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About the StoryYou can go home when you learn to be good.
2nd Place overall; 3rd Place, Miss Congeniality - 24th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2018)
McT's Interactive Fiction Reviews
What begins as a fairly unsettling depiction of this child’s imprisonment by the bogeyman, turns into something darker. And then darker again. It builds slowly, this horror. It pulls no punches – all your worst imaginings of what might happen to children who can’t learn to be good are here. All moving towards an inevitable, uncompromising conclusion.
...If I had a criticism of this game, it would be that I would have liked to have had more in the way of a result of some of my choices – there are many times when I can make a decision to be, for example, nice or nasty to the other children – it would have been nice to have had those choices gradually reflected throughout the game.
This is my favorite choice game of the competition so far. 9/10
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What impressed me right away about the game was its presentation. A choice-based game, Bogeyman’s links are presented at the bottom of each scene in a grid formation, separated by white lines, which is very effective. A glow effect around the text of each link on mouseover was a nice touch. The choice of a fixed width font for the Bogeyman’s dialogue was less successful, however. There are also a few illustrations, of which I would like to have seen more, and some suitably eerie music.
One thing that parser-based games tend to be better at than choice-based games is creating a sense of place, but Bogeyman, a choice-based game, left me with a very clear mental picture of the Bogeyman’s mountainside hovel and its surroundings. The child-kidnapping title character on the other hand is more of a cypher - we are given only glimpses, and this also works very effectively. One gets the feeling that description is absent because none of the children can bring themselves to look at him.
Also well evoked was the sense of a daily routine, which serves as a reminder of how quickly we tend to normalise a terrible situation.
Bogeyman is a long game, and I only had time to play through it once during the competition, but I’ll certainly be returning to it now that the comp is over.
(Warning: This review might contain spoilers. Click to show the full review.)[Abduction, violence against children, abuse]
Although the titular character is framed as the bogeymen of children’s stories, to another eye - an adult eye, probably - he is a more quotidian, though no less terrifying variety of criminal. Fairytale elements meld easily with real-life methods of cruelty and control: the strange food and drink; the deserted cabin in the middle of the woods; turning frightened people on each other.
Bogyeman is largely linear, but where there are choices, they are difficult - emotional dilemmas most of them, choices between self-gain and protecting your fellow captives.
In other aspects, it’s simply a good game. Its slick design reminds me of A Good Wick, though much more readable. The layout of choices, especially where they concern exploring a space, are laid out to reflect that space. This has been one of the things that I found difficult when building a map of the story world during choice-based games. The directions I can explore are almost always laid out in lines of text, which I must translate in my head to how they would look on a diagram.
Bogeyman is certainly not an easy-going read, but grim and focused and well worth playing.
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This is version 4 of this page, edited by Doug Orleans on 17 November 2018 at 4:54pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item