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About the Story
Tonight's your big night, Mx. Soon-To-Be Superstar and nothing will stand in your way. You've had everything planned out for the last year leading up to now, and with all the big names coming to tonight's concert, you cannot wait to put your musical talents to bear and finally live a life of luxury. Nothing will stop you, not even the Devil Himself...?
Content warning: Death, dismemberment, religious mention, verbal abuse, mentions of drug use.
68th Place - 29th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2023)
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Number of Reviews: 4
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In the Details is a short choice-based story by M.A. Shannon, published during IFComp 2023. The story is about a vain musician who is about to enter superstardom (Spoiler - click to show)thanks to the power of the Devil, who has inconveniently come to take back what belongs to him.
This is the first time I've played an IF that's been developed on Texture. It has an interface where you drag 'n' drop buttons on top of highlighted text. I found this slightly awkward to do while playing on laptop with a touchpad-mouse, but otherwise, the system seemed pretty easy to use and suitable for this kind of streamlined choice-based gameplay.
The prose is pretty good, creating a sense of locale and character without expending too many words. The story itself is rather brief, though, and I don't feel like it has a lot of meat to it. The game description has both tags "comedy" and "horror", but I found the story neither particularly funny or scary. It has a few graphic moments and a life lesson, and that's pretty much it.
The game description says the estimated playing time is around 30 minutes, but for me it felt shorter, even though I replayed the game and managed to reach 3 or 4 different endings. There was one moment where I wondered if the design was buggy, (Spoiler - click to show)mainly the point where you have to choose between telling a truth or a lie, but being honest does nothing. I couldn't tell for sure if this was supposed to create characterization or if it was simply an unimplemented button, but this could be my unfamiliarity with this system too.
Overall, I found In the Details engaging enough, albeit a little short and light.
This is a Texture game, where you drag actions onto nouns.
It also seems to be incomplete, or possible part of a series, as it includes ‘TO BE CONTINUED’ at the end.
You play as a famous and talented musician who has had one of the best years of their life. Leading up to their biggest performance yet, a deal they made comes due.
Overall the characters were interesting and the story a timeless one that has been retold in many ways in many ages. It felt a bit slight; there is a complete narrative arc, though. I almost wonder if it would have been stronger without the ‘to be continued’.
Of course I should have known there would be a devil from the title alone, or if I'd actually looked at the cover art instead of just clicking that 'Play' link. In In the Details we take on the role of a young musician, a burgeoning pop star, who is about to play the biggest gig of their lives, the gig that will catapult them to serious fame. It's slightly weird to soon find out that we're drunk or high -- not a smart choice. But a few minutes later, we understand the immense stress that the protagonist must have been under. For all their talent is actually borrowed from the devil, and they failed to return it on the agreed upon day. Well. That can't end well. And guess who that is, waiting for you in the dressing room?
In the Details is a very short game. Depending on your choices, you can be eviscerated immediately. have your neck snapped, or be forced to perform with no talent at all. The latter seems to be the 'canon' choice, since it's the only one to suggest that the story will be continued.
It's all very fine, but it's a very short game which is over by the time we're getting into it. Perhaps the most interesting thing about it, something that really got me to think, was the purposeful use of a bug. When the devil, still in disguise, asks you to tell him the secret of his success, you can drag either "Truth" or "Lie" to the option. But dragging "Truth" doesn't do anything! I don't know how Texture works, but I assume this is just the result of a programming bug... except that the bug must be intentional. There's simply no way you can tell anyone this truth. It's close to Texture's equivalent of a grayed out choice in ChoiceScript, except that here, you won't know about the impossibility until you try it.
In The Details is a very short game revisiting the Deal with the Devil trope, especially the moment when the Devil comes to collect its due. You play as an artist who traded something for musical talent, for a year. Long overdue, the Devil comes at the most importune time. There are 3-ish endings, with an indication the game will be updated at some point.
The entry has quite an interesting premise and a teasing build-up, with a probably love-to-hate main character, sort of a trope-y artist full with arrogance and self-centredness. Staring with very limited actions (inspect and consider) to set up the stage, the game soon adds more actionable ventures and zest in the writing. However, the game ends, quite abruptly, when tension is at it highest.
It kinda felt like a teaser... :/
The cover art is hella dope though...
(Spoiler - click to show)(also, not sure if it was a bug or on purpose, but I couldn't tell the truth?)