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The One That Got Away

by Leon Lin

Slice of life
1995

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Number of Reviews: 4
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful:
Charming and uneven, April 9, 2009
by madducks (Indianapolis, Indiana)
Related reviews: IF Comp 1995
"The One That Got Away" by Leon Lin, third place winner of the TADS division of the first annual IFcomp, is a quirky little game. What seems to start as an extremely naturalistic fishing simulator turns out to contain an exaggerated love story with a large number of unbelievable elements. The game never takes itself too seriously, but a lot of the humorous elements just seemed a little too gonzo for the relatively restrained tone of a fishing game (such as when I fished a VAX out of the lake). The few puzzles present seem mere tokens, as if they are just expected for the medium, and are so obvious they almost do not count. The game does keep a score, but makes no point of announcing acquired points as they are gained and the end just unceremoniously lists the points without giving rank to the accomplishment. I wonder if there just was not enough precedent in 1995 for a puzzleless, slice-of-life story game. It is worth noting that Andrew Plotkin’s “A Change in the Weather” was an entrant in the same year’s competition. The writing is mostly competent, with some mistakes, and some out-right confusing lines, such as:

The only sign of the hand of man [...]
The line starts like a race horse threatened with milk wagon.
This world-famous fishing hole is this state's best kept secret.

But I do not mean to imply that the game is bad. For a subject of which I have absolutely no interest, I found it charming, well-implemented, and an extremely short diversion (replaying with no extraneous moves, I completed the game in 24 turns). Modern players may find it a bit shallow and dated, but I found that “The One” was very playable for its age and recommend at least trying it if you are looking for a short diversion.