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About the Story
A twist on a sleepy old classic.
56th Place - 25th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2019)
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Number of Reviews: 2
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I enjoyed the fiction of Rip Retold. It was crafted with care and intent, preferring to fill out the story with subtle details instead of massive text dumps. I immediately got a sense of the relationship between Chester (the protagonist) and his brother. The story skips ahead through time, as youíd expect with the tale of Rip van Winkle, but thereís no heavy exposition between scenes.
Most of the passages have you clicking words or phrases to proceed to the next sequence, although sometimes you can follow links for more detail before returning to the flow of the story. A few options end the story early, but there are always options to go back and choose again, along with Twineís prominent ďgo backĒ button on the side of every screen.
The difficult part of telling this story through time-lapse is that the writingís subtlety can work against it. It's tough to understand everything happening the first time you read it.
(Spoiler - click to show)For example, Chesterís decision to take/leave the brooch. The story notes that you could make some money from selling it, but I didnít appreciate all the motivations at work until I flipped back and forth through the decision a few times. Getting enough money to save your brotherís leg leaves you stuck in a dead-end job in town for the rest of your life, while leaving it means that your brother loses his leg and you dedicate yourself to following in your fatherís footsteps and become a doctor because of it. It's a good setup, but I blundered through it.
The other problem with encouraging readers to pay close attention means that sometimes they assign importance to the wrong details. (Spoiler - click to show)When I read about Rip van Winkleís slick hair and pencil-thin mustache, I thought that he was OBVIOUSLY some kind of conman grifter, but now I think they were just details to emphasize how his hair got wild and overgrown during his twenty-year nap.
Looking at areas for improvement, Iím wondering whether bringing in the story of Rip van Winkle is necessary. This entry skips through the life of a boy growing into adulthood, and some of the choices alter his future and the community that he lives in. Thatís a fine premise for a story on its own.
On the other hand, Van Winkle went to sleep before the revolutionary war, as a subject of the king, and woke up after independence in a democracy. Thatís a big change! Including him in this story makes Chesterís transition feel much less dramatic.
This game is fairly straightforward design-wise and writing-wise. You are a kid that witnesses a modern-day Rip van Winkle fall asleep.
Instead of focusing on the dramatic event, the game talks about the repercussions over the years, the effect it has on the community.
It's a little too short to become involved with the characters, but I found the whole idea charming and a good reminder of the effects we can have on each other.
This is version 3 of this page, edited by JTN on 11 December 2020 at 6:49pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item