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About the Story
An interactive ghazal-sonnet on love and longing, fire and passion.
55th Place - 22nd Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2016)
The Breakfast Review
Well, it looks like we're making a poem. We choose a combination of verb and adverb, and then a sonnet appears; our choice of action occurs in the final couplet, and the rest of the sonnet ... the rest of the sonnet makes no sense whatsoever. Are we supposed to hammer at this until it does make sense, or at least sufficient sense that we're satisfied? If so, I can see no way to get there, aside from randomly guessing at combinations of verbs and adverbs.
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Number of Reviews: 2
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The gameplay is extremely simple. Each turn, or "act," you choose two qualities from an action list and a manner list. For example, I could choose "fast" from the action list and "eagerly" from the manner list. The game then combines these two factors into a sonnet. The whole process repeats itself. You can make as many sonnets as you want and there is no ending. It ends when you no longer feel like playing.
The authors seem to take a reflective approach in the notes section of their game by explaining the process of cycling sonnets to tell a story. In this case, stories are produced gradually, and emerge through patient reiterations of sonnets formed by the player. According to the notes, an individual story cycle can easily involve the creation of a hundred sonnets (although less will work as well), and that the process of this would hopefully provide a centered and meditative experience. But from a practical standpoint, players are likely to only give this game a go for a few rounds, possibly not as much as the game intended. The sonnets are quite similar to each other at first glance. Carefully reading them reveals their differences, and within that, paints a story, but you have to feel compelled approach it slowly. I am not sure if players are going to stick with it. I tried for a bit, but it is easy to experiment with different word combinations without focusing on the sonnets that are produced from them.
The notes continue on and leave things open-ended. If you are curious to know more, read them and test the game out to see what you think.
Final thought: I liked the peach colour scheme with the pink links. It made things feel more stylized and complete.
I am a fan of poetry, but not generally of procedurally generated poetry, except for the Mary Jane of Tomorrow. This program generates random, disjointed ghazal-form poems based on some input.
I think more could have been, for instance with rhyming procedurally or otherwise using the stricter forms of Ghazal.