External Links

Have you played this game?

You can rate this game, record that you've played it, or put it on your wish list after you log in.

Playlists and Wishlists

RSS Feeds

New member reviews
Updates to external links
All updates to this page

Dining Table

by Leon Arnott


(based on 4 ratings)
1 review

About the Story

This is a dating sim.

Game Details


- View the most common tags (What's a tag?)

(Log in to add your own tags)
Tags you added are shown below with checkmarks. To remove one of your tags, simply un-check it.

Enter new tags here (use commas to separate tags):

Member Reviews

5 star:
4 star:
3 star:
2 star:
1 star:
Average Rating:
Number of Reviews: 1
Write a review

A plain dating sim with an eerie twist, August 30, 2022
by Kinetic Mouse Car
Related reviews: Horror, Twine

This is a story about an unusual and awkward dinner date. Actually, “unusual” and “awkward” are grave understatements. A woman named Marcia has roped you into a dinner date with Angie, a recent acquaintance. You just hope that things will not be too weird.

Marcia is introduced as "the host." She gives the impression of setting up two acquaintances on a date in her home and trying to walk them step-by-step through having a good time. Marcia's dialog is shown in extra-large all-caps text in bold to CONVEY THAT MARCIA HAS A STRONG, OVERBEARING, AND OVERLY ENTHUSIASTIC VOICE. Otherwise, things seem normal if tense. The gameplay consists of following Marcia’s cues and shuffling through generic conversation topics. This was not particularly interesting, but gradually new developments arise.

About halfway through the game it becomes apparent that something weird is going on, but it is not until after the date that we get a full explanation. We learn that (Spoiler - click to show) Marcia personally bathes the protagonist and Angie and sews them clothes, with Angie wearing a dress that was "tailored for a doll several inches taller than her." Now you know that these circumstances were abnormal. (Spoiler - click to show) An eyedropper descended to the table, silently offering refills for our glasses, but we both politely declined. Yep, definitely abnormal.

Story + Characters
Here is the twist that had me thinking "whoa, where did THAT come from?" Get ready. After the dinner date, the twist is that (Spoiler - click to show) Marcia's hobby is to sneak around collecting DNA from people to make mini clones that serve as her dolls. The clones manage to retain basic memories of their originals, but the originals are unaware that this is happening. As for the clones, all they can do is suck it up make a life out of their situation. Marcia builds dollhouses for her clones, seven total. The protagonist is a clone. So is Angie. I realized that the appearance of Marcia's dialog was not just to suggest that she has a loud voice. It is to (Spoiler - click to show) highlight the fact that she is a standard sized human (I think) whereas the protagonist and Angie are the dolls dwarfed by Marcia. It almost reminds me of Finding Nemo (random film spoiler) where (Spoiler - click to show) the fish are overwhelmed when children bang on the aquarium glass in the dentist’s office. This added a sci-fi horror element to the story that motivated me replay the game for new insights on details that I overlooked. Sure enough, the implications of (Spoiler - click to show) what goes on during the dinner date are intensified now that you now that the protagonist and Angie are clones designed for Marcia’s entertainment.

The story also throws one last twist at the player: The protagonist is (Spoiler - click to show) secretly in love with Marcia. Obsessed, even. This was not obvious in the gameplay and is only revealed right at the end. The game also says that (Spoiler - click to show) Marcia is planning on making a clone of herself for the other clones to interact with, but the protagonist knows that only the original will do. And on that note, the game ends a bit abruptly. I felt like this was a big development to reveal in the story, but the gameplay stretches just long enough to entertain these thoughts before the protagonist falls asleep. I was almost expecting a “chapter two” to explore this new development. Furthermore, like other Twine games I have encountered, it just ends with a (Spoiler - click to show) frozen screen. There is no "the end" or "credits" that affirm that the game is over. It just ends by saying, "And dream of vast dancing hands and quivering hills of hair until the morning." When this occurs in Twine games I sometimes wonder if I merely stumbled across a broken link. With Dining Table, it is clear enough to determine that the game is finished but this made it feel rough around the edges.

Visual design
The backdrop is an ornamental pattern that reminds me of a cross between outdated wallpaper and elaborately patterned napkins that people only use for special occasions. In this case, perfect for a dinner date. The text is placed on a light cream coloured square through which you can barely see the patterned background, providing a nice contrast. This was a good look for this game that added polish and made it more memorable than if it were just a plain background. It gives the game an extra boost that makes up for weaker areas of the game.

Final thoughts
The gameplay is nothing exceptional. The dinner date is delightfully weird yet lackluster in content. But the underlying horror sci-fi theme of (Spoiler - click to show) secret clones being made into demented Polly Pocket dolls add a dimension that I was not expecting when I went to play this game. I feel that this twist is the strongest part of the game. I also liked how the author conveys (Spoiler - click to show) a story about two characters trying to make a normal situation (going on a dinner date) out of an extremely abnormal one (being observed by a giant woman who controls every interaction). The downside is that the game ends just as the plot thickens. Nonetheless, playing this game has been an interesting experience and I think players out there may appreciate its surreal humor.

Was this review helpful to you?   Yes   No   Remove vote  
More Options

 | Add a comment 

This is version 2 of this page, edited by Leon Arnott on 15 December 2013 at 1:26am. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item - Delete This Page