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Photopia

by Adam Cadre profile

Slice of life
1998

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Reviews and Ratings

5 star:
(209)
4 star:
(127)
3 star:
(47)
2 star:
(15)
1 star:
(2)
Average Rating:
Number of Ratings: 400
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- G_G, May 24, 2016

Brass Lantern

[...] the overall layout of the story appears to be a complex weave, where you travel along the thread as it makes its way in one direction, turns around and comes back, crossing the previous parts of the weave and then continues. [...] In summary, this game is like an interactive story nestled inside another. A russian doll. A woven russian doll at that.

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>VERBOSE -- Paul O'Brian's Interactive Fiction Page

The colors, like everything else in Photopia, worked beautifully, adding artfully to the overall impact of the story. The work is interactive in other important ways as well. In fact, in many aspects Photopia is a metanarrative about the medium of interactive fiction itself. Again, it wasn't until the end of the story that I understood why it had to be told as interactive fiction. And again, to explain the reason would be too much of a spoiler. I have so much more I want to talk about with Photopia, but I can't talk about it until you've played it. Go and play it, and then we'll talk. I promise, you'll understand why everyone has been so impatient. You'll understand why I loved it, and why I think it's one of the best pieces of interactive fiction ever to be submitted to the competition.

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- Doug Orleans (Somerville, MA, USA), May 23, 2016

- Rollersnake (Rogers, AR), May 1, 2016

- Denk, April 17, 2016

- Matthew Bates, March 28, 2016

- Mergath, February 25, 2016

- E. W. B., February 23, 2016

- sadcarnival (Australia), February 19, 2016

A variety of genres rolled into a cohesive story. An influential IF game., February 3, 2016

Photopia is often cited as the best interactive fiction of all time. It has won numerous awards, inspired a shift to story-centered Interactive Fiction, and so on.

It really is a great game. Despite all the hype, sitting down and playing through it is fun. The meta-puzzle of trying to understand what's going on keeps you going through different scenes. The different scenes give you the impression that you're playing a hard puzzle game while actually simplifying things without you knowing.

The colors are a good part of the game; if your interpreter doesn't support or if you are unable to distinguish between colors, you should use your imagination.

Is this really the best IF of all time? I honestly would have to say that nothing is really better than it. I don't replay it because it makes me sad. I like to stick to puzzle games or big crazy worlds. But this game has substance and meaning.

- IFforClassroom (East Asia), January 29, 2016

- wojnarabc, January 13, 2016

- namekuseijin (anywhere but home), January 12, 2016

- KennaM (Southern California), January 8, 2016

- Oreolek (Kemerovo, Russia), January 8, 2016

Short, unique, and relatively on-rails, December 17, 2015

Likes:
-Not frustrating. The lack of challenging puzzles and presence of an adequate parser and adequate descriptions made it so I didn't encounter any frustrating moments.

-Non-linear storytelling makes things a bit more interesting than if this story were told in a linear fashion as you learn more about the story and piece it together yourself. This approach is not without its problems, though (see dislikes).

-Short. Even if you don't find this to be the most amazing thing ever, it's so short that you probably won't really feel worse off for having played it.

-Use of images and color. It's not particularly flashy, but it's a nice break from typically monochrome IF.

Dislikes:
-Not particularly exciting or touching. The story is quite short, so I don't really have time to develop an attachment to the characters. I don't blame the game for a lack of characterization, I just feel like I need more time with the characters in order to care more about them. Maybe it's my fault for not letting myself get drawn in, but I suspect the non-linear nature of the story also made it a little harder to get drawn in to caring about it. I sure did care about that wolf, though (I have that not uncommon habit of caring more about animals than actual people).

-Not particularly challenging. There aren't really puzzles in this game. I like the sense of accomplishment I get from solving puzzles, so in that regard this game isn't as fun as other games that do have puzzles. I don't think puzzles really fit with the theme of the game, but I can't help myself having a desire to overcome challenges.

-On rails. I didn't get a sense that the presence of a parser and text-based interaction really enhanced the story.

Conclusion
Overall, I recommend giving this game a play due to how short it is. Other than that, I don't think it's as exciting or remarkable an experience as I've gotten from other games. I've come to expect a high level of stimulation and engagement from playing too many video games, though.

- Aryore, December 13, 2015

- Ashen_, December 12, 2015

- tearingdownthewall, December 3, 2015

- deskoft, December 1, 2015

- paulmr, November 11, 2015

- bignose (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), November 7, 2015

- Catalina, November 4, 2015

- KingofSushi, October 12, 2015


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