The Dog/House

by Byron Alexander Campbell profile

Surreal
2010

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2 of 8 people found the following review helpful:
Claustrophobia, December 27, 2010
by AmberShards (The Gothic South)

I don't care much for games conducted in limited spaces; they almost always make me feel claustrophobic. There are exceptions to the rule -- Marika the Offering, for example, was masterful; Pick up the Phone Booth and Die was humorous; and there are others, but Dog/House is not one of them.

Here, there are two rooms, and only two rooms. That's limiting enough, but the sense of claustrophobia increases with the rejection messages that meet nearly every action. You can't go anywhere except outside, and you can't do anything with the principal items in the rooms. There is a help command, but it doesn't help much.

What you're supposed to do is left unclear; it seems that the game changed quite a bit from version 1 to 2. However, Dog/House does feature some interesting items (the autumn leaves) and some sharp writing that gives you a taste of atmosphere. If the author had developed the game more, it would have been truly engrossing.


Comments on this review

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Emily Boegheim, December 26, 2010 - Reply
Actually, there are five rooms, but there's a minor puzzle involved in getting out of the yard. If you can't figure it out, you need to (Spoiler - click to show)take a closer look at the leaves.
tggdan3, December 27, 2010 - Reply
I replayed and tried this. I was a bit disappointed. I tried going in every direction as it was and was denied. It's pretty poor to have to examine the leaves in order to see an exit, without having done so the exit does not exist.

I'm generaly discouraged by any game that has the environment change just by looking at stuff (except maybe for shade). There's just not usually a good explination for why looking at things changes the environment. (I can go through my front door- even with my eyes closed!)

But enough of that rant.
Emily Boegheim, December 27, 2010 (updated March 17, 2011) - Reply
It sort of makes sense in context - (Spoiler - click to show)the leaves disorient you until you look closely enough to see the opening - but I agree that it's a poor puzzle, both in The Dog/House and in general. Either you examine the thing for its own sake, in which case the puzzle is trivially easy, or you miss the trigger and may have no idea that there is a puzzle to solve at all.

I think the reason it works in Shade is that it's part of a larger pattern: things in general are changing, so you keep looking to see what's new and poking at things to see what will happen. And even so (as I remember), it's easy to miss a trigger in Shade and get stuck, leaving you to just mess with everything until you find the one thing you're supposed to be messing with at that point.
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