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About the Story
A gamified love song to J. Alfred Prufrock and T. S. Eliot. Walk through half-deserted streets and muttering retreats, listen to odd conversations, and take in the evening. You only have 60 seconds, but don't worry— in a minute there is time for decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.
Entrant - SeedComp! - 2023
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“…those were the days of roses, of poetry and prose…”
Tom Waits - Martha
A poem draws the reader into the mood. A loner, anxious, on the sidelines. Choice anxiety, overwhelmed by a myriad options.
The poem, in its closing verse, promises comfort, soothing. A chance to see all options. Choice without choosing for it will all be turned back on itself.
Beautiful well-chosen prose drops you in the middle of a scene. A multitude of scenes, theatre stages next to each other to wander through. The setting is an expansion of Eliot’s The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, with its oyster bar, its foggy streets,…
But there! There is time. A minute counting back… Pressure to explore!
Until the minute has passed and all is restored, ready to revise.
The repetition renders the sixty seconds pressureless, devoid of tension. In effect, you have a free-floating minute, disconnected from external time and causation.
The result is a narratively empty (isolated from cause-effect, plotless), exploration-rich discovery of relations between locales and passages of text, streetlamp-lit alleys and overheard conversations. An endlessly revising everlasting minute wherein to choose all options and be returned to poetry.
A captivating, mindful experience.
This game takes several TS Eliot poems and combines them with some original poetry (which fits in quite well and is lovely).
It uses a stressful mechanic: a giant countdown clock in the background ticks down one minute's worth of time. Once it's over, something special happens (and is a pretty neat trick).
I like the overall vibe T.S. Elliot's work, having encountered it once in high school and again in Graham Nelson's Curses!. There's a lot of parts of his work I dislike, but this game has great chunks in it that work well. The frantic race to see things leads to quick reading and moments of 'huh, what was that??' that were fun. I guess it was the opposite of timed text; instead of the author telling me how long it will take me to read a passage, I get to go at any rate I want through the game with just the overall experience being timed.
I played through three or four restarts until I saw everything I thought I could see. I don't know if there's a canonical ending, but my game ended with a lengthy race against the clock with a piece of actual timed text that made me feel like I was some person at the end of their life just watching the last bits of daily existence before floating away.
Overall, the game is polished, descriptive, has a nice interactive twist, drew me in, and I played it several times.
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