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The Insect Massacre

by Tom Delanoy

2015

(based on 11 ratings)
3 reviews

About the Story

A short murder mystery set aboard a space station.


Game Details

First Publication Date: October 1, 2015
Current Version: Unknown
Development System: Twine
IFID: Unknown
TUID: gjx2wplac3c9559

Awards

37th Place - 21st Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2015)

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Member Reviews

5 star:
(0)
4 star:
(1)
3 star:
(6)
2 star:
(3)
1 star:
(1)
Average Rating:
Number of Reviews: 3
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Mystery on a space station that requires multiple short playthroughs., November 13, 2021
by Wade Clarke (Sydney, Australia)
Related reviews: choice-based, Twine, IFComp 2015, science fiction, mystery

(This is an edited version of a review I originally wrote for my blog during IFComp 2015.)

The Insect Massacre is a Twine hyperlinks game about which it's possible to expose little more than the blurb if one is to avoid specific spoilerdom. That blurb is:

"A short murder mystery set aboard a space station."

The title is explained in a neat way which I will also not explain here. This review will be incredibly coy by my standards.

I found the game's mystery intriguing. The events of the story are concrete enough to provoke speculation, but blurry enough around the edges so as to ward off absolute explanation. Multiple plays are required to investigate multiple angles. Each session requires little time.

The game's aesthetic delivery was beguiling on the first playthrough, if a bit confusing in terms of indicating who was speaking in each scene. The speech is effected with colour-coded names matched to coloured lines of text. My proper gripe is that on the second and subsequent plays, the unskippable Twine delays, pauses and fade-ins that were enforced on material I'd already read felt pointless and tedious. Text is basically not a temporal delivery vehicle like music or film, especially text in a branching story.

Fortunately, The Insect Massacre is short enough that even on replays it isn't too hurt by its eternally slowly-fading-in text. It is particularly good at making the player guess at the implications of the choices it presents, and not because the choices are at all vague, but because of carefully deployed elements of the game once again not discussed in this coy review.


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
An entirely dialogue-based sci-fi Twine game about a space station murder, February 3, 2016
by MathBrush
Related reviews: IF Comp 2015

This was an IFComp 2015 entry. This is a mid-length Twine game with an interesting format: each page is written somewhat like a play, listing the location and people present, each in their own color. Then dialogue appears a line at a time, each in the color belonging to the person.

The game is set on a space station. You are a computer, and there has been a murder on the station.

I enjoyed the story, especially the 2nd and 3rd times I played it. Most of the interactivity is found in selecting the order of presentation. I am beginning to become a fan of dialogue-only games, like this and Birdland.


Gently experimental, November 19, 2015
by Felicity Banks (Canberra, Australia)
Related reviews: IFComp 2015

This game chose a couple of unusual engine options - setting out dialogue with a speech (no speaker tags, but colour coded), and using real-time delays (very gently, eg someone took a few seconds to fetch something).

The colours were a bit distracting - with my memory, I'd rather have had the standard script format of
Bob: Hello Jane
Jane: Hello Bob
etc
but I actually didn't mind the timing thing this time. I'm a linear storyteller myself, so it was surprising that I enjoyed walking from room to room to get the different bits of the story. And then I... wasn't entirely sure what the ending actually meant. So that wasn't good.

But luckily there's a "back" button, and from discussion I know that my impression of the ending was correct.

Playing as a computer, I felt my human-PC bias kick in, but the computer was more interesting than I'd have guessed.


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Polls

The following polls include votes for The Insect Massacre:

For Your Consideration - XYZZY-eligible PCs of 2015 by verityvirtue
This is for suggesting player characters from games released 2015 who you think might be worth considering for Best PC/Best Individual PC in the XYZZY awards. Leave the name (or namelessness) of the PC (or PCs) in the comment on your...

For Your Consideration - XYZZY-eligible settings of 2015 by verityvirtue
This is for suggesting settings from games released 2015 which you think might be worth considering for Best Setting in the XYZZY awards. This is not a zeroth-round nomination. The category will still be text-entry, and games not...

For Your Consideration - XYZZY-eligible innovation uses of 2015 by Brendan Patrick Hennessy
This is for suggesting games released in 2015 which you think might be worth considering for Best Use of Innovation in the XYZZY awards. This is not a zeroth-round nomination. The category will still be text-entry, and games not...




This is version 3 of this page, edited by Jason McIntosh on 16 November 2015 at 9:46am. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item