Number of Reviews: 6
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More fun than I expected, March 5, 2008
This IF Comp entry may be a little gimmicky, but the gimmick definitely worked for me. What's not to like about a story that features a teddy bear as a protagonist?
A Bear's Night Out (ABNO) is Mr. Dyte's first released work, and it has the feel of a first work -- a little rough around a few edges, a sense that maybe more effort was spent on code than prose. Nonetheless, the main character seems to touch a soft spot in the hearts of most people, and this -- coupled with the consistent but novel logic of the teddy bear universe -- is what makes the piece stand out.
ABNO's fifth place finish in the 1997 IF Comp is a testament to the quality of Mr. Dyte's originality and style, as is the game's receipt of the "Best Setting" XYZZY Award for that year. Lest you think this piece is all gimmick and no meat, note that it was a finalist for "Best Game", as well, and that fans of the story have taken the time to translate it into both German and Spanish.
I do think this game would be suitable for a children's story, assuming the child has some capacity for sustained problem-solving and perhaps the over-the-shoulder advice of a few family members. Only one puzzle seemed likely to stump a group of players for any length of time; be prepared to use the gentle in-game hint system to avoid the bad kind of frustration, if needed.
Though I give it only three stars overall ("good, not great"), it is one of the more memorable stories I've played. I do recommend that you try this game, particularly when you are feeling young-at-heart.