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About the Story
You are Jane, a seventeen year old girl trapped in a seaside house with no electricity and little food. Navigate the house, your increasingly strained relationships with your father and brother, and your own dread in the time it takes for the sun to set.
Entrant, Main Festival - Spring Thing 2020
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Number of Reviews: 4
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This short Twine game about some disaster making people not want to go out (at first seeming like Covid, later not so much).
It satisfies my 5 requirements for stars:
-Polished. This has great understated use of color and is organized neatly, with an interesting mechanic at the end.
-Descriptive: The house, people, and items and even mood were palpable to me as I read.
-Emotional impact: I could really feel the emotions the game was pushing out, maybe just because of my quarantine experiences.
-Interactivity: The card game was a nice change, and I felt like my choices in general had some kind of impact, if nothing else than in my roleplaying.
-Would I play it again? I already did. I like the feel of it. Might play it again.
(This is an edited version of a review I originally wrote for my blog during Spring Thing 2020.)
The Golden is an elusive, faintly ominous Twine CYOA about a sister, brother and father stuck together in a seaside house in an unspecified end-of-days situation.
There are some tense character bits involving familial strain – a tortured card game especially on the first run – but the characters aren't specific enough for these to have full effect. For instance, if the blurb hadn't told me the heroine was seventeen, I wouldn't have suspected it from the writing. She seemed much younger to me, partly because of a sense that she looked up to her brother and partly because she didn't express anything too complex. She just didn't express enough. I don't really know what the problem was with the brother. Only the father had enough tics to make him stand out to me. Geography is a little fuzzy, too, a not uncommon situation in a Twine in which you can move around a little.
I don't know if there's a standard model in Twine that involves making the last word in a passage the link to the next page, a typical strategy in this IF, but if there is, I'd say – beware it. Words should generally be lit with intention. When 'God' on the end of 'Thank God' is the only link on a page, that looks highly significant, but proved to be no different than other standard forward links when clicked.
I liked the end of the story because of the aforementioned ominousness. I also felt that the game worked to build an anticipatory mood for it. Characterisation was the thin area. A piece this compact, written from one character's point of view and clearly indicating its characters are specific, needs to specify those characters more. There's not a lot of time to do it in, but maybe that means what time there is can't be handled as gently as I felt it was here.
More than a slice of life, The Golden is a simple Twine game which manage to bring you in his world and to convey true feelings only by telling small events ; this quite behaviorist way to proceed (like a Kiyoshi Kurosawa film) works better than any Hollywoodian story, despite of its brevity. To sum up, this is a kind of haïku in Twine.
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