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First Draft of the Revolution

by Emily Short profile, Liza Daly profile, and inkle

Episode 3 of Lavori d'Aracne
Fantasy
2012

Web Site

About the Story

It is dangerous to deceive a husband of magic-using rank...

Juliette has been banished for the summer to a village above Grenoble: a few Alpine houses, a deep lake, blue sky, and no society.

Now she writes daily to her husband. She tells how she went for a walk and ended thigh-deep in mud, how the draft comes in around the window, how extravagantly she has spent on new gloves, how she misses Paris.

She plans her letters on ordinary pages, but when they are ready, she copies them on paper whose enchanted double is hundreds of miles off. The words form themselves on the matching sheaf in her husband's study. No time is wasted on couriers.

First Draft of the Revolution is a puzzleless interactive epistolary story, in which the reader interacts by revising the letters exchanged by the characters.

Game Details

Language: English (en)
First Publication Date: September 24, 2012
Current Version: 1
License: free
Development System: Custom
Forgiveness Rating: Merciful
IFID: Unknown
TUID: yit71oog68ty9m62

Off-Site Reviews

Kotaku
Write (And Re-Write) Letters Of Intrigue In This Fantastic Free Game
First Draft of the Revolution is a marvel—an exploration of the space between the mind and the page the likes of which I've never experienced. Go play it!
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narF voit le monde dans des lunettes hexagonales
Roman épistolaire interactif: First Draft of the Revolution
Chacun des personnages a une manière différente d'écrire et une manière différente de penser. On s'en rend compte lorsque le jeu nous propose de modifier certains passages ou d'effacer certaines phrases. Par exemple, Juliette commence souvent par écrire un brouillon où elle est fâchée contre son mari, puis le modifie petit à petit pour le rendre plus poli et masquer sa colère.
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Rock Paper Shotgun
Magical epistolary intrigues
First Draft of the Revolution is an entire game based around valuing the reader-player’s aesthetic sensibilities, another triumph of Emily Short’s genius for narrative mechanics.
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PC World
First Draft of the Revolution is an odd game because rather than entering text in this adventure, you’re editing it.
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>TILT AT WINDMILLS
Rather than control the main character or choose between branches of story, here the reader's agency concerns how the characters choose to express themselves through their writing. The process of revision and the many small and large decisions (about how much detail to include, whether a certain phrasing goes too far or not far enough, what tone a sentence should take, and so on) reveal a deeper layer of the characters than is found purely in the text of the letters themselves. It's a unique mechanic and a refreshing take on interactive text. The production of the app by Liza Daly is also beautiful and well-polished.
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Haruspex Games
Mechanic of the Year
It’s at moments like these that the strength of the mechanic really hits home, both as a way of furthering narrative, and as a way of exploring characters, relationships, and societal pressures in intelligent, affecting ways. I’d love to see Emily Short, or someone else if need be, take this mechanic and run with it, because my god does it have legs as a storytelling form.
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XYZZY Awards blog
Reviews of Best Story Nominees (Deirdra Kiai)
There are hints that this family is eventually going to fall from grace, which feels oddly satisfying to me; I’ve always had more sympathy for the underdog team, and I guess that holds even if I haven’t technically been on said team. The fact that we can’t change this outcome feels significant. People in power fall, and new people come to take their place, and so it goes on and on forever. Eventually, we might hope for some sort of equilibrium, but as I’ve said, we’re far from there yet.
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XYZZY Awards blog
Reviews of Best Story Nominees (Emma Joyce)
It’s not all that common to see alternate-universe or secondary-world fantasy stories that deal primarily with small-scale personal dramas. Plots centered around awoman dealing with a troubled marriage and learning to stand up for herself are not very often found in worlds that also have tensions between magic-using aristocrats and generally non-magical commoners about to erupt into revolution. First Draft, however, combines these elements very deftly.
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Page Update History

  v.16: 09-Feb-2018 17:23 - Stigg (Current Version) - Edit Page - Normal View
Changed download links
v.15: 09-Feb-2018 17:19 - Stigg
Changed download links
v.14: 21-Nov-2017 16:38 - CMG
Changed author
v.13: 20-Jun-2013 16:08 - Emily Short
Changed external review links
v.12: 15-Jun-2013 21:14 - Emily Short
Changed external review links
v.11: 15-May-2013 11:00 - Emily Short
Changed external review links
v.10: 06-Jan-2013 12:47 - Emily Short
Changed external review links
v.9: 05-Oct-2012 17:56 - Emily Short
Changed external review links
v.8: 30-Sep-2012 12:27 - Porpentine
Changed external review links
v.7: 30-Sep-2012 12:26 - Porpentine
Changed external review links
v.6: 25-Sep-2012 16:58 - Emily Short
Changed external review links
v.5: 24-Sep-2012 18:00 - Emily Short
Changed download links
v.4: 24-Sep-2012 17:27 - Emily Short
Changed external review links
v.3: 24-Sep-2012 10:39 - Emily Short
Changed description
v.2: 24-Sep-2012 10:37 - Emily Short
Changed author
v.1: 24-Sep-2012 10:37 - Emily Short
Created page