Reviews by jakomo

ectocomp2022

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View this member's reviews by tag: 2021 Text Adventure Literacy Jam 2022 Text Adventure Literacy Jam Balderstone series ectocomp2020 ectocomp2021 ectocomp2022 Horror in the Darkness parsercomp2021 punyjam1 springthing2022
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ZIT, by Amanda Walker

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Get outta my face, November 5, 2022
by jakomo
Related reviews: ectocomp2022

Another one-puzzle, one-room parser game about battling a terrifying body part, like Zombie Eye. This time it's the horror of a face spot discovered in your bathroom mirror as you prepare for a job interview. Use the contents of your bathroom cabinet, and your phone, to save the day. Lots of fun details about the player-characters life, household, family and personal relationships. Multiple amusing endings.


Zombie Eye, by Dee Cooke
A tight cornea, November 5, 2022
by jakomo
Related reviews: ectocomp2022

Tiny Adventuron parser adventure in which you try to rid the world of the titular monstrosity. A one-puzzle, one-room game, nicely illustrated with blocky graphics and some basic sound-effects. Uses the Adventuron "house style" - the look & feel of a 1980s BBC microcomputer. I managed to get stuck right at the start (the convenient VERBS command was enough to unblock me) but was smooth sailing from that point on.


Restitution, by Anonymous

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Miserly loves company, November 4, 2022
by jakomo
Related reviews: ectocomp2022

A neat 500-word short story from 1916 about a skinflint who suddenly becomes generous, now in the public domain so available for reproduction. The modern co-author adds an impressive cover art image and a short bonus section in the middle of the story, where the interactivity lies. A text-box lets you type an appropriate noun to end a sentence. Contextually, this should presumably be a synonym for "miser" but it also allows many other words (and will tell you if it doesn't recognize what you type). The result is a short chunk of text with one line of dialogue altered depending on what you wrote. It then proceeds with the rest of the story, unaltered and unaffected by this little interactive detour.

Why the extra section is presented in a different form to the rest of the story (a play script instead of prose) is difficult to fathom. Why this interactive section is supposed to elevate the original short story is equally difficult to fathom. As an overall concept, there is potential in a twine-like choice-based system that hides the explicit choices behind a type-what-you-want text-box, but it definitely requires a longer work, with multiple choices that matter, to do it justice.


THROW. MARIA. OVERBOARD., by Travis Moy
Worse things happen at sea, November 4, 2022
by jakomo
Related reviews: ectocomp2022

Choicescript tale of the nautical and the supernatural. You're a Byzantine-era ship captain at a party (where everyone talks in rhyme), recounting a weird event where your ship inexplicably stopped moving and a female passenger seemed to be the sole cause. The story is compelling, the moral choices you're given are interesting, and it wisely leaves the biggest mysteries unexplained. It's only disappointing that the rhyming gimmick set up in the framing device isn't carried over into the main story: would have loved to read this tale entirely in verse.


Cell 174, by Milo van Mesdag
NKVD Blue, November 4, 2022
by jakomo
Related reviews: ectocomp2022

You're a shrink talking to a murderer in a Russian prison: initially about himself, then moving on to his murders, and then his own family. The killer has a really strong voice: sweary, belligerent, self-consciously confrontational. Heavy-duty dialogue like (Spoiler - click to show)"Push your dick into a million whores, you will never know what it feels like to push yourself into another man's brain, past his broken skull." He seems to revel in his violence, but, as the player-character points out early on, it's likely just a mask. You can let him talk freely or interject with your own questions. Written in Ink, a basic no-frills implementation. Works literally, as a frightening character study, but can also be read symbolically, as a metaphor for the historical traumas suffered by the Russian empire that brought it to its current precarious state.


You Are a Zombie Yelp Reviewer, by Geoffrey Golden

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
When there's no more room in Taco Bell, the dead will walk the earth, November 2, 2022
by jakomo
Related reviews: ectocomp2022

Does exactly what it says on the tin. You're a surprisingly high-functioning zombie, who speaks like Grunk in Lost Pig, munching on human brain and posting an online review. Simple choice-based silliness. Here's a sample: "ME VERY SMART. ME ONCE EAT BRAINS OF MAN WHO ME BELIEVE WAS BESTSELL AUTHOR MALCOLM GLADWELL!!!” Like the zombie's victim, completely disposable, but tasty while it lasts.


origin of love, by Sophia de Augustine

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Hold me, thrill me, kiss me, kill me, November 2, 2022
by jakomo
Related reviews: ectocomp2022

Hypertext poetry. A portrait of obsessive, excessive, limitless love. Or is it? The vivid, lascivious imagery offers an interesting thematic counterpart to the other Ectocomp 2022 entry, MARTYR ME, that also displays a similar co-mingling of sex and unexpected violence amid a sense of unreality. Is there something in the air? Ectocomp is horny this year. The story is strictly linear, with hyperlinks popping up annotation windows that offer further expansion on the link text. In fact, the whole work could be reproduced as a regular static poem, using the standard superscript numbering scheme to denote in-line footnotes and listing the annotations, sequentially, as a numbered list beneath the main body. Would be fun to see something like that in a trad printed poetry anthology one day.


One More Page, by PRINCESS INTERNET CAFé
Necrotelecomicon, November 2, 2022
by jakomo
Related reviews: ectocomp2022

Text message interactive fiction: chat with your mum, and with your pal Ash with whom you've been reading Ancient Tomes, while a relentlessly oppressive musical drone churns in the background. The text interface simulacrum effectively induces dread through extremely slow reveals of each... new... message... and the few choices you get to make, although inconsequential, help characterise the protagonist and elaborate her thoughts beyond the conversations themselves. A highly linear creepypasta-ish experience which appears to be the final part of a trilogy: having not played the previous two I can confirm this works perfectly well as a nightmarish standalone experience.


HSL Type Ω MEWP Certification Exam, by Duncan Bowsman

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Pitchforklift, November 2, 2022
by jakomo
Related reviews: ectocomp2022

I'm now officially HSL Certified! Just passed an online health & safety exam for Haunted Scissor-Lift operation with a score of 28/35, and feel ready and raring to go... This is a Choicescript-based sequence of 35 questions that perfectly imitate the patronising, jargon-filled language of these kinds of online H&S quizzes but throws in a supernatural twist, a la SCP Foundation, where the humour comes from the the disjunction between the wildly magickal fantasy/horror stuff and the ultra-mundane health&safety regulation stuff. This made me laugh out loud: "Before you are two goblins. One always lies, the other always tells the truth. Both claim to be your supervisor and suggest that you follow them to your haunted worksite." 35 questions is probably too much, the first 10 questions gently ease you into this world, the last 10 are where all the really funny, silly, creative stuff lies, but the middle 15 could probably be trimmed for pacing reasons. On the other hand, I understand the need for it to be as tedious as the real thing for the whole effect to work. The "Haunted Scissor Lift Manual" is a separate download, I'd also like to see that somehow incorporated into the main body of the game itself as it's filled with good bonus material.


Something Blue, by E. Joyce

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Love me tender, love me sweet, never let me go, November 2, 2022
by jakomo
Related reviews: ectocomp2022

Stop me if you've heard this one: a young lady, newly married, goes to live at her new husband's estate. Creepy goings-on in her new home ensue, and she comes to doubt the integrity of the man she has married. Something Blue puts a neat spin on this hoary old tale by presenting it as a series of letters from the new bride to her sister, in a classical 1800s literary style. You get to "edit" each letter before sending, by changing a sentence here and there. It's interesting how such a relatively small amount of change can really affect the character of the heroine, and therefore the tone of the whole story. She can be fearful and suspicious from the start, making a grim, E.A. Poe-like psychological study, or naive and optimistic to (almost) the end, making a sedate M.R. James-esque ghost story. I encountered two endings, there may be more.



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