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About the Story
A very short game about having an uncomfortable conversation with a vaguely sinister white guy.
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Number of Reviews: 4
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Patrick is a short, mostly linear game about being mistaken for someone else. It’s not just about people calling you by the wrong name. It’s about strangers clapping you on the back and saying how glad they are to find someone from their frat; about waiters giving you ‘your usual’; about lovers whispering a familiar yet strange name in your ear.
While not as dark as my father’s long, long legs, Patrick once again showcases Lutz’s gift of making every day events subtly disturbing, bringing out the way in which a mistaken identity can be a violation of something intimate. Your alter ego seems to more a parasitic twin than a person. He is forever disrupting your life, even in your most private moments, and your life and his are pressed up against each other skin-close.
The events are uncanny, yet the narrator treats them as everyday (which, for him, probably is). In the end, it is the narrator’s tone which moves the story from surreal horror to the benignly surreal: it is matter of fact, self-aware, even joking.
Lutz does a great job of sketching vignettes of these scenes of mistaken identity, using a few details here and there to instil a sense of unease.
Originally published here: https://verityvirtue.wordpress.com/2016/01/20/patrick/
Patrick is a simple but intriguing short story, very well written. (Especially the ob/gyn doctor's vaguely nightmarish monologue stands out as excellent writing.) There is a sense of there being more to the story than is visible at first sight, and the conclusion is surprising and appropriate.
While playing, I wondered whether the story and the protagonist's name were a reference to American Psycho. Patrick doesn't have any of that novel's gruesome content, but both works are about a businessman named Patrick who keeps getting mixed up with other people. Intentional? Hard to know, unless you're the author.
The illustrations are only stock photos, but the way they form a full-screen background to the text creates a visual dimension that is rather rare in Twine games, making it feel more like a Japanese visual novel. It's probably a taste thing, but I enjoyed the effect.
While I enjoyed this as a short story, I'm not sure whether the interactivity adds much. The blurb teases us with the possibility of an alternative ending, but I haven't found one. Apart from that tantalising secret ending, Twine gives us an (Spoiler - click to show)interesting but cosmetic randomised element, and the choice whether to read or skip a part of the protagonist's story.
In short: low on the interactivity, but well worth a read for its plot and stylistic prowess.
Lutz is one of the best Interactive Fiction writers right now due to his strong voice and sense of pacing. This piece takes the amusing, yet common, idea that everyone has a doppelganger and extends it into a slightly disturbing, slightly creepy, work, that makes me smile when I reach the end.
The pacing is aided by the breaks in text and the minimal interactivity--simply clicking the link to progress--throughout the work. Large, bold type over dissociative photos of people in everyday scenes whose faces have been blurred out adds to the creepy atmosphere, while making the text readable and compelling.
I don't think this piece would work by many other writers. What turns a fairly simple, one-note piece into something greater is the strength of the writing, particularly the voice of the narrator.
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