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 FeedsNew member reviews
Updates to downloadable files
All updates to this page
About the StoryOh no, the old family curse has flared up!
This is a short story about limits to action.
Emily Short's Interactive Storytelling
A story of irresistible compulsion. The protagonist is cursed to have to move consistently north, a trip that sends him through many surprising situations to an inevitable conclusion. More haunting than traditionally scary — not to mention massively linear — but well-written and a memorable experience.
See the full review
|Average Rating: |
Number of Reviews: 4
Write a review
Most Helpful Member Reviews
Obviously this game is working for me on levels I didn't initially understand.
You play as a character under a curse who can only walk north (well, almost only walk north). As a result, you have next to zero agency, and playing the game consists mainly of reading about scenes that you're traveling through. Scenes that you cannot participate in.
A huge component in the game is seeing, at every step, exciting new events and locations, and knowing that they are untouchable. This is a clever subversion of parser gameplay, but it's also the reason for my original three-star rating. I felt as though there was nothing to do, that the game could've been a short story instead.
I was wrong.
This game has a single puzzle. On my first playthrough I didn't solve it. I didn't even realize it existed. A short story could not have this puzzle. A hypertext game couldn't have it either, because a hyperlink would announce the solution, and solving the puzzle requires mentally adjusting your approach to the game after it has drilled its "go north" command into your head. It has to be presented in the parser format to work.
Another reason it couldn't be static fiction is because, in that case, you wouldn't feel the tension of wanting to interact with anything. The potential, even if not the implementation, of interactivity must exist in order for the player to feel thwarted.
Now I'm giving this game five stars because I've come to the realization that it succeeds exactly in what it wants to do, and furthermore, its content is fused to its medium. It's a game that does still seem like a short story in the sense that it invites the occasional replaying/rereading, but it's also 100% a game.
And the writing is great too.
The family curse has activated. If you do not go north, you will die.
The Northnorth Passage plays around with restricted actions, and this is what makes it so extraordinarily suited for the parser, because the parser gives the impression of freedom, yet you can only really do one thing. Obeying the parser, though, brings you through a series of self-contained scenes, colourful and detailed; Wilson's writing sparks with life, with the kind of evocativeness reminiscent of Sunless Sea.
Yet, in each scene, you must forever remain at arm's length. In this sense, it is similar to dynamic fiction, the term coined to describe linear games which nevertheless require the player's interaction and participation to reveal the story. The PC's travel north also seems to reflect the passing of time (the movement over swathes of space and time reminded me of Victor Ojuel's Pilgrimage).
There was a very, very clever move right at the end of the game - an invisible puzzle, if you'd like - which wrapped it up perfectly. If I were to mention a game with a similar move, it would be very spoilery, but there is one...
Originally published here: https://verityvirtue.wordpress.com/2016/01/30/the-northnorth-passage/
However, it is all for naught. The family curse has activated in you, so that any action besides GO NORTH will cause your death. Time and again, it seems like some other action is needed, but only GO NORTH is allowed.
This is amusing, and would not work nearly as well in a short story. This exact feeling of helplessness is unique to an interactive format, and it's a welcome effect.
See All 4 Member Reviews
If you enjoyed The Northnorth Passage....
Related GamesPeople who like The Northnorth Passage. also gave high ratings to these games:
|The Blind House, by Amanda Allen|
Average member rating: (36 ratings)
I scarcely know the woman at my side. I don't even know why she was the one I turned to. I can only hope that we haven't been followed, that she won't ask too many questions. The only choice left to me now is to trust her.
|Snowquest, by Eric Eve|
Average member rating: (43 ratings)
You've been on your quest so long you've almost forgotten what it is all about, but now you are nearing your destination -- if only you can stay alive long enough in this frozen wilderness to reach it.
|500 Apocalypses, by Phantom Williams|
Average member rating: (21 ratings)
500 Apocalypses is a web installation memorializing collapsed civilizations from across our universe. This interactive space is designed to allow contemplative engagement with five hundred curated entries from the Encyclopedia...
Recommended ListsThe Northnorth Passage. appears in the following Recommended Lists:
Great "lunchtime length" games by MathBrush
These are games that can generally be completed in 30 minutes or less. Some can be completed much faster. Included in this list are games that have multiple endings that can individually be reached quickly. It also includes several Twiny...
PollsThe following polls include votes for The Northnorth Passage.:
Games about travel by penguincascadia
This list is for games either about travel or with travel as a major part of the plot or background. Stuff like being able to choose where you go from a relatively wide range of destinations, road trips, exploring a city or region as a...
Best Short Games (5-60 minutes) by Sasha Davidovna
I'm pretty new to IF and am having a lot of fun, but in between a toddler and a job and other real life stuff, I'm having trouble finding time to finish many of the longer games I want to play. Can you please recommend me some fun and/or...
This is version 15 of this page, edited by Zape on 27 January 2020 at 6:04pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item