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About the Story"Late Thursday night. You've had a hard day and the last thing you need is this: shopping. Luckily, the place is pretty empty and you're progressing rapidly. On to the next aisle...
Aisle started out as a game which would not need the usual meta-verbs... i.e. a game with only one turn. The initial idea was: How do I make a game with only one turn interesting? Give it lots of endings--in fact there are many 'endings' and (hopefully) every sensible action results in an 'ending'. There is no winning action. There is however more going on than just this and the more endings you see the more things should become clear." [--blurb from The Z-Files Catalogue]
Language: English (en)
First Publication Date: May 28, 1999
Current Version: revision 3 release 1
Development System: Inform 6
Forgiveness Rating: Merciful
Baf's Guide ID: 431
Spoofed by Pick Up the Phone Booth and Aisle, by David Dyte, Steve Bernard, Dan Shiovitz, Iain Merrick, Liza Daly, John Cater, Ola Sverre Bauge, J. Robinson Wheeler, Jon Blask, Dan Schmidt, Stephen Granade, Rob Noyes, and Emily Short
Referenced in Fingertips: The Day That Love Came To Play, by S. John Ross
Nominee, Best Story; Nominee, Best Individual PC; Winner, Best Use of Medium - 1999 XYZZY Awards
-- R. Serena Wakefield
Sam Barlow's Aisle is without a doubt one of the most unusual works to hit the IF community in quite some time. In no sense is it a game; trying to "win" it is futile, and the suboptimal outcomes aren't bad choices to be avoided as such. Rather, the point is to explore the central character and take a look at the various possibilities available to him from one point in time. That said, however, it's not clear that Aisle is an entirely successful experiment. [...] (Duncan Stevens)
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Reviews from Trotting Krips
Yes, this is experimental IF. I cringe at the very thought, normally. Aisle, however, is far and away the most effective, enjoyable experimental IF game I've come across. It's flawlessly implemented, wonderfully written, and intensely evocative. It is a very moving experience, and should stick with you long after you leave your interpreter.
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Play This Thing!
Aisle is a one-turn game. Play a turn, and the game ends.
Restart. Try something else. The game ends again.
This isn't a case where working out just the right single move will win, either. (For that, try Andrew Pontious' brilliant but difficult Rematch.) No, Aisle is partly about exploration -- an astonishing number of commands are implemented, ranging well outside the usual set of interactive fiction commands -- and partly about assembling the story that you're interested in.
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Rock, Paper, Shotgun
Crucially, a number of the less eventful endings provide hints as to your characterís backstory, which in turn fill your mind with possibilities as to new actions you could attempt. Hence, Groundhog Day - each attempt you make at the game is informed by the events of the previous one(s). You revert back to exactly the same situation every time, but though the world hasnít changed, your knowledge has - and with that comes an uncanny sense of progress.
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The writing is very good, evoking an atmosphere that I readily took part in. There were responses to all the inputs I tried, even to some that I typed simply because they always provoke a stock response from the game. My advice is to try as many ways getting information about the story as you can. Put yourself behind the trolley and into his shoes. Beware, I found some responses a little disturbing.
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|Average Rating: |
Number of Reviews: 18
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Most Helpful Member Reviews
If Aisle was just an exercise in trying random actions to see what results, it might be fun and intriguing, but hardly heartbreaking. And make no mistake: for me, Aisle is heartbreaking, oozing the same sort of neon-drenched romantic loneliness as a Wong Kar Wai film. You'll find some of the finest writing in IF here:
The trolley is a small cage of steel with bent rubber wheels. Full of your shopping: meals for one, drinks for one (well, drinks for several, but hey, who's counting?).
Gnocchi for one wouldn't really work. You settle for spaghetti and continue on to the next aisle.
As you play again and again, the backstory -- or rather, several possible backstories, but each drenched in the same melancholic longing -- gradually reveal themselves. One or two endings even hold out the promise of an end to the PC's isolation...
Truly, a great piece of work.
Also, there are some amusing twists based on IF conventions that are quite unexpected and funny.
Literary and fun: what more could one ask for?
I'd say these's about an hour of non-stop enjoyment in this title - and I haven't yet gone into the walkthrough to see what I missed.
See All 18 Member Reviews
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Recommended ListsAisle appears in the following Recommended Lists:
Great "lunchtime length" games by MathBrush
These are games that can generally be completed in 30 minutes or less. Some can be completed much faster. Included in this list are games that have multiple endings that can individually be reached quickly. It also includes several Twiny...
Highly polished gameplay by Emily Short
Games that are exceptionally well-tested and smooth to play. They may not always be the most original works, but the implementation is strong, offering minimal frustration with guess-the-verb and other common flaws.
PollsThe following polls include votes for Aisle:
Best Short Games (5-60 minutes) by Sasha Davidovna
I'm pretty new to IF and am having a lot of fun, but in between a toddler and a job and other real life stuff, I'm having trouble finding time to finish many of the longer games I want to play. Can you please recommend me some fun and/or...
Canonicity and IF by juliaofbath
I'm interested in determining whether or not a clear canon has emerged within the world of IF/hypertext. Of course, there is a clear critical opinion regarding which works belong to this tentative canon, but I'm interested in what...
PC's personality integrated with the story by JasonMel
I would like to be able to recommend to someone many examples of interactive fiction in which the player character is far from a cipher or an everyman or everywoman, but is instead a character with a definite personality within a game...
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