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Number of Reviews: 3
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This is not a good game. It is almost certainly written by someone who has never written IF before, and it was presumably not beta-tested: as evidence, I point to the woeful underimplementation. In addition, there is nothing for the player to do. The story, about a man who has argued with his wife, tells itself as you walk through the rooms and examine the few objects that the author has bothered to implement. You end the piece by picking something up.
So, the basic criticism is: there is nothing to do. Nothing.
And yet. The plot revolves about a revelation, namely, what the argument was really about. The player may understand this anywhere between the first and the next-to-last room, but the careful reader will notice that the protagonist/focal character has already understood it when the game begins, but isn't quite ready to admit it to himself. So what we are witnessing here is one of those quiet moments when you let something sink in.
Of course there is nothing to do. We're watching something sink in.
That still doesn't entirely convince me that this piece is better as IF than it would have been as traditional fiction, and it certainly doesn't excuse the sloppy implementation. Still -- as an attempt to render a rather subtle state of mind, it deserves some credit.
The first line of Argument placed the PC as “standing in front of a broken mirror just after midnight.” It was a promising first line, brimming with unanswered questions. Already, I was hooked.
Turns out the broken mirror is the result of an argument with the PC’s wife. That took away from the originality I had envisioned at first, but the writing was still good, so I continued on playing. After exploring the first few rooms (which I found to be grossly under implemented), I was hard-pressed to find any puzzles. There were no locked doors, nothing lost, and nothing in need of being found. Except, there was still the matter of the wife who had left in a fit of fury. So, I assumed the puzzles- less beginning was simply a prelude to the action to come. Oh, how I was wrong.
There is nothing to be done beyond the house and there are only two objects that actually serve to advance the story somewhat. I found the objects in logical order, so the ending I received made some sense. Then, I replayed the game and purposefully passed by the first object - (Spoiler - click to show)the receipt -, receiving the same exact ending. Without knowledge of the first object, the ending was logically impossible. So, there is only one ending and the only thing you need to do to get to it is to pick up a single item.
The ending itself is painfully cliché. Yes, it may be true to life, but it’s also true to soap operas. However, the writing is error-free and rather smooth. I’d like to see future games from the author that are longer and better-implemented. Unfortunately, this one was a flop.
The first line is chilling and evocative, which makes what comes after a plunge into the mundane. The lower-cased room names and the minimal room descriptions suggest the feeling of loss, and the character's inability to put together obvious clues suggest his frame of mind. The lack of objects and their responses continue this tone. The room descriptions reveal the story in reverse -- a neat trick. On the whole, this works; it's just a bit too soap-opera-ish.
Is all well that ends well? Depending on how much you've explored, the violently short ending is either ironic or extremely ironic. The author doesn't use this setup to bash men though, so that's a nice surprise. Still, it feels too minimal.
With that aside, the game holds together well, emotionally. It is short because it needs to be short; it could have been long only as farce. The only detractors are a few grammar problems, a little vagueness about what to do next, and the brevity of the ending. The Argument is not revolutionary, but it does capture a moment in time fairly well.