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Nova Heart or Donít Be Standing Around While the Earth Dies Screaming, or: Who Is To Blame When the Owls Leave Candy Jail?

by Zenith J Clangor


Web Site

(based on 8 ratings)
2 member reviews

Game Details

Language: English (en)
Current Version: Unknown
IFID: Unknown
TUID: mell8ufiuf8qvudg

Awards

Entrant - ShuffleComp 2014

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Member Reviews

5 star:
(1)
4 star:
(1)
3 star:
(0)
2 star:
(4)
1 star:
(2)
Average Rating:
Number of Reviews: 2
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Brevity is the soul of wit, October 15, 2014
by spankminister
Related reviews: shufflecomp
I admit I played this game because of the silly title, but I did not expect to enjoy it as much as I did. I read all the reviews I could find first, and it's sort of interesting to see how people rate such a weird edge case of interactive fiction. Reviewers lamented the lack of depth in the interpreter, the illusion of choice, or the relative simplicity of the player's interaction. Despite this, some people don't seem to have finished it properly. And yes, it's short, but for a joke to work, it's crucial that it not overstay its welcome.

None of that seems relevant to me. A game that is MORE interactive is not automatically better than a game that is less. A game that wastes a robust interpreter is not as good as a game that makes perfect use of a spartan one. It seems like the author set out to write something absurdist and funny, and I found it delivered both very well. The tone of the parody, incredibly self-serious pastiche did it for me, and the way the game clued you in to the correct solutions to its admittedly simple puzzles worked, and made fun of genre conventions at the same time.

Interesting as an experiment, if not as a game, November 17, 2016
by Tracy Poff (Hamlin, West Virginia, United States)
A bit of background: for Shufflecomp, prospective authors submitted a list of songs, which the organizer shuffled and sent back out. Authors were then to write a game inspired by (at least) one of the songs they were assigned (details). Nova Heart is inspired by seven songs.

I found Nova Heart's story to have a disjointed feel. There are sudden transitions and shifts in perspective, and the whole thing is rather bizarre. Intentionally, I assume.

Interesting language and vivid imagery are Nova Heart's strongest points.
You are in a woman's clean white utopic apartment, one hundred floors above the city.

The wailing sirens of the deathpaddywagons are drawing closer. You have to run.

Run now.

There's something forceful and immediate about this that I like. Between each paragraph, the game pauses, requiring a click (or press of the enter key) to proceed. I was more impressed by this before I saw the next line: "To run, type 'run' in the command box." Indeed, typing 'run' is the only way to proceed from that point.

Nova Heart uses (what seems to me to be) a purpose-built javascript engine, and is played using a web browser (NB: the accompanying music doesn't seem to play unless the game is played online). This engine allows the game to use both a text parser and mouse-based interaction. This would seem to allow for some very interesting modes of interaction, and the game does have a fairly nice bit where the PC is editing a news story, but that's the high point.

The interactivity in Nova Heart is, for the most part, false. In the situation I described above, only typing 'run' allows the game to proceed, and no other command has any effect. This is generally true: at each moment, if any command is possible, only one command is possible. Nova Heart does not simulate a world; it just uses customized 'continue' commands. There are a couple of times in the game when the player may input a command sooner or later to get slightly different text, but the only real choice in the game is at the very end. There are, I think, six possible endings, though each is only a few paragraphs of text.

I think I'd like to play a game that has something of the style of Nova Heart, but more developed. Nova Heart is interesting as an experiment, but I wouldn't generally recommend it as a game.

If you enjoyed Nova Heart or Donít Be Standing Around While the Earth Dies Screaming, or: Who Is To Blame When the Owls Leave Candy Jail?...

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This is version 2 of this page, edited by LostKitten on 19 May 2014 at 11:19am. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item