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Shade

by Andrew Plotkin profile

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Number of Reviews: 34
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Innovative creative writing experiment. Boring interactive fiction., August 23, 2019
This isn't anything you haven't read in a college student's creative writing workshop. Or a no budget student film. The game itself is considered innovative. But there really isn't much to talk about. In general I'm not a fan of this kind of game. It leaves me going, "Huh. Okay." The author himself admits that he rushed to get it to a competition.

Often showing up in top 20 game lists. Frankly, I believe this is due to accessibility, and little to do with the quality of the title. Yes, you don't have to bang your head against this one for long to beat it, but are you left feeling fulfilled? I wasn't. Still, there isn't anything objectively bad about the title. Even if I consider it overrated. It's just not to my taste.

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A one room vignette, September 1, 2018
by f-a
As other reviewers stated, very difficult to talk about this game without spoiling anything. I will say it is an interesting experiment, puzzles were mostly boring/uninteresting and drags a bit too long for my taste.

Play it with ~1h to kill and an open mind. If you get stuck, just read a transcript.

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Very good game. Clever!, March 14, 2018
Don't want to spoil anything, but don't let the "one room" keep you from playing this charming game. Puzzles were great, imagery was spot on.

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Unusual with a compelling, well-paced narrative, March 14, 2018
When it said one room, my expectations weren't high; they were surpassed in spades. I loved almost everything about this. The descriptions were great with some subtle humour thrown in, without being tiringly verbose. Most things gave a response, and generally a very good one, (though there were a few situations where half a dozen things are mentioned and weren't understood - could easily be tightened up, but didn't detract).
The problems aren't challenging and normally that would put me off but the unusual nature of this game and the beautiful, well paced unfolding of the narrative was compelling so that, as with all well-crafted fiction, I couldn't put it down.
I would reccommend spending a pleasant hour or two with an ice-cold beer/water, feet up on the sofa, music/radio playing gently in the background and lose yourself in this great little adventure!
I certainly did.

The logic of Death, September 28, 2016
by Form 27b-6 (Southern California)
The true merit of Shade is that it poses the question of free will and fate through interactive fiction. The game (experience?) gives a semblance of freedom to the player. However, as the character explores his room and his grasp on reality weakens, and as he ultimately fails to escape his ordeal (or is the tragedy already behind us?), the player can't quite derail the scripted structure of the game. And thus Andrew Plotkin bonds the player and the character through constraint rather than freedom, which in itself is a bold and original proposition.

The result can be somewhat frustrating, but also conveys the stressful and helpless nature of the situation. However, Andrew Plotkin was clever enough to alleviate the tedious trial and error pattern common to these types of games, by offering some tools to the player. I particularly liked his use of the (Spoiler - click to show)To-do List, to guide the reader through the sequence of events.

Overall, I think Shade is a truly accomplished work, both from literary and technical standpoints. It's definitely morbid, but also very atmospheric and poignant, and the author doesn't lose focus on his main themes throughout the entire game. Players hoping for rewarding puzzles should look elsewhere though, as Shade doesn't offer any meaningful challenge. I was able to complete my first play through without hints within an hour or so. It makes Shade a really good introduction to IF, especially for people interested in the less "gamey" fringe of the medium. This was my first contact with the work of Andrew Plotkin, and it made me crave for more.

0 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
Who reads reviews of Andrew Plotkin games?, July 17, 2016
Seriously, who does that? Of course the game is going to be freaking amazing, it is Andrew Plotkin. Just download it and play it already.

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Eerie and Powerful, May 1, 2016
by Rollersnake (Rogers, AR)
"It's like an interactive episode of The Twilight Zone" is a line that probably doesn't do Shade justice, but it's something I always say when I'm recommending it to anyone—it's about TV episode-length, really grippingly weird as you're playing it, and something you'll still be thinking about years later. Shade is always the first game I bring up whenever I'm introducing someone to IF, and it's one of my favorite pieces of weird fiction—in any medium.

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
very cool, April 7, 2016
nothing like simulated mental deterioration...once everything clicked into place (Spoiler - click to show) the radio! it kinda blew my mind. moral of the story: (Spoiler - click to show) don't do drugs in the desert.

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
One of the few games to truly frighten me (because I thought it wouldn't), February 3, 2016
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 15-30 minutes
Shade is a surreal game. It is an almost one-room game, where you are trying to leave your apartment, but encounter more and more difficulties.

Shade is one of the most well-written short horror games available on IFDB, and has been sold as an iOS game.

There were two points in the game that I wasn't expecting and deeply unsettled me. I won't list them here. Unfortunately, this whole review is a bit pointless, as nothing is scary if you are told it is scary. The scariest story I ever read was NES Godzilla, and it was only scary because it was such a ridiculously stupid story that when it actually got scary, it surprised me. On the other hand, I was told The Lurking Horror was one of the scariest games of all time, so when I actually played it, I was pretty disappointed.

So your best bet is to forget this and the other few reviews, wait a few months, think, "Oh, what game is this?" and then play it.

Most of the game, including the ending, was not that scary. Just a few moments stuck out for me, but they were big moments.

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Uniquely Casual, August 26, 2015
by RusticSage (Rancho Cucamonga, CA)
Related reviews: Surreal, fantasy, psychological
To qualify my review, I'd like to first say that this is the first IA/text adventure game I've played in a number of years, so my experience is not necessarily indicative of regular readers. That being said, I think it may provide its own insights into the title.

This game was very surreal, and without going into too much detail, the conclusions you draw from the game, once finished, are ultimately quite abstract in character. What I particularly enjoyed about this game, despite not necessarily being all that blood-pumping of a title, is the deeply tactile and atmospheric quality of the story. Along with it's atmospheric quality, the nature of the environment you are put in is quite small, albeit requiring lots of searching to make sense of.

For these reasons and more, I think it is an ideal title for a new beginner to interactive fiction, but also well-suited as a palette cleanser or reprieve from more complex adventures. Though I would have wished for a more concrete narrative, and ambiguity of the story, when coupled with its aesthetic, is by no means a thematic platitude.

I will definitely recommend this to friends who might enjoy IF/TA, and I look forward to reading more of Andrew Plotkin's work.


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