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About the Story
And old-school love story set where else but in France.
77th Place - 24th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2018)
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Number of Reviews: 3
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I have little interest in policing the boundaries of IF. Yet I'm willing to state that Linear Love should not have been entered into the interactive fiction competition, since it is not interactive by any reasonable standards. The piece is simply a short story about a guy(?) who falls in love with a French girl until their very happiness weakens the attraction. The text is presented in a rather unusual way: rather than scrolling down to read more, in this particular piece you have to scroll up. (You can also scroll sideways indefinitely, but this serves no purpose.) The difference between scrolling up and scrolling down surely does not map onto the difference between traditional and interactive fiction.
However, there was one, perhaps unintended aspect of the piece that actually made reading it an interesting experience to me. If you right-click and press “Escape”, you are suddenly in an environment where you can select different portals to different stories. I quickly got stuck in the steel door of a Panopticon, unable to move any way. This wasn’t particularly entertaining, unless one interprets it as a parable about getting through the prose of Foucault. (For the record, I like Foucault. I just don’t always like his prose.) But what interested me was that I wasn't entirely sure where the boundaries of Linear Love lay. Was it just the original story, and was using the escape option a way of leaving the work and entering other works? Or was it all one whole, an entire universe of stories hidden behind the tale of linear love? It made me realise that the IF community still has a relatively traditional conception of a work, even though digital environments allow for much more vagueness and flexibility.
Linear Love is a short and sad love story. It is, as the title says, quite linear. You navigate through the story by pressing the arrow keys or the WASD keys. The walkthrough says that clicking will work, but it's counterintuitive (you click in the direction opposite that of where you want the text to go - see the next paragraph) and so kind of hard to use.
The navigation is unusual and took some getting used to. You're essentially moving the text "Reader One" around on the screen, even when that text appears to remain stationary in the middle. Thus, for example, in order to make the text look like it's moving down, you have to press the up arrow key.
You don't have choices to make in Linear Love, as far as I can tell. You interact with it by pressing the cursor keys to (effectively) scroll through the text.
The love story is interesting, but there's just not much to it, or much interactivity.
One of the most intriguing aspects of this game, though, occurs when (Spoiler - click to show)you right-click on the screen and select "Escape." This opens an interface of some sort where it appears you can play with snippets of other games written by the author. These all involve using the arrow keys to navigate through pieces of text, with different events triggering when different pieces of text come in contact with each other.
I played with one of these for a while and eventually found a hermit in a desert cave, and then a story about killer plants. After that I jumped off a cliff in order to die and be resurrected and obtain eternal life. And then I stopped.
I do not know if this was an intended Easter egg or a bug, but it was kind of entertaining. Also, it's a really neat mechanic and one that I hope the author makes more use of in the future.
This was a game meant to show off a particularly interesting engine, but which may not have been the best choice to show it off.
Glyffe lets you navigate (using arrow keys) around a text on screen, with interactions happening when you run over something. There are interesting Glyffe 'worlds' with red FIRE and grey WALLS and DOORS that you can physically interact with.
But this game is just a long text, where running over a paragraph makes the next pop up. The text is interesting, but the interactivity of this example wasn't sold to me.