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Night Guard / Morning Star

by Astrid Dalmady


Web Site

(based on 12 ratings)
3 member reviews

About the Story

My mother made a deal.

So here I am, working the night shift, alone with her work.

Game Details

Language: English (en)
First Publication Date: October 1, 2019
Current Version: Unknown
Development System: Twine
IFID: D674C58C-DEFA-4F70-B7A2-27742230C0FC
TUID: h6jpja7b22x6bvk5


7th Place - 25th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2019)


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Number of Reviews: 3
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Slices of life from different pies you have to eat together, December 3, 2019
by deathbytroggles (Minneapolis, MN)
A beautiful Twine game by veteran Astrid Dalmady, this nevertheless left me a bit cold. Itís funny how an art exhibition is practically an IF trope, and it was ripe for the Twine treatment. And while the use of medium is top notch, my feelings are mixed on the story. The prose is certainly evocative, though a bit melodramatic for my tastes and to the point where I find myself not sympathizing with our protagonist.

I quite enjoyed the first ending I came across where (Spoiler - click to show)Leonara becomes the artist, enough to try the game again. However, each ending I came across was less satisfying and made the story feel broken (I mean, really, (Spoiler - click to show)killing my mom is an option?). I enjoy multiple endings in a comedy or adventure game; but in a serious dramatic piece, I say tell the story you want to tell. Being able to change the PCís morals on a whim feels gross when the stakes are this high.

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A mother/daughter relationship told through paintings and pain, October 4, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 15-30 minutes
I'll admit, I'm a big Astrid Dalmady fan. From her earliest games like You Are Standing at a Crossroads, I've found her writing comforting and cathartic.

So this game, I ate it up. It's not big on traditional interactivity. You just explore everything, then move on to the next step (on the surface, at least. In truth, the game tracks state and has many endings, but it doesn't appear like it).

What I like about it is the story. The label I'd like to apply is 'magical realism', although that's a subject I'm not an expert in, so I might be using it wrong. A day to day story with fantastic elements brought in that are treated matter-of-factly, for the most part.

What happens is you are the night guard for your mother's paintings, and (Spoiler - click to show)they begin to come to life. You must gather items for a ritual to summon back a lost painting.

You have options. Some choices cause you pain, and others cause you sadness. There are many endings.

Overall, I found it almost like a cleansing for the mind. The deep discussion of the mother-daughter relationship helped me think about my own relationships, and the ritualistic structure was like a form of meditation.

A very solid effort, November 19, 2019
I love classic surrealist painting. Women surrealist painters (other than Kahlo) donít get the credit they deserve: introductory books, or articles, or classes seldom mention artists like Leonor Fini, Dorothea Tanning, Remedios Varo, Leonora Carrington, Kay Sage. I love them, more than most of their male peers (certainly more than damn Avida Dollars).

Describing paintings of that kind in text is quite difficult. The intensity of the imagesí presence is impossible to transmit. Sometimes, however, a hint of the pictureís imagination can be suggested. I would surely like to take a look at most of the paintings in Night guard/Morning Star.

Let this detail be a significant example of how well this game is written.

The other vital thing that the game does very well is something that was very well done in Cactus Blue Motel: giving the player a lot of freedom through movement and exploration, and at the same time make it dramatically relevant. Exploration that is not about reading room descriptions but about choosing nightmares.

I have only one problem with this story. Iíve tried getting different endings and, while they are quite different, Iím not really sure where the forking points are, or the connection between the decision taken and the ending itself.

The game, finally, is very well designed, readable and beautiful.

An excellent story!

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The following polls include votes for Night Guard / Morning Star:

For your consideration: XYZZY-eligible Best Individual PCs of 2019 by MathBrush
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This is version 2 of this page, edited by dastridly on 18 November 2019 at 1:29pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item