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About the Story"The Hartman Gallery extends their invitation to an exhibition of Anatoly Domokov's "American Paintings." Who draws the line between art and life? HTML enhanced." [--blurb from Competition '99]
Nominee, Best Writing; Nominee, Best Individual NPC; Nominee, Best Individual PC - 1999 XYZZY Awards
-- Duncan Stevens
[...] the depth of characterization is highly unusual for IF, and it struck me along the way that I would find it genuinely entrancing if I sensed that understanding the character would somehow lead me to understand something, accomplish something--even within the game. Exhibition, in other words, may be significant more for what it could lead to--development of a particular character in order to move a story--than for the story it actually tells, where the trials and tribulations of the artist are the plot.
-- Duncan Stevens
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>VERBOSE -- Paul O'Brian's Interactive Fiction Page
Exhibition is a game of absences. It has no plot. It also has no puzzles, at least not in the way we're used to thinking about puzzles. There are no takeable objects whatsoever in the game, and most of the action consists of standing around examining things. What it does not lack, however, is quality. It's a masterwork of storytelling, creating a spellbinding narrative from spaces inbetween. I loved it.
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Number of Reviews: 2
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The game consists of an art gallery where four different characters can view 12 different paintings. Each person has a different take on the painting, and often you can discover the 'true meaning' of a painting from one character and not the other.
The game shows how art is partly the author and partly the viewer, and how the viewer creates art as it observes it. In this respect, it reminds me a lot of "Creatures such as we" by Lynnea Glasser.
I didn't enjoy the genre of the tale, though. It has the breathy, shocking, Schadenfreude feeling that's so popular. Books like the Kite Runner or Mudbound or other books where the characters have horrible or depressing secrets and it all comes together to a kind of gritty 'determination to live despite all' don't entice me. The story did not move me, which I found disappointing, considering that I'm a big fan of Ian Finley's work.
Exhibition is the type of game that might be called plot-less or not interactive. There is a story, we’re just starting at the end and working our way back through recollections. Additionally, each character has their own personal story: why they’re here, what they hope to gain from the event, and what their conclusions are afterwards. I found it compelling to switch between views, putting the information together to come to my own conclusions.
If there’s a drawback it’s that (Spoiler - click to show)some characters actually are more relevant than others. I happened to choose the Boy to play first, and his perspective seemed to be the full story; exploring the other characters after that felt kind of pointless. So, it’s possible to accidentally stumble onto knowing too much before exploring all the characters.
A final note: the music files (played by the author) are the variations of Promenade from Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition suite. I wish this had been explained a little more in the credits, because it’s an interesting tie-in to the game’s inspiration.
If you enjoyed Exhibition...
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Recommended ListsExhibition appears in the following Recommended Lists:
PollsThe following polls include votes for Exhibition:
Games that show everyday life by Sam Jackson
I'm looking for preferably short games that focus on part of someone's life in our world and preferably our time. I would like games with an emotional focus.
Artistic Games by WriterBob
I'm interested in games that take the fiction of IF to new levels. These are not straightforward, plot driven games. Think instead of games that play like poetry, or games that focus on a character's revelation.
No Mazes, please! by AndyC
I am a returning player to IF (which I loved 30 years ago) having recently discovered the fantastic Frotz for the iPad. Looking at some of the old games again has really blown me away. I don't enjoy drawing maps but I love reading good...
This is version 8 of this page, edited by Edward Lacey on 19 April 2013 at 6:07pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item