The Blind House

by Amanda Allen

2010

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Number of Reviews: 9
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2 of 15 people found the following review helpful:
Lesbian Noir, May 15, 2011
by AmberShards (The Gothic South)

Initially, The Blind House impresses you, artfully and graciously. The setting is dark, psychological, and constrained, yet sauced in delicious unease. The puzzles are also simple, at first, and even the ones which are not intrigue you instead of frustrate you. The layout of the screen features the game's graphic at the lower right and a graphical map at the lower left -- truly, a revolution in IF branding. Lastly, the main character's main current thoughts are floating just below the status bar. These game mechanics go a long way towards making TBH playable, and memorable, and cement the noir atmosphere.

Then the puzzles get less obvious and my interest wanes. The middle section takes too much time to unriddle and drains the prickly, panicky fear away. I'm also convinced that there's some sort of timing bug -- occasionally Marissa doesn't return (I waited until after 9 PM), and other times she returns after barely thirty moves. Originally, I thought that had Marissa returned earlier, the further revelations of the game would be avoided, but that was only wishful thinking.

The main character grows less likable as she becomes better defined; her thoughts hover upon indecency, and her jealousy of Estelle betrays her attraction to women (it's a jealous madness, but attraction nonetheless). Other scenes reveal this as well, and not in any subtle, interpretable way. The ending scenes make it completely clear. TBH is lesbian noir.

This casts a vomit-colored light upon the rest of the game. The middle section is Helena pawing through the private life of someone that she wishes was her lover. Even the introduction makes more sense -- why were the characters seemingly so close? (Spoiler - click to show)What actually happened last night, except for a lover's fight that turned deadly? The ending does succeed in wrapping things up, although it is anti-climactic, and it assumes a few things that you may not have done.

The writing in many places is taut, eerie, and evocative, but that in no way atones for requiring someone to live inside Helena's skin. That horror remains, like the memory of being deathly sick.