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The Big Mama

by Brendan Barnwell

Slice of life

About the Story

"Three or four sailboats cruise lazily in the glow of the setting sun, which casts a poetic shimmer across the swells. In the distance, about 15 km offshore, you can discern the dim, hunched shapes of the oil platforms. The breeze is straight out of some beach-blanket B-movie: salty, soft, and refreshing." [--blurb from Competition Aught-Zero]

Game Details

Language: English (en)
Current Version: Release 8
License: Freeware
Development System: Inform 6
Baf's Guide ID: 1015
IFID: ZCODE-8-888888
TUID: 4nijlgs7taq39vim

Off-Site Reviews

>INVENTORY - Paul O'Brian writes about interactive fiction

The Big Mama is an ambitious work with an intriguing structure and a strong sense of place. Somehow, though, it just didn't work for me, and I think there are a few reasons why. For one thing, the protagonist has the same first name as me, which produced a strange experience that I don't think any other piece of IF has given me. It's an odd feeling to have the PC introduce himself as "Paul" and be addressed as such in a game that hasn't asked for my name explicitly. I suppose that I wouldn't find this offputting in and of itself if the PC was a character I could relate to. Unfortunately, he isn't -- I found him pretentious and grandiose. One of the most prominent examples of this pretentiousness is the PC's insistence on constantly referring to the ocean as "the big mama" -- one or two references of this sort would be fine, but when the game hammers at it over and over again, flying into rhapsodic soliloquies about how "It's like some caring, artistic superior being has crafted this little coastline as an experiment in environmental beauty," I start to get the feeling it's trying to impress me with how deep and soulful the PC is, and I wasn't that impressed. Those kinds of details tend to make me roll my eyes a bit, and they're everywhere in the game.
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Reviews from Adam Cadre and Tina Sikorski.

Cadre: "I don't think the author was trying hard enough. If you're going to put the phrase 'the big mama' into pretty much every response, why stop there? Why, it could've appeared in every paragraph or, indeed, every sentence. (The big mama.) I mean, if it's good ten thousand times, why not a hundred thousand? Why not write in the style of Henrietta Pussycat, only swapping in 'the big mama' for 'meow'? What a missed opportunity. Also, the big mama."

Sikorski: "I found 4 or 5 different endings before I stopped playing, so there may be more depths here I have not plumbed. Those of you with more patience than I (and a CYOA roto-rooter) may discover more. It was an amusing diversion."
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There are lots of little games, some of which can be won in more than three or four moves, but I didn't feel that this worked.
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Page Update History

  v.6: 06-May-2022 23:56 - Paul O'Brian (Current Version) - Edit Page - Normal View
Changed external review links
v.5: 23-Mar-2013 09:19 - Edward Lacey
Changed external review links
v.4: 28-Apr-2008 13:12 - Paul O'Brian
Changed external review links
v.3: 28-Apr-2008 13:08 - Paul O'Brian
Changed external review links
v.2: 27-Feb-2008 22:49 - David Welbourn
Changed description
v.1: 16-Oct-2007 01:47 - IFDB
Created page