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About the Story
How you win or lose matters. Well, how you lose. And how they win. Don't worry--there are only so many ways to let the kid win. It's a simple game. An adult did the same for you once, sort of. Time to pass it on.
50th place - 27th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2021)
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Number of Reviews: 2
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I was playing through all the IFComp games that are in inaccessible formats, and I thought I got them all. But then I saw this game and was surprised. This is a raw python file, and games like that almost never get reviews in the comps and tend to place lower down. As one of IFComp's most successful long term participants, Schultz would know it, which was my surprise.
But it's not always about crushing the competition, which is exactly the point of this game. You play as an adult who sees a kid playing tic tac toe. As a kid, you always had a 'draw' with other kids, and if they let you win, you got mad. But once, you won a game because the other player missed something, and you want to recreate that experience for the child.
I'll admit, I was mystified at first, and just played regular old tic tac toe games. It reminded me of Infinite Adventure in this comp, just repeating the same old interactions over and over (in this case, endless games of tic-tac-toe). But then I finally got it, and the game became a lot of fun. I first solved it the easiest way, and then I solved it the hardest way. I wasn't sure I had gotten everything, so I checked the walkthrough and saw I had done what was intended. I didn't go through and do all the other variations, because I felt satisfied.
This is a pretty small game, but:
+Polish: It was very polished
-Descriptive: There's some meaningful text trappings, but it's mostly a puzzle with some bare-bones story
+Interactivity: The puzzle was intriguing and thoughtful
+Emotional impact: I loved the motivation for the puzzle and enjoyed putting myself in the protagonist's shoes
+Would I play again? This was a very smooth experience.
I played this game in the hopes that I would be better at understanding tic-tac-toe than the author's chess-based offerings.
Reading other reviews I see there is more than meets the eye... unfortunately I am still bad at this sort of thing, but I understand the concept, which is definitely interesting. After cheating with the walkthrough for the first move, I managed to solve it.
The interface is simple enough and workable but I would have preferred color for the Xs and Os on the grid. I'm glad to hear that the author plans to add that in an updated version.
I originally found a game-crashing bug that was fixed early in the competition, but it seems that I had an old copy of the game, and that the error was fixed early during the competition.
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Games where deliberately losing/dying/losing an item advances the plot by Andrew Schultz
The meaning of "deliberately" can be a bit broad, but I'm wondering about cases where an action clearly marked risky or fatal helps you see something or progress, and you would not have otherwise. I'm not thinking so much about where,...