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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:I played Out, and it wasn't played-out., November 20, 2019
by Andrew Schultz (Chicago)Out would have been good to see even if it hadn't been written by someone who'd been reviewing for so long and who had definitely earned their spurs to enter IFComp. The title threw me off at first, because while coming out is an important and personal act, it may be overdone in the community. This game is breezy and short and yet still covers a lot of original ground. I appreciated the lack of angst here, and I also enjoyed that the narrator's specific trait wasn't mentioned.
It allowed me to have a humorous perspective on a coming out of my own that went poorly: my family moved from a state-school university town to the city to near a private university, and my parents were a bit upset I liked that old university's sports teams, because I should prefer the smart kids to do well. And the state school wasn't particularly good at football, so I heard it from fans of much better teams. But liking the state school was just who I was, and the process of identifying as a fan still opens new perspectives.
That's probably a much more strained metaphor than the game, but I like that the game can feel <spoilers>universal while you slowly, um, explore the whole universe. Exploring the world of fandom, and how people deal with the absurdities of hoping one group of people they never met outperforms the second, has revealed something entirely different from more literary communities I like to hang around.
It's tough to have this minimalism mean a lot. And so I like what Out did, or what it did for me. This game didn't take long to play, and then I took longer to think on it than it took to play it, and the time was well spent in any case. Maybe Out will remind you of how you had the courage to be (or couldn't help being) different in a way that wasn't particularly dramatic or practical, and people wondered if you HAD to be that way, but it opened new doors.
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calindreams, November 24, 2019 - Reply
Agree, it was nice that the prose allowed you to fill in your own ideas in the early part. Although I don't understand how coming out is overdone in the IF community.
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Andrew Schultz, December 10, 2019 - Reply
Hm. I may've used waffle words there.
Well, I think it's something important to address, and there are ways to address it. I think it's a good issue to grapple with, especially for new writers. But after a while, it loses some originality and we can say oh, I've seen that before.
"There may be too many games about coming out" is clearly secondary to how people are much more accepting of coming out, though.
The closest parallel I can think of is if you hear one too many remixes or covers of your favorite song, even by artists you like. It's still a great song, and it's your favorite, but you're ready to take a chance on something new.