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About the Story
Living under the Stalin era, in four parts.
15th Place - 16th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2010)
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Number of Reviews: 6
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Most Helpful Member Reviews
In this game, you play through 4 separate vignettes. Each one is a short, description-heavy vignette of someone in Soviet Russia. The vignettes increase in the social status of the pc.
The game is fairly serious, with some elements of parody, intentional or not.
The gameplay is fairly smooth and polished. Many people have said in reviews that they couldn't finish the game; however, every scene can be completed by either repeating some repetitive task (such as waiting) or making sure to explore each area thoroughly. The way you die usually tells you what to do next time.
Despite the heavy-handedness, the game worked for me. The last scene had a large amount of strong profanity, so I don't think I'll play again.
Also, at one point the game seemed bizarrely broken until I realized that it was displaying chess notation.
Gigantomania is a fascinating piece written by an inexperienced but inventive IF designer. The 5.24 average rating it got in the IF Competition is completely undeserved: this game is worth playing and also worth thinking about. I cannot understand why anyone would give it a 4 or lower, which is apparently what almost 30% of the judges have done.
Gigantomania was entered in the same competition as The People's Glorious Revolutionary Text Adventure Game, with which it shares the theme of communism. Apart from that, the two games are polar opposites. Glorious is a highly polished light-hearted puzzle game that does not take its theme seriously and brings us nothing in the way of innovative design; Gigantomania lacks polish and smoothness, but it takes its theme very seriously indeed and experiments with the medium in quite unexpected ways. If the former is a slick Hollywood production, the latter is an experimental art house movie that sometimes works and sometimes does not.
This characterisation should give you a good idea of whether you want to play the game or not, which is the only thing I want to do in this review. Everything else I have to say about the game would be so full of spoilers that the IFDB is not the place to post it.
This is a piece about "living under the Stalin era, in four parts." I'm going to be a touch spoilery here, but just a touch. After all, I played this several times, but never lasted more than thirty moves, so I can't possibly be spoiling your immersive experience that much.
(Spoiler - click to show)I died of starvation once, but then I started plowing potatoes and grain like a mad man so that I'd be ready when they came to collect my share for Mother Russia. No matter how industrious I was, though, I was always pinned to the ground, called an enemy of the collective, an enemy of the people, an enemy of Russia, and killed. I'm not sure if it was a bug or what, because I always had more grain and potatoes than the game said I needed, even after feeding my dying wife whom I couldn't bring myself to euthanize... because somehow, someway, I knew we would survive.
Yes, life in Stalinist Russia is horrible, but you get a sense of this about ten or fifteen moves into the piece and the rest of the game is not terribly interesting after that. I mean, I admire the premise, and the ambition of it, but I think it could have been done in a more engaging way. Bit more of a plot. Bit more promise that the misery to come would at least be interesting misery. More than four beta testers next time, Michelle.
This wasn't bad, per se, it just wasn't good. If you're going to take us back in time and show us how miserable a certain period was, you have to make it engaging enough that people will actually want to stay in the Hell you've (re)created for them.
And I didn't get far enough into this one to figure out where the title came from, which made me sort of sad. But they kept killing me!
See All 6 Member Reviews
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