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June 1998, Sydney

by Kastel profile


Web Site

(based on 8 ratings)
3 reviews

About the Story

(Cover Photo: Christopher Burns)

Your family is moving in, whether you like it or not.

Year 1998. 499 words. A double entry for Anti-Romance Jam 2023 and Neo-Twiny Jam.

Game Details


Entrant - Neo-Twiny Jam

16th Place, Best in Show - The IF Short Games Showcase 2023


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Number of Reviews: 3
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A too-fleeting glimpse of a life, January 29, 2024
by EJ

June 1998, Sydney is a short narrative about a Chinese Indonesian woman living in Australia whose family moves in with her after anti-Chinese riots in Indonesia force them out of their home. Her white girlfriend then dumps her for being unwilling to come out to her family, hurling a racist insult as a parting remark.

Many people seem to have found it resonant and moving, so I'm a bit of an outlier here; my opinion should probably be taken with a grain of salt. But to me, the 500-word limit of the Twiny Jam did this narrative a disservice. You get very little background on the main character, her relationship with her family, or her relationship with her girlfriend; the player is more or less launched straight into a conversation with the girlfriend that escalates from "hello" to total bridge-burning in the space of three or four exchanges. (I also couldn't really tell where on the scale of "blindsided" to "long aware that something like this was coming" the PC was in all this.) Then there's a brief scene with the family watching television coverage of the riots; then it's over.

I can feel bad for the character in the abstract; it is clear that she's dealing with a lot. I can fill in some of the emotional blanks from personal or secondhand experience (and others would be able to fill in even more). But to me, this 500-word vignette doesn't paint a clear picture of a person or a situation or a particular tangle of emotions; it's just a series of events moved through so briskly and with so little detail that it's hard to really feel the emotional punch.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Solidly written game about love and prejudice, July 28, 2023
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes

This game was written for the Neo Twiny Jam in 500 words or less.

It uses a mild amount of branching and a few other text techniques to tell the story of an Australian who immigrated from Jakarta. While the rest of the family is preoccupied with political unrest, the protagonist is interested in love.

While not long, it is well written and presents some interesting facets of life that I wasn't previously aware of, and it looks good while doing it.

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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
The Merging of Different Worlds…, July 15, 2023
by manonamora
Related reviews: neotwinyjam

In May of 1998 1 , riots erupted in Jakarta, resulting in of the diaspora of Chinese Indonesians towards, among others, Australia. This is an important context to understand the situation of the main character and her family.
As the broken family settles in their new home, a strange dynamic forms, leaving the main character in a sort of emotional limbo state, avoiding acts that could tip the balance of this fragile situation the wrong way.
It is heartbreaking.

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