by Emily Short profile

Science Fiction

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Number of Reviews: 8
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful:
An Engaging Couple of Hours, October 27, 2007
by Michael R. Bacon (New Mexico)

"Good" is not high praise. It is praise though, and I praise Floatpoint with disappointment.

Puzzles are of little importance or challenge in this mildly short work, which is a matter of little consequence, because the focus is on story, artful prose, and player choice rather than on player ability. The final "puzzle" is really a decision reflective of a particular player's reaction to the primary situation portrayed in the story. This sandbox-esque element of the game is rewarding by way of its delicate responses to each choice.

Emily Short's prose is good, and her morally-interested science fiction world is exceptionally well-developed, mostly by way of careful descriptions, for so short a story. Most prominently, several of the endings and player-character flashbacks made me want to think more highly of the work than when analyzing it as a whole. It impressed some emotions and concerns upon me, as intended.

The overall design of Floatpoint is elegant, as one would always expect of Short, but the actual implementation is oddly impaired by several odd bugs which do not prevent the completion of the game. One of them, however, starkly emphasizes the necessity of disbelief in the fiction before the reader/player which had been so well built up by descriptive writing. Now, nearly a year later (in the midst of IF Comp 2007), these problems have still not been addressed, which confuses me further since it is the fiction of such a productive and usually, I felt, meticulous designer.

Floatpoint is not in the same category as the strongest of Emily Short's interactive fiction, but its worth is very much equal to the time one puts into it. I recommend it to the many who seem to have only completed one or two of her pieces, but not as highly as some of her other works such a person might have missed.