A really great take on the 500 words restrictions by removing all words except the subject and the verb. Coupled with some fun formatting and animation of the text, you get a very entertaining short game about a bird wanting a snack.
The game has a handful of varied and fun endings to collect, making any new playthrough feel fresh!
Theo is a short cyclical piece about falling in and out of love, and doomed relationships. I honestly forgot one-two passages in that you were supposed to be in a dream, and thought I was stuck in a loop - surprisingly, either interpretation worked!
I really liked the way the text was formatted in the passages, like pushing the eyes into a funnel (though a bit more contrast in the links would have helped extra).
Sidenote: It really had Goncharov vibes, in the doomed love/relationship or running after an impossible goal…
This was a tragic and visceral piece, and still strangely beautiful in its violence. The small details, like the barista looking away or the brush of the fingers, are simple but convey more than meet the eyes.
A really nice touch…
This epistolary three part-er recounts the shared moments between two people through the point of view of your partner, their hopes and regrets as life moves on. It is quite bittersweet and beautifully written.
Two short puzzles taking on different definitions of virus (computer/biological), where you play as an investigator (hacker?). The puzzles felt quite reminiscing of the ones you'd find in an escape room. A neat idea in 500 words or less.
Through a fantasy setting, a fairy describes his experience of finding and accepting their identity in the face of adversity. It is quite emotional and raw.
As a short prototype, this piece manages to tell just enough to hook the reader, and very little that it leaves you wanting more. From is ominous title to the tense descriptions, the writing manages to leave you with too many questions, and wanting to find those answers. It would be interesting to see where the author takes the story…
Also Armstead is a great name for a knight!
This very creepy and dark short piece has a killer hook and has as killer of an ending. The colour combinations for the theme and the unsettling music really adds to the macabre setting of the story.
While it is already satisfying as a short read, a longer version would be very intriguing indeed…
A very graphic and erotic description of two bodies coming together. The writing, as always, is excellent.
The use of a mouse over macro (to reveal hidden words) is akin to the hands discovering new skin and crease of a body, making the interactivity even more topical.
Really enjoyed this short piece.
Adding to the Goncharov craze of November 2022, All or Nothing (1973) takes on a meta commentary approach on internet trends, the cashing out on said trends*, and artistic creation. Set during an undefined present, we discover through snippets a group of four adults are putting together a trailer for a Kickstarter project to create a Goncharov movie, competing with other crowd-sourced project on the same idea.
*which, lol, considering the jam
The game starts as a rendition of a scene for a Goncharov movie*, being shot, formatted like a script and with a dark edited picture. You get to choose some options about where the scene goes until one of the characters yells CUT, following one of the actors fumbling his lines. The scene moves to real life (change in background and font), as the crew bickers about the production. The game will continue flipping between the dark setting while the scenes are shot and the brighter background of real life, announcing the transitions.
*which is not a real thing, just to be clear...
We are introduced to a four-member crew shooting materials for a Kickstarter campaign: Arash - playing Goncharov - the director of this whole enterprise and maybe a bit too obsessed with the project, Vivian - playing Katya - the scriptwriter who is disillusioned with making it in the industry, Tony - playing Andrey - looking for a paycheck, and Sofia - playing Sofia - also here mainly for a paycheck*.
*I think? It's not as explicit as Tony. Maybe some connection or support?
Like most of Autumn's games, All or Nothing (1973) takes a storylet approach to the storytelling of the downtime of the crew (about 2-3 scenes). You can follow two groups: Arash/Goncharov and Tody/Andrey, or Vivian/Katya and Sofia/Sofia. Each will discuss their view on the production, their worries and dreams, and what is happening in their lives.
(Spoiler - click to show) Arash's method acting is worrying some of them or getting on their nerves, but he only cares about making art and be remembered*
*this is an interesting conversation between Tony and Arash on the subject, where fame doesn't seem to interest Arash if behind it there is no creative output to show for...
Vivian is starting to resent telling Arash (her boyfriend) about the meme and letting him string her along the production, while she questions whether she still want to even pursue this.
Sofia lives in a shitty studio with a baby, Tony looks to get paid* (and maybe more?).
*Unlike the other three characters, it didn't feel like there was much to Tony. Maybe being paired with Arash made him more of a background character...
By the second storylet, lines between the characters in the real world and in scenes start to blur. Vivian and Sofia comment on events being similar to struggles the Goncharov characters suffer through, while Arash and Tony lean more and more into the method acting (with Arash being much more into it). Like their movie counterpart (according to lore), both couple have the option of potentially leaning into the sexual tension in the air (with Vivian/Arash cheating on the other*).
*Funny thing, in the lore it is unclear whether either party knows about the cheating, condones it, or resents the other for it. Still they don't see each other separating because of it.
The line fully disappears when the real world characters embodies their scene counterparts so much during the height of filming, that neither Arash, Vivian, nor Tony realise Sofia's cries to stop the scene (even her holding her child do not phase them). At this point, the background does not even return to "real-life" mode.
While Tony and Vivian do manage to come back to their senses, Arash still stays in character, ending the game with I am Goncharov...
I really enjoyed figuring out that the characters' lives mirrors the ones they portrayed (though the exact lore is unclear one the specifics), with Vivian and Arash being a couple and playing Katya and Goncharov who are canonically together, Katya's dalliance with Sofia, Goncharov and Andrey contrasting identities (light/dark, naive/serious, free/taken...)... as well as trying to find the Goncharov themes (the clock, the gun, the boat...).
A final note: the game references two works: All or Nothing (which is incidentally the name of the game, paired with the fictional release year of Goncharov) and Miss Officer and Mr Truffles, two crowdfunding campaigns which started from a meme post on Tumblr making the rounds on the website. Neither managed to deliver an end product (the second never reached its goal). A bit of a wink to A Paradox between worlds there... Is it also foreshadowing the future of this project?