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About the Story
To breed or not to breed, that is the question. So what'll it be, Jennifer?
45th Place - 24th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2018)
Number of Reviews: 2
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This is the kind of work that goes better in a choice-based format than in parser. You play as Jennifer, a woman who is faced with a series of choices over the course of the early part of her life (through her early 30s, I think) as to whether to have children.
Playing A Woman's Choice and exploring Jennifer's options had me repeatedly thinking back to my wife's and my decision to have kids and the decisions I've seen friends make (both yes and no), as well as why we made these decisions. I haven't really done that in a long time. That's the kind of reaction I'd want from a reader if I had written this work, and so I'd call A Woman's Choice a success.
I do have two critiques to offer, though (with the caveat that I did not play multiple times to see different endings).
A Woman's Choice argues that society places expectations on women with respect to children, and, contra those expectations, women should have the freedom to make their own choices. The choice that I made felt abrupt, though: I think it was when (Spoiler - click to show)I had just met Paul at the party and I chose to laugh when he asked me about kids. I picked this option because I had hoped it would let me delay the choice so that I could think about it some more. Instead (I think) it was my final choice: Everything else seemed to play out from that decision. My first critique is that I would have liked the chance to think about this more and maybe even change my mind.
My second critique is harder to explain without giving away too much of the work, but here goes: I think A Woman's Choice would have been strengthened with more exploration of the different consequences to a long-term relationship from having a disagreement as fundamental as having children. A Woman's Choice felt to me to present the choice to be solely Jennifer's, but my observation is that in practice this usually involves more negotiation. Often the relationship is so important to the two parties involved that together they work out between them how they will handle the question of children. (And, yes, sometimes the distance between what the two people want is so far apart that it makes sense for the relationship to end.) At any rate, I would have liked to have seen more of this exploration in A Woman's Choice.
I found this game touching. A short game (5 chapters or so, each with 5-10 choices), it moves you through different phases of life and talks about women's reproductive choices, the expectations of society, and the consequences of these actions.
The styling is well-done and understated, a good backdrop to the ongoing storyline. As a man, it gave me a lot to think about.