How it was then and how it is now

by Pseudavid

2021

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Number of Reviews: 6
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Abstraction, surrealism and relationships, October 23, 2021
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes

There is a long history of using surreal, abstract worlds to describe relationships in interactive fiction, with Plotkin's game So Far coming to mind as an early example.

This game pushes that trend to its logical extreme. You are with a woman, walking through an abstract maze that is navigated by identifying three-dimensional solids (except (Spoiler - click to show)they're aren't really any of the options, making it guess and check) or picking out numbers in a pattern. The maze has a negative effect on those who guess wrong, (Spoiler - click to show)turning them into geometric solids.

Pseudavid is an accomplished Twine writer with an extensive back catalogue (I particularly recommend Master of the Land and The Good People). This game contains hints of those earlier games, but has reached such a level of abstraction that I honestly had trouble piecing out what was going on or making connections or 'aha' moments. In other words, this game was over my head.

+Polish: The game was very smooth
-Descriptiveness: It was quite vague. The writing is good when zoomed in but when zoomed out seems to lack content:
(Spoiler - click to show)Oh, still salty about it, aren't we? Of course you wouldn't forget it. So, what's the final tally? Very, very good! But not perfect. How should I take it?'
-Interactivity. The game is meant to be played once, but has pass/fail mechanics and inscrutable choices. I suppose winning may not be the point, but as its set up it seems to be a frustration simulator.
-Emotional impact: I bounced off hard
+Would I play again? The game suggests not to, so I won't, but naturally I'd be interested in seeing other paths.


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Pseudavid, December 5, 2021 - Reply
Author here. I'm of course not questioning Mathbrush's reaction to the game and I thank him for playing, but there's one detail I want to comment.

> identifying three-dimensional solids (except they're aren't really any of the options, making it guess and check)

Unless Mathbrush has hit a bug I'm unaware of, all the 3D solids that appear are present in the choices. They can be somewhat obfuscated or be a section of a larger object, but they are always present in the choices. There's no randomness.
MathBrush, December 11, 2021 - Reply
My apologies; the 3d solids I were confused about were the cylinder/cone/sphere (since it looked like a frustrum), the tetrahedron/octahedron (since it was a generally tetrahedral shape with extra little facets, and I didn't know if the facets counted) and the one with rectangular solid/cube/something else, which had some overlap. The 'weathering' or chipping on the edges changes the type of solid, which I didn't understand. That's how I ended up not getting that part, through my own over-analization.
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