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Life on Beal Street

by Ian Finley

Romance/Slice of life
1999

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A short TADS game with some paragraph-size text substitutions, July 30, 2016
This game was a CYOA-experiment in 1999's IFComp. You simply choose whether to advance the story or end the game.

You can only advance the story 4-5 times before it ends.

The writing is well-done, although (probably purposely) overblown. The interactivity comes from the fact that each advancing paragraph has a number of variations. If you wish, you can cycle through these variations by typing 'No'.

This was an interesting experiment by Ian Finley, author of many experiments, such as Exhibition, where you just examine paintings.

- Artran (Prague, Czech Republic), August 30, 2013

- deathbytroggles (Minneapolis, MN), January 29, 2012

- Nathanial, May 27, 2011

- Stickz (Atlanta, Georgia), December 14, 2010

>VERBOSE -- Paul O'Brian's Interactive Fiction Page

It isn't, in any meaningful sense, interactive fiction. Yes, the author works hard to emphasize that the choice between continuing to walk the street and turning back is a real one, just like those we make in everyday life. This is true enough in itself, but as a claim for interactivity, it's a crock. What it amounts to, more or less, is a choice between reading the next paragraph and quitting the game. These limited options make Life on Beal Street no more interactive than a book. There is one more possibility, which is the opportunity to say "no" to a chosen paragraph and have the computer spit out a new one, but that turns to be the equivalent of continuing to draw paragraphs from a hat until you realize that the hat is empty. Thus, in the final analysis the appeal of Life on Beal Street is quite fleeting. There's a wonderful sense of openness and excitement in the first few plays, one which quickly contracts as paragraphs start to repeat, and finally shuts down entirely as you search through the whole thing brute-force to find any text you haven't yet seen. Once you've done this, the game becomes just an interesting novelty whose possibilities have been exhausted.

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- Stephen Bond (Leuven, Belgium), October 26, 2007

Baf's Guide


More CYOA than IF, and there's not even much C-ing to do. You're walking along a street thinking about your relationship with your lover, and you get a series of choices--1 to go forward, 2 to go back. The author has admitted that he wrote it as a joke of sorts, and it shows--the writing is ludicrously overdone.

-- Duncan Stevens

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