Opening Night

by David Batterham


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Number of Reviews: 6
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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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Andrew Schultz, January 5, 2023 - Reply
This is one game that'd been on my radar off and on. So I appreciate the notes and also the spoiler tag. There are a lot of them that lead up to a performance, and I'm still impressed by the ways it can be done.

Also, more generally, thanks for all your recent contributions to IFDB to keep it lively! I probably won't be explicitly saying "thanks, I meant to look at that" for every one you cover, and I bet there are other people who are thinking the same thing, too.
Lance Cirone, January 6, 2023 - Reply
Hey, thanks! I love your games and reviews, too! I've been playing IF for about a year now (I started with Nord and Bert in December 2021), and finished about 30 games by the time I joined IFDB. I started reviewing them in June 2022, so I only had reviews written for about half of them.

Right now, I'm working on porting over my old reviews and polishing them (like Cragne Manor or Pytho's Mask), writing new ones for games I've played in the past (like Max Blaster), or even trying out new games and doing fresh reviews (like Suveh Nux and Not the Lord of the Rings). It's a bit of work, but it feels rewarding.

I'm pretty careful about spoilers in my reviews! IFDB reviews are usually good at handling them, and after I finish a game, I like to go back and read the spoiler-y reviews.
Andrew Schultz, January 11, 2023 - Reply
Thanks for the nice words and we're glad to have you around! I noticed you had a review of one of my games up but I admit I try to take 24 hours to respond to a review, positive or negative, and it got lost in the shuffle. (Don't worry about looking for it. I'll go back eventually.)

I'd been meaning to write more reviews for a while, but after I vanished for most of IFComp 2020, I decided I wanted to try to write as many reviews as possible for IFComp 2021. I managed to get through with them. So that felt good. And I kept on a roll, but there are still so many gaps I want to fill in, stuff from before 2000 I haven't played.
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