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About the Story"The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting." -- Sun Tzu, The Art of War
As you wake to find yourself on the acceleration couch in Control, you can expect the muscle memory of your training to come back first: the product of intensive drills designed to prepare you for both combat and the stresses of command. The reintegration of your memory framework follows: your years at the academy and all that came before.
Finally, critical mission data will be directly encoded to your mind, giving you the most recent status reports available, for all that you weren't even aware of your own existence during the ship's long journey to this distant star.
This is what you trained for. This is what you are. So why don't you know what you're supposed to be doing here?
21st Place - 22nd Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2016)
The Breakfast Review
One of the first things we're told is that there's been an error in the reimplantation of our memories, so part of the game is in exploring and rediscovering things about ourselves, our masters, and our mission. And then we can choose what we want to do about it. I liked this exploration and discovery aspect.
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The writing conveys the clinical atmosphere of the ship well; I could imagine what it'd look like in a movie. The pace is slow, and unsettling. There is no danger, but there's a sense of eerie not-all-rightness. It's only you, picking through things; uncovering.
The morality at play here isn't exactly presented as a dilemma; it's pretty stacked towards a right and wrong decision. I might have liked a bit more nuance to the proceedings (The "EA" group seemed a bit too straightforward)? But the game isn't really about the decision you make, so much as the why.
I liked the pacing, and the way objects are carefully laid out to be discovered. It's just spread out and gated enough that it feels like you're exploring, even though it's a very contained space. There's also just enough on the ship to play around with that it felt rewarding interacting with all the on-board systems, while also establishing the technological surroundings (I do wonder if there's a better way than dumping a bunch of manuals in the starting room). Everything felt deliberate, so it made me want to be more deliberative.
This game relies a lot on heavy front-loading of information, most of which is not actually necessary for the game, because it generally teaches commands and the most common commands are listed in the Quest interpreter as drop-down boxes.
After the front-loading, there are a few actions you need to take that are more fast-paced.
The storyline is interesting, but I feel like the different parts of the game could have been incorporated more smoothly, perhaps with the manuals spread out more. However, the game is implemented well, and doesn't seem to have any bugs as far as I can see.
Recommended for fans of hard sci-fi looking for a short parser game.
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A Petite Mort entry for ECTOCOMP 2016.
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This is version 5 of this page, edited by Doug Orleans on 22 November 2016 at 2:53pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item