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by Elizabeth Smyth profile

Horror, Fantasy

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Number of Ratings: 36
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- ryd5185, September 15, 2019

- gildedSnail, August 27, 2019

- lunaterra (Atlanta, GA, USA), August 5, 2019

- Vaughany (Devon, United Kingdom), August 4, 2019

- Catalina, August 3, 2019

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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- Doug Orleans (Somerville, MA, USA), July 28, 2019

- dgtziea, July 12, 2019

- Kommissar Verboten, June 20, 2019

- vampireorange94, May 13, 2019

- subnet_observer, May 6, 2019

- thecanvasrose, May 5, 2019

- Woof, February 23, 2019

- fantasywriter (Lebanon, MO), February 18, 2019

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A gut-wrenching horror game with flawless execution, February 18, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 15-30 minutes
It's rare when an IF game is presented exactly right, every portion designed perfectly well to give a uniform presentation. Liza Daly's Harmonia is sort of the standard for this type of presentation.

I think Bogeyman has achieved that level of quality. The layout, fonts, sound, and color scheme give gravitas and a haunting sense of dread to the story.

And the storyline fits the presentation, with interactions that lead you to believe that you can identify with your character, followed up with choices that pit your beliefs against themselves.

An effect, but disturbing, game. One of my go-to games when introducing IF to people.

- Max Crow (United States), February 7, 2019

- Dhary, January 17, 2019

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
Changed my view of a genre, January 15, 2019
OH, MY WORD. I'm tense by the third screen or so of this game. I'm still a little tense, having played through it twice now. I'm so glad I played this game in the morning. I think it would have given me nightmares if I had experienced it right before going to bed.

Bogeyman is a choice-based horror game. Horror is one of my least-favorite genres. When horror doesn't work, it usually just feels dumb to me. If it does, then why am I reading fiction or watching a movie, just to be scared? Real life is scary enough as it is (just glance at a random day's headlines); why should I seek it out? But I'm playing through the games in this Comp and trying to give feedback, so I played Bogeyman anyway.

Maybe because I don't seek out horror in fiction much I'm more sensitive to it. Whatever the reason, I am still tense, even though I'm now three paragraphs into this review. Okay, deep breaths. I'll try to be objective from here on.

The blurb and cover hint well at the menace to come, especially the tagline: "You can go home when you learn to be good." Then you start the game, and you're faced with basic white text on a black background. This, the simple font, and the spare writing together just ooze menace. Something about the choices being in all caps enhances it, too.

I don't know that I want to say much about the content, other than that it is terrifying. For some reason (Spoiler - click to show)the prayer at the table, "We are truly grateful for what we have," was one of the worst moments. I suppose it's that effect of "Not only can I make you physically experience these horrifying events, I'm going to twist your soul so much that you'll be thankful for the horror." Then combine that with the fact that it's being done to children, in a perversion of a simple act of gratitude that many of us daily choose to make... Shudder.

The absolutely worst thing I've done in IF - ever, in any game - in terms of how it made me feel, was (Spoiler - click to show)eating Grace. Eating Grace! After saying grace! It would be kind of funny if it weren't so awful.

Despite my dislike of horror as a genre, I don't think I regret playing this game. Even while I'm feeling what I'm feeling, I'm thinking, "Wow. What an amazing piece of art, to be able to produce this reaction from me."

My conclusion: Bogeyman is an excellent horror game. Play it, and experience it for yourself. Just not right before bedtime.

I wrote the above review on the authors' forum during IFComp 2018 right after playing Bogeyman. It led to a discussion among several of us about the themes in Bogeyman, as well as horror in general. I had always thought that the primary (sole?) purpose of horror is to frighten or disgust people, and those are not experiences that I've ever been interested in seeking out. However, the authors' conversation convinced me that horror can be used effectively in the service of worthwhile artistic goals.

For example, Chandler Groover argued that Bogeyman does an excellent job of making the player feel what it's like to live with an abuser. It's not a pleasant experience, but it's true, in the sense that there are people who do live under an abuser's power. It's important that we know this - and that there is art out there like Bogeyman that can dramatize it for us.

So, I no longer stand by my dismissive comments about works of horror in the second paragraph of my original review. Horror is still not going to be my go-to genre, but I have a much deeper appreciation for it than I did before I played Bogeyman.

That makes Bogeyman one of only a handful of works I've experienced that have been integral in changing my view of an entire genre.

- wohanley, January 15, 2019

- tekket (Česká Lípa, Czech Republic), January 9, 2019

- Wanderlust, December 15, 2018

- dream, December 5, 2018

- mrfrobozzo, November 27, 2018

- anarchaferromagnetism, November 26, 2018

- HarryKile, November 24, 2018

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