In this choice-based game you play as some sort of a cop trying to recapture a Manhattan bank from 6-7 robbers/culprits who have barricaded themselves inside. Even though the blurb talks about hostage negotiation I didn't do any of that, maybe I didn't get far enough in the game, but the PC starts out with no other options other than to plan the infiltration of the banks by "Spec-Ops" guys.
So I played through once and got a bad ending. The thing was that the game gives you absolutely no clues as to how to avoid a bad ending. You aren't given any information, just asked to start making decisions. I briefly went back and played another branch of the game making a different choice for how to breach the bank and got the same ending. I wasn't interested enough to try again.
I feel like the author was trying too hard with some of the wording to make it sound authentically New York, with phrases like "grey-shirts", "silver-badges", and "Spec-Ops", plus at least one "yous guys". But Spec-Ops strikes me as a more military term (though I've only visited NYC so maybe I'm wrong), and the constant use of the terms "robbers" and "culprits" feels real dated for a game set in 2006. There were a number of other well-worn tropes that popped up as well. Finally, 20 Exchange Place in Manhattan is a skyscraper, not a 4-story bank building, and there isn't a Westward street anywhere in the Financial District that I can tell. Just a lot of misplaced steps in this game.
Solid coding. The author's diction and style might make for a good transition to hard-boiled noir fiction. This game was just a miss for me.
This is a simple puzzler in the classic fashion. You are a crew member of a space ship. While you are sitting on the toilet an emergency strikes (doesn't that always happen!). You have to figure out a way to abandon ship, but there are a lot of things broken that you might have to fix first.
That's pretty much it, a simple, straight-forward puzzler. You are playing against the clock, so it might require multiple playthroughs to beat the game, learning from the failed playthroughs (much like how I found Zork to be). In the end (Spoiler - click to show)the solution is pretty simple, you just have to know the correct order of operations.
Honestly, the game/puzzle part of this is nothing to write home about, but what I appreciated was everything else that the game was wrapped in. The humor and pop culture refences in the game made me laugh out loud several times. The game's code was very robust and allowed you to do a number of things that didn't matter to solving the main puzzle (sidequests and easter eggs if you will). I also appreciated the author's attempt at making feelies to go with the game (which can be accessed on the game's website) as well as the very polished hints and walkthrough document.
I hope to see more from this author in the future.
I struggled with how to rate this game. It is note perfect in so many aspects, from the prose, to the sound, to the pictures, to the interactive elements, and yes, to even the timed text, which I usually hate. My biggest complaint was that (Spoiler - click to show)the plot didn't have enough payoff. But then I decided that wasn't the goal of this piece, that it was mostly about mood and feel, and it absolutely nailed those aspects. So 4-stars instead of three. Bravo!
This is a choice-based piece, with very limited choice. It is pretty much a short story presented with a modicum of interactivity, but it makes the absolute most of those interactive elements. Text changes after you click on it (similar to Will Not Let Me Go). A few pictures and a creepy soundtrack. Even timed text, as I mentioned before, that was timed so well as to leave me in a legitimate state of suspense, but only for a second or two before the story spilled its next secret.
And the writing! Each word is measured to fit its part in the story. Again, other than my one minor complaint above, which is a bit unfair for a story of this length, this is a master class in writing and production.
I don't want to say more as I don't want to spoil anything. I will just say go play this game, it is well worth your time.
While I don't inhabit any of the same communities as the author of this piece, that hasn't stopped me from being touched by their games previously. This one, however, didn't grab me at all and I didn't enjoy it. And the weird thing is that grief is present in my home at this moment unlike it ever has been before. My mother-in-law died recently and from what I've observed of my grief, but mostly of my wife's grief, it looks absolutely nothing like this. That is by no means to say that the grief portrayed in this story is not valid, just that I couldn't relate to it. This story, which is a companion story that features the same characters as the author's other IFComp 2021 game (which I did enjoy), is mostly a cycle of cooking and/or eating, sex, and the more traditional characteristics of grief. And the sex scenes are explicit, which isn't usually something I want to read in any work of IF, but interspersed amongst otherwise crippling grief just felt weird to me. I know the title of the piece is "Weird Grief", but it was just too weird for me. Again, that's my personal take, your mileage may vary.
This piece was written in only three days, which is somewhat impressive, but it also shows. There were numerous typos. Again, despite all of the above I might have given it three stars, but it hardly had any choices to make. That's a big thing for me, even in otherwise very linear games. I can only remember three screens that even had two hyperlinks on them. I also wasn't the biggest fan of the font or the fact that it was centered justified on my tablet, which made it hard to read all the dialogue.
This author knows how to pull at your heartstrings. Once again they use technology and online communities as the backdrop for a very personal and emotional story.
In this game you play a moderator for an online community called HiveKind, tasked with finding and deleting accounts that belong to deceased users. The server AI flags accounts that it thinks might belong to someone who has died and unlocks all their messages for you to read to determine if you agree with that assessment. That's where the core story comes into this game. Reading through those private messages, (Spoiler - click to show)that occur both before and after the account user is killed by a drunk driver, is what delivers both the back story and emotional impact.
The game doesn't really have many choices in it, though one I'm interested to hear about from others who played the game is whether they read the messages in chronological or reverse chronological order in their role as account investigator. The few choices come in at another heart-wrenching part: having to message the closest contacts of the user to get confirmation on whether they are deceased or not. How blunt are you with them about the task at hand? How much are you willing to try to bend the rules?
This game makes heavy use of timed-text. Usually I'm not a fan of it, in this game it was a mixed bag. Generally I thought it worked out okay on the first playthrough (though I encountered several times where I wasn't given enough time to read the messages I was sending to the group, but I got the gist). However, playing through a second time I wished there had been a way to turn it off so I could more easily see how different choices would affect the story. That would be another thing that missed the mark for me a bit: (Spoiler - click to show)on my second playthrough I didn't feel like making a different choice affected anything. The ending was exactly the same and given how different your tone is in the group chat I was hoping for different reactions from the friends of the deceased.
Overall though a game well worth your time.
This game feels like exactly the game I would have written in the 7th or 8th grade. The plot careens down a path that seems to throw in whatever random idea came into the author's head that day. I can see the enthusiasm that went in to making this story thought. In my younger days of writing short stories, I too would have a fun idea pop into my head and then shoehorn it into the story I was currently working on.
I only noticed one error in the implementation, but the interface was about as simple as it gets: black text on a white background with at most two choices at each junction. Then the ending came very abruptly and without much payoff. A decent enough first effort/test game, but not quite up to the standards of IFComp.
In this game you play a cyborg, forced into pugilistic slavery by dastardly conservative lawmakers and corporations. You life involves fighting other cyborgs in an arena - "To the repair!", rather than to the death - for the amusement of the populace. Half the game is backstory on how you ended up in this particular fight, and the other half is a combat simulator employing a rock-paper-scissors like rubric for deciding if you or your opponent takes damage and how much.
The interface is well implemented, with bar chart stats, life gauges a la Mortal Kombat, and colorfully highlighted dialogue for the different characters. I also enjoyed how the fight interface was pushed to the background, but not eliminated, during the flashback scenes. However, there were some issues with the text. At times both "you" and your opponents name would appear right next to each other as if the game couldn't figure out who was performing the following action. Also, there were continuity errors regarding which weapon your opponent was wielding.
Text based choose-your-own-combat scenes grow stale very quickly, and this one was no exception. You are provided with some incentive to choreograph your combat in a particular manner, but in my multiple playthroughs I couldn't determine how that made much of a difference on the ending.
The background information and flashbacks I felt had the seed of a good story in them, but they were applied like a plank of wood to the face: lacking depth and unnecessarily blunt. I had just started to care about the characters when the story came to what felt like a premature end without the payoff that I was expecting. Also, I couldn't determine much of a political message other than Conservatives Are Bad. I'm fine with political messages in my stories and games, even ones that I disagree with, but there has to be some substance to the argument, some allegory to modern life, and some solution to the problem. I didn't feel like I got any of that in this story other than a generic rise-up-against-your-oppressors vibe.
I hope the author tries again with another IFComp entry next year. I feel there is potential here, but it didn't manifest in this game.
At least I think I got the info in the title right, though honestly I might not be understanding the story correctly. You play one member of a former couple, forced to work together again (and clearly still with feelings for each other) near some kind of geometric apocalypse(?). As far as surreal stories go, this one definitely has more substance and polish than the others that I've played for IFComp 2021 so far. Still though, I didn't have much clue what was going on. I didn't have any connection to the story and only a minor connection to the characters. This is another story that I feel was written primarily so the author could write it, not so others could read it.
Just like with this author's IFComp game from last year (which I enjoyed more than this game), they try some interesting things with the mechanics/visuals. In this case it is blurring some of the text. I feel that might have been more effective when used sparingly, perhaps as an indicator that the characters mind was wandering. Instead it was used for whole sentences, and even one of the choices. Already frustrated by my inability to understand what was going on, I didn't much care for not being able to make a choice because of the blurred text.
In the end I didn't care for it. YMMV.
This is a fairly short, choice-based work where you play a quantum particle in our universe, which is hidden away from the multiverse by the Forever Cat, forced to endure the collapse and recreation of spacetime over and over again when all you want is to rest.
Yes, this game is weird.
I was right on the edge of giving it two stars, but it was just interesting enough at the end to bump it up to three. Halfway through I was very frustrated as it seemed that the game was primarily about picking your way through the branches of the story to find the end. I suppose being forced to repeat the collapse and rebirth of the universe several times is kind of the point, but it got tedious after awhile. Once I finally figured out how to get to the semi-interesting part of the story, with meaningful choices that didn't trigger the collapse of the universe so often, it got better.
The writing is weird, but pretty solid. There isn't much of a story in the traditional sense, as much as ruminations on meaning, from quantum to multiverse in scale. Honestly, in the end what bumped it up from two to three stars for me was that after I finally achieved an ending (one of five possible endings), I had about 10 minutes left on the exercise bike, and rather than move on to something else immediately I was interested enough to go back and find another ending. Also, it helped that in the end (Spoiler - click to show)dogs were the heroes.
For those who want to find the path to the interesting part of the story, here it is: (Spoiler - click to show)This has happened to me before. - Our gravity ruptures. - Our expansion is steady. - Too far from our gravity, our awareness fractures. - This has happened to me before. - I wonder if being alone has any purpose. - I'm captured by a rogue planet. ...
This is a fairly short, mostly linear, choice-based work. You play Perry, the quiet, somewhat nerdy, roommate of a party animal. He is throwing a Halloween party tonight at your apartment and you agreed to help, but you don't really want to be there. The night becomes much more bearable when some of your friends show up and you all take refuge on the porch, just talking and hanging out.
The author has what I think is a rare talent as a writer: to be able to convey the essence of a friendship primarily through dialogue. Reading this story made me think of Dante and Randall from "Clerks" or Parzival and Aech from "Ready Player One". I was drawn in to the camaraderie and it gave the story both warmth and impact. In the end I had goosebumps on my skin and tears in my eyes.
The story is primarily linear. You can wander around a bit at the beginning, before the story is pretty much put on rails for the second half. I do recommend reading everything, as there are some flashback scenes triggered amongst the chaos of party that give the second half added depth. Normally the lack of meaningful choices would have me lowering the rating, but this story really got to me in a special way so I had to give it four stars. I think it compares well with "Will Not Let Me Go" by Stephen Granade, even though it doesn't quite rise to that level.
Well worth your time.