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Reviews by Anthony Hope

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Goose, Egg, Badger, by Brian Rapp

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
READ THIS BEFORE PLAYING!, December 21, 2014
by Anthony Hope (England)
This is a very clever game. But there's a good chance that you'll experience its cleverness only in a very passive way, because the game withholds a "secret" from you until you either type SECRETS (which isn't spoilery) or look at the second of the two in-game walkthroughs by typing WALKTHROUGH TWO -- but please don't actually do that!

If you do peek at Walkthrough Two, you'll be spoiling what would otherwise have been a whole new challenge, which is to try to solve the game using a secret vocabulary -- a vocabulary which is more restricted than that of the conventional solution (WALKTHROUGH ONE). Information about the nature of the secret vocabulary won't spoil the game, but I've still chosen to hide that information in spoiler-tags in this review.

I suggest that you first solve the game conventionally; then come back here and read the hidden text below; and finally try to solve the game again, but this time using the secret vocab only.

(Spoiler - click to show)The game can be solved using the names of certain objects as verbs. One obvious example involves the IRON: not only can you TAKE IRON (noun usage), but you can also IRON SHIRT (verb usage). There isn't actually a shirt in the game -- but that's not the point. The point is that the player can use the word IRON both as a noun and as a verb.

So the challenge for your second playthrough of the game is to first determine which words can function as both nouns and verbs, and then to complete the game using only those words, and using each of them as both a noun and a verb at some point during your playthrough.


First Draft of the Revolution, by Emily Short, Liza Daly and inkle

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful:
Enchanting. Compelling. Ingenious. Groundbreaking, October 20, 2013
by Anthony Hope (England)
I'd played a few games by Emily Short before, but none that were set in the Lavori universe of First Draft. I now know that this was terribly remiss of me.

First Draft is beautifully presented and boasts an intuitive user-interface that effortlessly draws you into a story of power, intrigue, assignations, politics, religion and magic. I was reminded of the film Dangerous Liaisons, and particularly of the character of the Marquise, when I read about (or wrote?!) the letter in which Alise reappraises her sister-in-law, towards the end of the game. Wicked!

This is interactive fiction at its most literal and yet its most brilliant. You literally touch and manipulate the text as it's being written by the characters in the story. You're looking over their shoulders or perhaps inside their heads as they draft and redraft letters to each other. Is there a better way to reveal someone's quirks, foibles, hopes and anxieties than to let you dig into their very thought-process as they write? I'm gonna say no, there isn't.

This game or interactive text, or thaumaturgico-digital wonder is a demonstration of the power and the complexity of writing. It reminds us that writing allows us both to reveal and to conceal ourselves, and if there's any magic left in the world at all, then it's in writing that we'll find it.

I'm gushing, I know, but I can't help myself because First Draft is a delight. I have only one complaint. Somehow a mysterious, Lavoriesque connection seems to have been made between author and text: First Draft of the Revolution is far too short.


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