by Emily Short profile

Slice of life

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Number of Reviews: 2
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful:
CYOA pretending to be IF, June 22, 2010
by tggdan3 (Michigan)

I found this piece a bit awkward. Most of the backstory is explained in the tagline of the game here on this site. The characters are not named (they are literally A B and D), and the parser is extremely limited.

Your commands are basically "TALK TO [person]" "ASK [person] WHAT I SHOULD DO" or "SAY [what parser tells me to say]"

For example...

"You could mention how you hate phones."


"You can't think of anything to say on the matter.

You could mention how you hate phones."


[plot continues]

This is obviously an experiment along the "down with parsers" line, where beginning IF players may find it convenient to have their actions prompted. And sure, it isn't a game, like a few other of Short's works, it's a story that you help unfold. Still, I found the parser very annoying. The tagline of the game tells me I'm pregnant, yet I can't tell anyone about it.

The main problem with this is that it doesn't seem to know what it is supposed to be. Is it an interactive fiction piece? Not really, since the parser is so limited in scope and not particularly interactive. (It's somewhat interactive, moreso than Magic Travels, but less so even than Glass). It it a Choose Your Own Adventure? Kind of, except that your choices don't seem to affect much and you seem to be nudged in certain directions of conversation. Is it a short story? Kind of, except for the existance of the parser, which seems to imply a level of interactivity I didn't find.

Short does some great experiments in IF. Galtea was a good example of how to make a conversational tree for an NPC, and have them react in different ways to the same topics, based on how they were brought up. This one doesn't seem to have quite hit the mark, at least for me.

I guess it's interesting from the academic sense, and the story itself isn't too bad, it just seems like the kind of thing that would have been better suited to regular fiction rather than IF.