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-- Carl Muckenhoupt
Persistence of Memory does, I think, what it was trying to do: it's a short piece of IF set in wartime that raises complex questions of a soldier's personal responsibility and the needless loss wrought by war. It does all that reasonably well, enough so to merit a 7; it doesn't, unfortunately, work quite as well as a game.
-- Duncan Stevens a.k.a. Second April
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>VERBOSE -- Paul O'Brian's Interactive Fiction Page
In incident after incident, the scope of action contracts until it becomes clear that there is only one action which will lead to your survival. Sometimes these actions are rather horrifying, but the game demands them if you wish to finish. I have mixed feelings about this kind of forcible plotting. On the one hand, it makes for an extremely linear game, and it curtails interactivity quite dramatically. This obstruction seems to fly in the face of the conventional wisdom about IF -- it violates one of the Players' Rights in Graham Nelson's Craft of Adventure: "To have reasonable freedom of action." In Nelson's words, "After a while the player begins to feel that the designer has tied him to a chair in order to shout the plot at him." On the other hand, I also think that interactive fiction can be a very good medium for conveying a sense of futility or entrapment. Because IF by its nature seems to require at least to a certain degree freedom of movement and action, and because it also creates a sense of immersion in the story's world, when a piece of IF chooses to violate that perceived requirement the player's sense of identification with the trapped character can be very strong indeed. Something about the frustration of having so few actions available to me which would not result in death made the equation of my situation with the character's feel more intense than it would have were I just reading a story about this character.
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This is a meaningful and interesting game. You are in a war, which I interpreted as Vietnam or Korea, but could be many wars.
You suddenly find your options severely curtailed by an unexpected event. And you have to watch, helpless, as events around you unfold. You eventually can influence things, but this isn't necessarily a plus.
I loved the emotion and feeling in this game. The only drawback was the interaction; I frequently had no clue what to do.
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