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Reviews by kala

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Sting of the Wasp, by Jason Devlin

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful:
Postmodern Vanity Fair, May 24, 2013
by kala (Finland)
It is not too often that one encounters IF with cultivated social criticism. Sting of the Wasp can be considered such case, wrapped in a ludic shell of surprising success.

The author's writing deserves a special mention. It is well sophisticated, somewhat close to Emily Short's historical style samples. Responses are always enhanced with a touch of witty satire, yet never falling into descriptive excess.

The puzzles are fair. An advanced reader might consider them simple, excluding the final. Overall, most of the problems are integrated with delightful thematic functions -- a feature not too common in fiction puzzle design in general. Taking a couple of hours to finish, Sting of the Wasp becomes a short novel with a steadily paced challenging narrative.

When reading aspiring IF, it is important not to compare them to canonized literary texts like those of Thackeray's as such. IF is a distinct cultural form with its own aesthetics. How works of IF engage in satirical expression is an art that has no points of comparison outside the history of the form, and in this context, Sting of the Wasp can be seen as one of the postmodern pioneers.

Kobyashi Naru, by Clive Wilson and Les Hogarth

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Insignificant Game Wrapped in Interesting Interface, April 1, 2013
by kala (Finland)
A casual player-reader should not waste time on this one. For someone with an historical interest in IF, the work does however provide some fascination moments.

In practice, there is no story more than the one on the back cover of the box. The player must simply beat three mini-worlds to get the final output. Yet the experimental interface has a kick. The output text is given normally, but the input is chosen from verb icons in the manner of later point-and-clicks. The verbs are applied to specific words by selecting them from the output -- as we do with iPads today. Unfortunately this was 25 years too early, and doesn't work with keyboard too well.

Emerald Isle, by Shaun D. Abbott and James Horsler

1 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
A Shell of Adventure, February 5, 2013
by kala (Finland)
Despite the fact that the work is indeed pretty much an empty shell in today's standards, we often forget that the aesthetics of IF have changed a lot along these years. In the early days, players / readers used to approach these works from a different perspective, enjoying the sensations of inhabiting and exploring space without necessarily expecting to proceed on the narrative level as we do nowadays. In this respect, Emerald Isle is a relatively fascinating construction of a virtual world with a load of hidden secrets -- though visibly inferior to those of later RPGs.


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