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Gun Mute

by C.E.J. Pacian profile

Western
2008

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Reviews and Ratings

5 star:
(30)
4 star:
(55)
3 star:
(24)
2 star:
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Average Rating:
Number of Ratings: 112
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- ArchDelacy, September 19, 2017

- sushabye, September 2, 2017

- AuntBeast (USA), July 31, 2017

- Laney Berry, June 12, 2017

A linear, thrilling parser game about a futuristic cowboy , May 9, 2017

by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 1 hour
In this game, you face a series of combat challenges, one after another.

Each challenge is in one location, and you use a variety of methods to attack your opponents.

Before Superluminal Vagrant Twin, this was probably Pacian's best known game. It has some violent and suggestive elements. It features a romance and several friendships, often with the people you are battling. The setting is rich and evocative.

- ikdc, February 6, 2017

- Denk, December 9, 2016

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Short and sweet, with more than meets the eye, November 25, 2016
by TLeather (London, UK)
Gun Mute bills itself as an “Interactive Fiction shoot-em-up”. It’s a novel premise that sounds like a contradiction in terms, but works surprisingly well. The game makes use of its turn-based parser to give the player a limited number of moves, simulating the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it speed of a Wild West quick draw.

The game’s puzzles consist mainly of a series of shootouts, each requiring a slightly different approach. They aren’t the most innovative or difficult puzzles, but they’re fair and just tricky enough to be satisfying. In fact, I often recommend Gun Mute as a good parser-based game for beginners to IF for precisely this reason.

The setting is also consistent and just original enough to be intriguing – think Wasteland with more robots – and the game is well written throughout.

So far, so good, but what really makes Gun Mute an important game is this: (Spoiler - click to show)it has a gay protagonist, it depicts a gay relationship, and it asks the player to make it their duty to protect this relationship. Most importantly, it does all of this without the least bit of fuss, with no explicit explanation that the protagonist is gay or that he’s trying to save his boyfriend; until the ‘reveal’ at the end of the game, most players are likely to assume that they’re rescuing a friend, family member, or comrade in arms. The games industry typically gives little airtime to queer characters, and while the IF community is far better in this regard, it’s still rare to see a game that unapologetically includes a queer character without drawing attention to it or making it a central plot point. Gun Mute would work just as well with a straight protagonist (in fact, most of the game wouldn’t need to be changed at all), and that’s why it’s so subtly powerful as a queer-positive game: it says “I’m a gay game, and I don’t feel the need to defend myself.”

At the same time, we have to assume that Gun Mute knows what it’s doing: by saving the reveal that the protagonist is gay until the very end, it gives players time to identify and empathise with him before they learn this piece of information that is both trivial and crucial. Players who might otherwise have felt alienated from the protagonist and his plight because of his sexuality are instead fully invested in them, and only after becoming so must they face the tension between their identification with his quest and their discomfort with his sexuality.

Even if we take out the gay reveal, Gun Mute is still a tersely designed game with accessible but fun puzzles and good writing. In short, it’s a success even when considered without the context of the games industry and its typical (non)treatment of queer themes, but viewing it through that lens elevates it considerably. It's a short and sweet game with a nonchalance that belies its real significance.


- Space Cowboy, May 8, 2016

- E.K., April 12, 2016

- gatebuildr, April 3, 2016

- jakomo, March 30, 2016

- CMG (NYC), March 24, 2016

- Lanternpaw, March 10, 2016

- Shirm, March 10, 2016

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

- branewurms, December 31, 2015

- Oreolek (Kemerovo, Russia), November 26, 2015

- Ivanr, August 24, 2015

- Khalisar (Italy), July 24, 2015

- Indigo9182, June 4, 2015

- Adam Biltcliffe (Cambridge, UK), May 10, 2015

- Floating Info, April 23, 2015

- dosgamer, April 20, 2015

A Textual Rail Shooter, March 15, 2015

by Matt W (San Diego, CA)
A rail shooter implemented in text; makes you wonder where there isn't more effort to take graphical game tropes and remake them as text (c.f., e.g. Kerkerkruip.) Pacian seems to have decided on a limited list of verbs and actions, then created a puzzle using every possible permutation. This could potentially have been a tedious string of rooms, except that the concept is wholly novel and the writing is very strong. The game doesn't outstay its welcome, and has a visceral and satisfying feel.


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