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Wet Hot American Summer + The Birds + Inception = Birdland, July 27, 2017
‘Birdland’, simply put, is one of the most entertaining interactive fiction games I have ever played. Margaret, the protagonist, navigates a technology restrictive summer camp during the day, and at night she must enact parody-like rhetorical scenarios in her dreams for an audience of bird-people with a robotic understanding of the English language.
(Spoiler - click to show)A highlight for me was the pirate dream scenario. It’s not often I have actual laugh-out-loud moments while reading IF, so it really took me by surprise to find myself guffawing heartily at the mechanical remarks of Pirate-Margaret’s bird-person first mate.
The actual mechanics of the game were engaging and really helped build intrigue in the plot. As the two plots (the real world and the dream world) slowly became more closely intertwined, the mood-check meter began forcing me down interesting paths, and in fact took the plot in a different direction than I had intended. Although a bit unsettling, this feature proved to be both an effective method of incorporating interactivity, and of mediating the truth of consequence.
This story, to me, demonstrates what interactive fiction should be: entertaining, though-provoking, surreal at times, and re-playable. I truly felt as though my decisions had palpable influence on the progression of the story, and I look forward to re-playing ‘Birdland’ soon.