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Shade

by Andrew Plotkin profile

Travel
2000

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Member Reviews

5 star:
(108)
4 star:
(150)
3 star:
(65)
2 star:
(17)
1 star:
(11)
Average Rating:
Number of Reviews: 34
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
I would give this a 3.5 star rating , October 24, 2009
by maxporter (Philly)
Shade is gripping, creepy, and creative.

However, it gets repetitive after a while. To an extent, this helps build up the suspenseful environment because the actions that you performed a few turns ago don't work anymore. Everything goes more and more wrong... but I feel like the game could have been trimmed down a little in this respect.

I also found that the ending was a little bit anti-climatic. It was almost like the author was trying too hard to be profound and it ultimately became meaningless.

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Dark and haunting, November 1, 2008
by WriterBob (Richmond Hill, Ontario)
Shade exemplifies the best aspects of Interactive Fiction. Shade was written in Inform without relying on any graphics or sound effects. Released in 2000, this game demonstrates the true potential of what IF can be. IF is more than tedious mazes and guessing verbs. IF is about exploring ideas and delivering experiences that cannot be presented in any other medium.

Take a look at other media for story telling. Shade could have been written as a traditional short story. However, it would not nearly have the impact that it has when it's an experience you personally participate in. What about a graphical adventure? Hunting around pointing and clicking on items in an attempt to trigger the next stage wouldn't deliver the same understanding. Without the written word, Shade as a graphical adventure would be meaningless. It is the prose and the interaction that makes IF a truly unique form for delivering profound experiences.

Shade delivers. It is the subtle dawning awareness that comes with the unfolding experience that has the biggest impact in this tale.

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful:
Competent and innovative, but not great, June 8, 2008
by Beekeeper
Related reviews: technique, plot
This short, stylized and evocative "in your apartment" game is carried by technical merit and an effective surprise turn in the plot(Spoiler - click to show) -- a bizarre and horrifying disintegration of reality which reminded me of Philip K. Dick's oeuvre (e.g. Ubik, Electric Ant).

Shade is, however, marred by a few superficial defects. Being constrained to the apartment and an inexorably linear plot contributes to the game's feeling of airless claustrophobia, making it easy to excuse its minimal setting and choices. Gameplay generally flows well and is polite to the player; I only got stuck a few times, briefly, and never irreparably. But when I did get stuck, advancing the plot was often tedious, requiring systematic sweeps of the apartment to find the next trigger. For me, this compromised the effectiveness of the work by slowing the pace and focusing my attention on the manipulation of the parser.

I also felt that Shade would have been more effective and satisfying if the surreal plot, and particularly the ending, had sustained explanation more clearly than it did. As it stood, the events seemed arbitrary most of the way through, and I came away feeling that a lot of technical ability and conceptual cleverness had been deployed for no very compelling narrative purpose.

For me, the game's principal virtue was to demonstrate innovative tricks in the medium. But I think it is likely that readers' tastes will differ. Fans of mind games and psychological horror will find the game worthwhile for its craftsmanship and verve - and, in any case, Shade is so short and widely admired that most readers will find it worthwhile.

2 of 6 people found the following review helpful:
Expanding the definition of a one-room game., November 7, 2007
by Kake (London, England)
Related reviews: Andrew Plotkin, ****
I'll say first off that one of the things I liked about this game is that it never puts you in an unwinnable position (there should be a tag for this, but I'm not sure what to call it); and I'm glad that other reviews told me this, because it made it easier to immerse myself into the mindset of the story.

The tension-building is well-timed, as are the hints - I never felt as though I was off the hook for a moment, and I never felt overly frustrated. I did find the ending slightly confusing; I'll give it another go some time to see if I can make it make more sense.


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