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by David Welbourn

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Opening Night

by David Batterham


(based on 28 ratings)
6 reviews

About the Story

You stepped off the streetcar moments ago, halting before the grand facade of the Marquis Theatre. You have come to see your idol, the Broadway star Miranda Lily, performing in all her dizzying glory. [blurb from IF Comp 2008]

Game Details


7th Place - 14th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2008)


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Number of Reviews: 6
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Most Helpful Member Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful:
Excellent, August 24, 2009

Opening Night starts out seeming like your average puzzle game (albeit with excellent prose). Your goal is to give a rose to Miranda Lily, star of the stage - your problem is getting past that obnoxious doorman. A couple simple puzzles take you past this problem, and then the game really begins to shine.
There are more puzzles, but the focus of the game really is on the story, as the author says in the "about" section.
I found the interweaving of memory and present startling and surreal, and the pacing is excellent. I gradually began to put the pieces together, painting a haunting picture, and the final revalation brings everything together in a sad and satisfying way.
There are no in-game hints, but they aren't really necessary. While I often look at hints at least once during a game, I never needed to during Opening Night.
The game is rather linear, but this never presented a problem, and perhaps actually enhanced the story to a degree (think Photopia). Overall an excellent, very satisfying, very polished work.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Your storyline, all decided before the curtain rises, January 3, 2023
by Lance Cirone (Backwater, Vermont)

Opening Night is so much more than it appears. It's a short game, taking me around 40 minutes, so please give it a try.

You are attending an opening night show for Miranda Lily, your favorite Broadway star. You've saved up for weeks with your pay from the factory, and you've got a rose ready to give to Miranda when you finally meet her in person.

Getting into the theater and intercepting the doorman who won't let you in because of the dress code requires some good ol' cartoony hijinks. I was expecting a similar silly tone from the rest of the game, but the performance sets the stage for something much deeper. Spoilers abound.

So many moments after (Spoiler - click to show)the intermission just had me ask "wait, what?" and "did I read that right?" It drove me to figure out the mystery and understand what was truly happening. The game weaves in flashback text with the current happenings, and time skips at key moments.

The game's biggest surprise would have to be that (Spoiler - click to show)Miranda is DEAD. She started acting in movies, which "stripped her of her immediacy, her presence, reduced her to the sum of her parts" and sent her into a downward spiral. She became an alcoholic and died. The fact that we came back to the theater just to remember the biggest day of our lives, before the place gets torn down. We spent weeks trying to build up the courage to give her the rose, because one in-person performance made us feel unworthy of her presence; and you get to put the wilted stem in a vase in Miranda's abandoned dressing room. It's a perfect bittersweet moment.

I couldn't believe it by the end. I was shocked. The way everything develops is outstanding. The puzzles are simple enough that you can solve them without hints, putting full focus on the story. I'd definitely recommend this one.

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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful:
Captivates the mind and the heart, July 27, 2009
by Dark-Star (Nebraska)

Beginning and ending with a man on a mission, Opening Night is a brief but captivating journey through the mind of a person trying to tie up a nagging loose end in his life while he is still able.

The story begins with the protagonist outside a theatre on the opening night of a play starring his love, Miranda Lily, hoping to grace her presence long enough to give the gift of a single rose. Unfortunately, his dilapidated apparel firmly bars him from gaining entrance and some ingenuity will be required to solve the problem.

So far, so average. But once the curtain goes up on Mz. Lily...it is then that the genius and literary prose of the game begin to shine. Revealing neither too much nor too little at once as the storyline progresses, the author draws you into the mind of an embittered man whose story may well strike a chord within yourself. As the last act of the game begins, one almost wishes to reach into the screen and put an arm around the individual who has been your eyes and ears for the duration.

The long and short of it: David Batterham has pulled off a five-star literary masterpiece. I not only give a standing ovation to Opening Night, but call for an encore as well. Superb!

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Opening Night on IFDB

Recommended Lists

Opening Night appears in the following Recommended Lists:

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Very late on Monday July 29, 2019, I published new walkthroughs for the games and stories listed below! Some of these were paid for by my wonderful patrons at Patreon. Please consider supporting me to make even more new walkthroughs for...

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The following polls include votes for Opening Night:

Sublime Moments by Sam Kabo Ashwell
I've been thinking about games that provide really brilliant moments. This is not about the overall quality of the game: there are plenty of excellent games that never deliver a clear, standout moment of unalloyed excellence. And surely...

This is version 4 of this page, edited by David Welbourn on 30 July 2019 at 11:18am. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item - Delete This Page