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Winner, Best Setting; Nominee, Best NPCs; Winner, Best Individual NPC - 1996 XYZZY Awards
-- Carl Muckenhoupt
What really makes this game is the way that everything is so neatly tied together. It all makes a bizarre sort of sense, and responses are almost always appropriate. My favourite game of the competition.
-- John Wood
After my getting about 18% of the point, plot advancement abruptly ground to a screeching halt
-- C.E. Forman
What's interesting about Small World is that it doesn't appear to take itself seriously, and yet the conflicts on the world you inhabit are rendered as actual conflicts rather than as humor.
-- Duncan Stevens
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Good idea for a game, you're trapped on an eight foot diameter world. [...] Things quickly start to get confusing. This is soon followed by things getting progressively more confusing, and that rapidly leads to banging your head against a wall stage!
-- Graham Raven
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It's the sort of game to savour, and wander through slowly. There are only 16 locations in Small World, but it's a far bigger game than one suspects. This is due to the many different actions available to you, and the intricacy of many puzzles. The main fascination of the game though lies in its brilliantly original storyline, and the strong ideas behind it.
-- Bev Truter
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Number of Reviews: 3
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In Small World, you play a fat boy getting ready for a hiking trip:
You hear the bus horn beeping as you, with misgivings, cram the last few items into your backpack, close it, and shoulder it on. It's Saturday, time for the first trip of the Junior Hikers your parents forced you to join. Short, chubby, and extremely shy, you've kept to yourself since your beloved, if eccentric, great-aunt died over the winter. As is your wont, before leaving, you spin the globe she gave you for your tenth birthday.
But it's stuck.
What happens next is great fun: you suddenly shrink, smaller and smaller, until you are in the globe, but a giant. You go from being a little fat boy to a big skinny boy! And in this small world you meet St. Peter, the Devil, Adam and Eve, and little green Martians, in an homage Gulliver's Travels. You job is to fix all the screwed up things in this little world and to get the globe spinning again. And in so doing, you regain your self-confidence and no longer fear a simple hiking trip. Pretty neat!
So, here's where I think the game could have done better: give us more of the set-up. Let us play as a fat, shy kid for a little bit. It doesn't have to be much, but we could roam the house a bit, play with our globe some. Maybe the globe actually got stuck because someone else messed with it, someone who intimidates us. If we had a little more time with the kid, we'd get a better feel for his character and this transformative adventure of his would have more meaning for us. This would make the end more meaningful and triumphant, I think. The basic frame is already in place, and all we as player-readers need is something more concrete, more showing, to really hook us in.
The writing in the game is already wonderful. Small World won the 1996 Xyzzy award for Best Setting (which I think it probably deserved) and Best NPC (probably for the Devil; he's hilarious), but to be honest I think it should have also been nominated for Best Writing. So Far won that one, and Tapestry was also nominated. But you know, Small World is solidly written. It isn't "beautiful," but the writing is solid and clear and Pontious maintains a consistent voice which fits the game perfectly. It's light and humorous and conveys a tone appropriate to the setting. I think it is at least as well-written as So Far.
I think this is a great little game, with very few flaws. It probably isn't the best game if you want very challenging, mind-bending puzzles. It would be suitable for children and people looking for a nice little adventure. Honestly, it has a bit of a Katamari Damacy vibe to it. Play it!
(reposted from my blog--totally surprised that this award-winning game had no reviews and few ratings.)
A very cute mid-length game set on a tiny world with 10 portions, February 3, 2016
The game is packed with tiny details, and a blending of big and small. The writing is plain but descriptive.
The puzzles are a mixed bag. It's mostly "guess the author's brain", which is easy to do some of the time and hard other times. The world is so small that you can just try everything on everyone and it will work out.
This game was nominated for many XYZZY's, and won best setting.
Neat premise and good game for kids, May 29, 2013
I enjoyed the various environments, the different civilizations through history in each place. This time around, I was able to catch the Star Wars references. They are blatant but made me smile. The only thing I really didn't like about the game was a tiny nitpick about (Spoiler - click to show)lizardskin shoes. But that is just a personal blip to an otherwise excellent game that has a nice ending and a somewhat wacky feel. This game deserves more attention.
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"The sun has gone. It must be brought. You have a rock." [--blurb from Competition '99]
Recommended ListsSmall World appears in the following Recommended Lists:
Best fantasy games by MathBrush
These are my favorite games that include some sort of magical or fantastical element. Games with mostly horror or sci-fi elements are on other lists, as are surreal games, fairy tale/nursery games, and religious/mythological games. I've...
PollsThe following polls include votes for Small World:
forgotten gems by Marius Müller
I'm looking for games that don't show up in the IF histories or recommended lists, for what reason whatsover. Old games that maybe weren't boundary-pushing or noteworthy, but still give you a fun play experience. If you ever thought...
This is version 3 of this page, edited by Edward Lacey on 22 March 2013 at 4:13pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item