions are philosophical (What does it mean for movement to be an illusion?, for instance). This is the whole game. The only ending I reached was one that told me I was asking the wrong questions, aftef I asked what enlightenment was.

This philosophical work works better as Twine than it would as static fiction, but it was not the type of thing I look for when finding games.

1 of 7 people found the following review helpful:
what a piece of crap, February 8, 2015
by namekuseijin (anywhere but home)
I seriously fear twine because by lowering any entry barriers whatsoever it's getting all kind of loonies loose...

this is not fiction, static or otherwise, it's a hyperlinked Q&A thingmajig about the author's particular obssessive view of the universe he wants us to swallow. whatever, I decided to give it a chance after seeing it scored so low on IFComp14, but that's what it deserves...

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This is version 4 of this page, edited by Jason McIntosh on 23 November 2014 at 12:07am. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item