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Dynamic fiction with strong, spare writing, March 11, 2019
by SpikePolish the Glass is a medium-length choice-based game with an unusual story. The PCís mother canít stop herself from (Spoiler - click to show)polishing the glass in the Bar (itís always capitalized) down the street. This leads to a breakdown in the PC's parentsí relationship and eventually the dissolution of their marriage. However, as the PC grows up, she eventually takes a job working at the Bar, just like her mum. She finds herself drawn to the Bar, continuing to polish the glass, and slowly cutting herself off from relationships with other people, again like her mum.
There arenít too many choices in the game. The vast majority of your clicks are to advance the text a sentence or three. At first I didnít care much for that, but the more I read of Polish the Glass the more I came to appreciate this mechanic: It forced me to slow down and actually read every sentence. I couldnít as easily skim the text and only carefully read the parts just before my next choice. So, even though I didnít have many choices, the story actually did feel interactive to me - and more so than some other choice-based games Iíve played that also give you few choices but have much larger chunks of text between successive clicks.
The writing is good. Itís spare in a way that works with having to click to advance the text every couple of sentences.
I feel like the events in the game are a metaphor for something, but I canít decide what. Here are some ideas Iíve had: (Spoiler - click to show)Alcohol addiction. Addiction in general. Aging and death. Depression. Perfectionism. Giving yourself too much to other people and having that suck the life out of you.
It might also just be a story, with nothing particularly metaphorical about it. I think itís fair to say, though, that I feel like I didnít really ďgetĒ Polish the Glass. For some works youíre on the authorís wavelength, and for some youíre not. Or perhaps dynamic fiction is just not my thing.
Again, though, I thought the writing was strong, and if you like dynamic fiction you may very well appreciate Polish the Glass.
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