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A short, replayable board game-like Twine about insulting John Cage, October 6, 2020
So this game is something pretty rare for IFComp. It's laid out like a board game, with four different rooms and three independent characters who move around.
Discovering what this game was and what it's rules are was a great difficulty in and of itself. When the game begins, the only options you have are to wander around and insult John Cage. The only things you can do in other rooms is to turn the stove off or on or take a watch (which puts a timer up on the screen).
John Cage starts walking around, and sometimes you can ask him about events that happened. I learned that he got a message from a lawyer, and that was about it.
After dying, I read that I could get hints by clicking a book in the bookcase. But I didn't see any bookcase!
I finally turned to the hints, and discovered that the game requires very precise sequences of events and conversation to unlock more things. Many of those things involve a large group of identical objects, and you have to pick the right one, but the info on which one to pick is randomly given in different playthroughs and most playthroughs won't give you that knowledge.
The writing is sparse and terse, suiting the board game setup. The main goal of the game is antagonizing John Cage, which isn't motivated. Before IFComp, I was playing through all the Choice of Games published titles, and I noticed that games where you could be evil were popular, but only if motivated. Being a jerk without motivation is something very few people find appealing in a game.
This is heavily-modified Twine, and the visual presentation is the best part of the game in my opinion.
+Polish: The game is very polished visually.
-Descriptiveness: This game is terse and sparse.
-Interactivity: I had great difficulty in discovering how to engage with this game.
+Emotional impact: I felt annoyance during the game, but a lot of it was intentional by the author, so it succeeded in its goal!
-Would I play it again? I peeked at the possible endings, and I'm not sure I'd like to keep playing.