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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful:Thoughful and serious, February 28, 2011
by Victor Gijsbers (The Netherlands)
LASH is an intriguing game, and one of the must-play works of modern interactive fiction. (Must-play, that is, for those interested in the development of the medium.) It starts of as a traditional treasure hunt with a gimmick: rather than exploring the ruined building yourself, you are hooked up to a robot you can command around. This is not exactly a split between player and PC, as some reviewers have said; rather, what we traditionally call the PC has been split into two separate parts. The first part gets the roles of narratee and commander; the second part those of executioner and focal character, as well as the normally non-PC role of narrator. This is basically the same set-up as that in Fail-Safe.
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jflower, June 20, 2011 - Reply
(Spoiler - click to show) Escaping isn't the only way to end the slavery simulation.
Matt Wigdahl, February 28, 2011 - Reply
Nice to see you review this game, Victor! I take your point about the PC itself being split here, although I think an inescapable consequence of doing this is that the player ends up most strongly identifying with the "commander" role, as was also the case in Fail-Safe, and so it ends up looking something like a player/PC split in the end anyway.
A couple other comments:
(Spoiler - click to show)Does the game say that we _need_ to experience slavery in order to be changed, or is it just saying that the more you can immerse someone in the experience of slavery the quicker or more completely it will change them? Given that interpretation, LASH as an IF makes sense -- it can generate a more immersive experience than its equivalent as static fiction, and indeed might be the most powerful means O'Brian had at his disposal to deliver this experience. It at least isn't an inherently contradictory position, then.
Also, for me, the text dumps weren't a problem. Of course I'm one of the worst offenders in this area myself... (I'm working on it, I promise!)
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Victor Gijsbers, February 28, 2011 - Reply
It's probably always the case that the player will identify with the commander, because the player's actions are mirrored by those of the commander. (Unless what you type is not what appears on the screen, but that would grow tiresome very quickly.)
You're right about the experience (I'll keep this vague so I don't need spoiler tags). But even if the position might be made non-contradictory, it still seems too weak to me to justify the rather roundabout set-up of the game. If the author had just skipped the SF, there would have been fewer problems.
Text dumps -- I actually enjoyed both the initial "manual" of LASH and the vast help menu of Aotearoa. (That's from memory. Let's see whether I remember the name correctly!) However, the initial sequence of text in Aotearoa, even though it is much smaller than the whole help menu, put me off. And the diary in LASH, perhaps simply by being in-game, made me leave the game and make dinner. Perhaps I don't mind large swaths of text if they feel optional, but resent them when I know I have to plod through them to get on with playing the game?