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Stalker horror--the author calls it "play-in-the-dark-ware." Very short, but effectively creepy--most of the thrill is not knowing what exactly is going on. That effect continues when the game's over, in fact, since it's far from clear what happens at the end, and the game ends pretty abruptly. If you like stalker horror, though, this is a good example of how IF can do that genre well.
-- Duncan Stevens
[...] All Alone is a short but well put together effort that adapts the horror genre to IF nicely, with some unusual elements. Give it a try if you have a spare 10 minutes late at night. (Duncan Stevens)
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This really is a 'mood piece', and should be played as one. Don't expect very much interactivity, or that the choices you do will have much effect on the final outcome (this is, after all, a horror story). The writing is generally good, and manages to convey an increasingly creepy atmosphere, though the parser is only adequate, with a bit too many unknown words. Many people find the ending a bit confusing, but it's not bad, really. All in all, this is a good, if somewhat flawed, mood piece. With a better parser and a better ending, it would have gained an extra star from me.
Note that the author suggests (or rather requires!) that the game be played at night, in a quiet room, and with the lights off. I agree, and also recommend you use an interpreter that supports sound (and no, there won't be any loud screams to scare you, just a few well-placed minor sound effects). The result should be an increasingly uncomfortable experience as the game progresses, which for this type of game is good thing!
All Alone actually scared me. Oh, it used a cheap trick to do it, but it was effective and very diegetic: my reaction of "Whaah! Oh, wait, how stupid to be scared by that" is exactly the same reaction the protagonist has in this situation.
What is good about All Alone is that it sets a mood and sets it well. It turns the player-character identification that some have seen as a drawback of IF into a great strength. This is how atmospheric horror ought to be done: claustrophobia, being alone, unexpected events. The uncapitalised out-of-viewpoint-character phrases were especially effective.
On the other hand, most of the story is very much clichéd, and the ending, which isn't, is its weakest part. I think this might have worked better as a game with a stronger puzzle content: you get to try and hide, and depending on how well you do it, you may live for a longer time -- perhaps even survive? Or perhaps not. There are possibilities for more suspense and anxiousness here.
Short and creepy ”literary” horror. You are a young female artist waiting for the break-through and recently moved into your boyfriend’s small, shabby apartment—just big enough that you can’t see all of it from any one place. It’s a dark and stormy night; a serial killer stalks the streets; you’re all alone. The phone rings.
Certainly worth reading … and re-reading! once or twice. The details of the story and even the length of the piece varies a bit depending on what you decide to do (there may be more to do than you think) and in what order. Writing is good, and, playing this all alone on a dark and stormy night, you’d better hope your phone doesn’t ring.
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