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Linear Love

by Tom Delanoy

Romance
2018

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Number of Reviews: 3
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
The boundaries of a work, July 17, 2019
by Victor Gijsbers (The Netherlands)
I have little interest in policing the boundaries of IF. Yet I'm willing to state that Linear Love should not have been entered into the interactive fiction competition, since it is not interactive by any reasonable standards. The piece is simply a short story about a guy(?) who falls in love with a French girl until their very happiness weakens the attraction. The text is presented in a rather unusual way: rather than scrolling down to read more, in this particular piece you have to scroll up. (You can also scroll sideways indefinitely, but this serves no purpose.) The difference between scrolling up and scrolling down surely does not map onto the difference between traditional and interactive fiction.

However, there was one, perhaps unintended aspect of the piece that actually made reading it an interesting experience to me. If you right-click and press “Escape”, you are suddenly in an environment where you can select different portals to different stories. I quickly got stuck in the steel door of a Panopticon, unable to move any way. This wasn’t particularly entertaining, unless one interprets it as a parable about getting through the prose of Foucault. (For the record, I like Foucault. I just don’t always like his prose.) But what interested me was that I wasn't entirely sure where the boundaries of Linear Love lay. Was it just the original story, and was using the escape option a way of leaving the work and entering other works? Or was it all one whole, an entire universe of stories hidden behind the tale of linear love? It made me realise that the IF community still has a relatively traditional conception of a work, even though digital environments allow for much more vagueness and flexibility.