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Final Assault of the Big Green Cliches

by Sam Kabo Ashwell profile

2001

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- Plebian, December 23, 2018

Intriguing little vignette., October 23, 2014

This decade-old SpeedIF entry takes only a few minutes to complete, and is not a fully-developed work by any means. Still, it seemed worth it to put together a quick write-up, since it demonstrates a narrative device from which would-be authors can learn.

The interaction here is done in the style of a combat scene in a typical war movie, though the setting is a strange blending of fantasy and modern (or possibly sci-fi?) tropes. The action starts in media res, with you pinned down, low on ammo, and basically doomed.

What's interesting here is the way that you, the player, are not given a complete description of your environment; instead, significant new elements are injected serially over the course of several turns.

This is a clever trick, in that it takes advantage of the deeply-ingrained player's instinct to examine everything new to encourage him or her to "play along" with the developing narrative. (A similar "pointillist" style can be seen in Ashwell's Ugly Chapter, but in that case it is used more for the background than the foreground.)

While this piece is almost over before it has begun (it only lasts 10 turns or so), and there doesn't seem to be any possibility for meaningful interaction with the scene playing out, I was struck by how cinematic the sequence feels. Forcing the player to constantly reorient to the PC's situation this way seems similar to the technique of fast panning used in cinema to draw the audience "into" the action.

- perching path (near Philadelphia, PA, US), November 11, 2009


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