The Chronicler

by John Evans


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Number of Reviews: 5
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A small game with a cut-off story about time travel, June 21, 2016

This game came in last place the year it came in IFCOMP because the author revealed that it was incomplete.

However, as an incomplete game, it is better than quite a few completed games. You play as a researcher exploring an odd facility in space. A blast of energy transports them to an area with a time travel device.

The game is short, and the backstory is never developed. The time travel mechanic has confusing rules about where you appear, but overall, I enjoyed this game. The writing is descriptive. John Evans is known for writing great but unfinished games, so if you like this one, check out the others.

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
Less Awful Than You Might Think, November 17, 2013
by matt w (Matt Weiner) (Burlington, VT)

This is a Crap Underimplemented Game. That's pretty much its genre. There's never a description where "You see nothing special about the X" will do, and you're lucky to get that. This isn't a good thing; it necessarily limits immersion, occasionally gets in the way of understanding what's going on, and breaks any trust in the author one might have thought of having.

But "The Chronicler" is not entirely lacking in merit. For one, despite what the author says about its unfinished state, it can be played to an ending. For another, it's actually reasonably possible to get to that ending. The puzzles are fair -- no guess the verb that I can remember -- and, unlike many a better game, they revolve around a consistent central mechanism that's rather clever: (Spoiler - click to show)You can travel back and forth between two moments in time, and changes you make in the past affect what you can do in the future. This isn't the first game to use this mechanism, but it's reasonably well implemented and reveals itself fairly.

In the end, I found the mechanism engaging enough that I played the game all the way through and got a half hour of decent diversion from it. This is more than I can say of some objectively better games. The author ought to spend a lot more time polishing things, implementing scenery, and either finishing the things he's left unfinished (some alternate endings and a hint of plot) or excising them from the game completely. But I didn't find it a complete waste of my time. That exceeded my expectations.

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Interesting premise, but unfinished and quite rough, October 22, 2013
by streever (America)

The game that exists isn't bad: there is an interesting premise with the buttons/switch/time travel concept, but unfortunately it seems to lack any resolution or ending.

The rooms that do exist are not implemented very well--they are sparse and lacking in interactivity.

A frustrating experience as it currently stands. I don't know that there is much value in playing this with so many issues. There may be an ending, but owing to frustration from failed attempts at interacting, I moved on.

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Unfinished and should not have been released, April 14, 2013

The Chronicler has a great title, and an author whose e-mail address ends in, and some of the initial writing is decent, but upon actually playing the game, I started to see gaps in its implementation. I then checked out the ABOUT text:

Chronicler is a short game for the Interactive Fiction Competition 2010. Unfortunately, due to time constraints it's only half finished, or perhaps three-quarters. I can only hope that you'll find some amusement from the manipulations of objects it affords, while apologizing for the shortness of the experience.
And that was when I quit. Thanks for wasting a few minutes of my evening, Mr. Evans. You might have gotten higher than a 1 had you not actually admitted that you knew (you knew!) that what you were entering wasn't comp worthy.

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
An unfinished game, November 28, 2010
by Kevin Jackson-Mead (Boston)
Related reviews: IF Comp 2010

Itís not a good sign that the help says: ďUnfortunately, due to time constraints itís only half finished, or perhaps three-quarters. I can only hope that youíll find some amusement from the manipulations of objects it affords, while apologizing for the shortness of the experience.Ē It has a standard sci-fi type of setting, but I never mind that, being a sci-fi fan. However, after not having much motivation, seeing various unimplemented things (scenery, verbs), and getting an error, I kind of lost interest. I really tried to force myself to play a little more, but I was unable. Given all the marks against it, I just couldnít care about the game and certainly didnít want to invest any energy in it. Maybe I didnít give the game a fair shake, but if it starts out admitting that itís unfinished, why should I put in the effort?

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