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Reviews by verityvirtue

ECTOCOMP 2016

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View this member's reviews by tag: 2018 choleric ECTOCOMP ECTOCOMP 2016 IFComp 2015 IFComp 2016 IFComp 2017 Introcomp Ludum Dare melancholic melancholic phlegmatic melancholy parser phlegmatic Ren'Py sanguine Spring Thing 2015 Spring Thing 2016 sub-Q Tiny Utopias
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What to Do When You're Alone, by Glass Rat Media
It knows what you're thinking, December 11, 2016
by verityvirtue (London)
Related reviews: phlegmatic, ECTOCOMP, ECTOCOMP 2016
[May mention suicide, abusive relationships, self-loathing. Time to completion: 5 minutes]

What to Do describes a Google with sinister intentions - one which sees through the user's seemingly innocuous searches to the doubt and fears behind it. Perhaps it is the intimacy of a search engine that fuels this idea, and the fact that we might address the search engine as we would a friend, and indeed, in the starting screen, the engine introduced itself by saying, "Don't worry about keywords; just talk to us like we're a friend.". It's the ultimate natural language processor, isn't it? These games ask, "What if your ultimate reference, your personal librarian, was thinking, remembering, learning?"

While it may be superficially and mechanically similar to Josh Giesbrecht's Awake, the intent of this game's search engine is unambiguous. Awake's search engine is wide-eyed with wonder. This is actively malicious - this was written for ECTOCOMP, after all.

The text effects are normally much maligned, but are used especially thoughtfully here, making What to Do work well as an interactive vignette of a sinister encounter.


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