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About the Story
The dazzle of the theatre: the footlights, the bows, the adoring crowd! It's your job, as a tech crew member, to make sure that the actors and, especially, the actresses, get enough of that. Not for you the ten-minute standing ovation; your lot is to deal with pushy stage managers, issues with the fly tower, and a bartender who, no matter what, flat-out refuses to give you free drinks. Even when you could really use one. Especially when you could really use one...
46th Place - 22nd Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2016)
The Breakfast Review
"Theatre People" is a fairly simple game about negotiating backstage theatre politics to get the show on the road. By "simple", I mean that the design and implementation is functional and workmanlike, with very few pyrotechnics thrown in. Really, there's just the one "quest", to fix the curtain so it will actually go up. Kind of apropos, if you think about it. There is also a side quest involving the lead actress, which is optional.
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This game is actually exactly what a great short game looks like about 1/2 to 3/4 of the way through the writing process. There is a good storyline with side bits, the main walkthrough is implemented, there aren't that many bugs, but it isn't really all the way there: there are some descriptions that were written quickly and need revising, many objects are unimplemented, conversations need more topics, and all of the thousand little responses for standard actions and wrong attempts need to be added.
This game is mostly about fixing the curtain so the stage can go up. It does a good job of characterizing the different individuals involved.
Theatre People does not have bugs or typos. It has a clear goal with straightforward solutions and good character development. The puzzles are intuitive but not too easy. The writing is not too wordy, nor too sparse. It should be a solid game but... there's just something missing. I just never felt motivated to care about the protagonist, or the theatre. The game felt tedious at every turn and wandering about the theatre felt like walking miles even though it's only a few rooms. It's hard to describe but although technically nothing is wrong with it, I just didn't enjoy this game.
For your consideration: XYZZY-eligible individual puzzle by MathBrush
This is for suggesting games released in 2016 which you think might be worth considering for Best individual Puzzle in the XYZZY awards. This is not a zeroth-round nomination. The category will still be text-entry, and games not...