Glass

by Emily Short profile

Part of fractured fairy tales
Fantasy
2006

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Number of Reviews: 10
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1-9 of 9


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Effective storytelling makes Glass worth playing, October 9, 2020
by bradleyswissman (Virginia, US)

Emily Short really pushes some boundaries of IF that she has similarly played with in Galatea. I highly recommend playing this game at least once through before reading any spoilers.

In this riff on the classic story of Cinderella, you play (Spoiler - click to show) not the evil stepmother, the haughty sisters, the handsome prince, or Cinderella, but the family parrot. . I went in expecting something lengthy and immersive like Bronze, but was pleasantly charmed by this clever reimagination. Partially because she's stripped the reader of most of their agency, Ms. Short's writing shines through here more than ever. She fully fleshes her characters out in terms of mannerisms and speech. Additionally, Short(Spoiler - click to show), having pulled the wool over your eyes by casting you, the reader, as a parrot, provides us with a completely re-written Cinderella. You will definitely want to play through multiple times so that you can experience the full story! There are at least 4 different endings that I found.

I gave this gave 4 stars rather than 5 simply because it lacked the impressive machinery that Post usually works into her IF, and 4 stars rather than 3 because the writing is really that good. It is well worth your time, simply because it takes very little time to play.


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
"Bronze" is certainly stronger than "Glass", July 16, 2017
by Cory Roush (Ohio)

Another in a series of Emily Short's fractured fairy tales, but without the depth and complexity of "Bronze"... so unfortunately, not as enjoyable.

I appreciate the experimental nature of a game like this; not only are you given limited ways to control the outcome, but your character is limited by nature itself as you play a bird in a cage.

Two problems stand out in my mind, though:

1) Available conversation topics are shown after THINKing, but it always seems like the topics come one moment too late. By the time you actually SAY something, the other characters have already proceeded, and it's not always clear how your input changed the course of the conversation.

2) With games like these, with multiple endings and a limited window of opportunity to branch the storyline, I'd love to have a system that tracks how many other endings I have to discover. I wouldn't want the "clues" to be too descriptive... something like a Choice of Games' Achievements system where the author could allude to one of the many paths available. Without knowing if I've already discovered all of the endings, going back and replaying after a few restarts seems potentially fruitless.


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A short, one-room fairy-tale game where you cannot act, February 3, 2016

This is one of my two favorite Emily Short games (the other being Floatpoint). In this game, a re-telling of Cinderella, you play an observer in the trying-on-of-shoes portion of the story. You can take no actions, but you can introduce topics in the conversation to steer you to one of six possible endings.

This game has some memorable moments and strong dialogue. It is fun to replay over and over again, and does not feel tedious in doing so.

Short has provided the source code for this game, which is entertaining in and of itself. If you haven't seen Inform code before, it consists of mostly whole sentences, and is much more understandable than C++, Python, Perl, etc. So even if you are not a programmer, you can understand a lot of it.


More interesting than it appears at first glance, October 26, 2015
by RickyD (South Carolina, USA)

First time I played this, I realized very quickly that I was essentially an outside observer. However, I initially thought I was ONLY an outside observer and could do very little to impact the course of the game. (Basically the only thing you can do is say words, though your vocabulary is a bit bigger than I initially thought.) It wasn't until I played it a few more times that I realized I had more control than I initially thought, and that's when it started to get interesting. In the end, I discovered half a dozen different endings from my own playing around (and I had some help finding the last one (Spoiler - click to show)where you're sold to pirates and don't even get to see how the story ends.)

At the very least, it's worth playing for the "novelty" factor, but I recommend playing it multiple times, trying different words to see what the outcomes might be (or even to find different paths to the same outcome.)


I like it, October 23, 2014
by Sobol (Russia)

The game clearly belongs to the escape-the-one-room genre. The winning ending - the one where you become a pirate - is hard to find, since there are so many red herrings: princes, witches, slippers, etc. But it feels very satisfying when you finally manage to free the player character from people who clip its wings, lock it in a cage and ridicule it.


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Light Fun, April 1, 2012
by Jim Kaplan (Jim Kaplan has a room called the location. The location of Jim Kaplan is variable.)
Related reviews: Emily short, one-room, short

Play it if: you're in the mood for bite-sized IF with a bit of innovation and Emily Short's trademark narrative voice.

Don't play it if: you're in the mood for something more ambitious, or if you're easily put off by gameplay that constrains player actions.

This is a curiosity: a non-linear game that feels linear. Emily Short's Glass tells a modified version of the Cinderella story from the point of view of the parrot. The objective is to use your limited speech skills at opportune moments to influence the story.

The one or two twists on the classic tale are interesting enough to make the game worthwhile by themselves, but perhaps the biggest draw (at least in concept) is the ability I influence the flow of things from a bird's-eye-view.

Unfortunately, I played Glass very soon after another conversation-based game, Whom The Telling Changed by Aaron Reed, and it blows Glass out of the water when it comes to the main gameplay mechanic. Choosing what to say and when to say it in that game required paying close attention to the story and constantly trying to interpret it subtextually. In contrast, getting to any of the endings in Glass feels more like an exercise in trial and error, and as such the gameplay is not as satisfying as it could have been.

Nevertheless, Glass is a good five-minute distraction with good writing and some engaging concepts. Now that the game's source code has been made public, it can also serve as an educational exercise by giving aspiring IF writers some insight into the inner workings of conversation- and scene-heavy games.


9 of 11 people found the following review helpful:
saw right through this one! just kidding, January 10, 2011
by Aintelligence (Canada)

Emily Short always has a knack of spinning fairy tales into a fantastic, twisted story. Glass is no exception. Instead of completely spinning the story (like Alabaster for example), the story is unique because instead of playing Cinderella, or the prince, or even the stepmother, the viewpoint is through the family parrot.

Even with the shortness of the story, the characters were well crafted and developed throughout. Through the whole game, the characteristics of the characters really come to life with the writing. Very quirky writing helps keep the story's plot with idle, but humorous chitchat creating a good backdrop. It is also short and charming enough that I played it numerous times.

The game is short and has a fairly simple idea, but the story itself is remarkably complex. Instead of puzzlezs or mazes, the story is entirely based on the powers of speech, in this case from a bird. It is really incredible to see the imagination put into this making a few simple phrases from the bird can cause so many different outcomes. Phrases are not exactly many, but there are enough provided, that no story will be completely the same. Also helpful (but ot really nessicery because of the short length), is the phrase hints which tell you what phrase may work here. Of course they do provide a way to find as many outcomes as possible.

Not too much was changed in this fairy tale, but with the extra backdrop, well crafted character and unique perspective, it was something new and exciting. Might I add it was very 'glassy'.


7 of 8 people found the following review helpful:
Short but interesting. , June 10, 2010
by tggdan3 (Michigan)

This game is particularly short. You are a parrot watching a conversation between the prince (from cinderella), and the stepmother/stepsisters. The fairy tale is assumed well known to the reader.

Like some of Short's other games, there are no puzzles per se, and the game is mostly about saying things and getting reactions from NPCs. This is done in a cute way here, considering you're a parrot and can't do much else.

However, the game includes at least two endings that I've found, which shows that even a parrot can find ways to affect the world around him.

The writing is cute, and the game is short. I'd say definately worth a play. As far as re-plays, you'll want to replay at least once to get the ending you didn't get last time.


9 of 10 people found the following review helpful:
A sarcastic and innovative confection, June 8, 2008
by Beekeeper
Related reviews: technique

As a bird in a cage witnessing the resolution of "Cinderella," the player is an observer with very limited control over unfolding events.

For me, the sidelining of the player and the corresponding independence of conversation created a potent illusion of a deep world. Beyond this, the game was made enjoyable by clear options, a good set of endings, the ability to mess with the characters, and wickedly droll humor. But these are just good craftsmanship, and icing on the cake; there really isn't much to Glass beyond a little experimental envelope-pushing with the player's role and choices. For players, this is maybe thirty minutes of entertainment, light as meringue.

For authors, it may be something more. Limiting the player's control of events is not new (cf. Rameses), but I believe that the illusion of depth produced here is a significant technical breakthrough for NPC interaction complementary to those explored in Short's Galatea (and faintly reminiscent of what was so successful about Bob in She's Got a Thing for Spring).

In any case, this little game is as gratifyingly virtuosic as it is trivial.



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