Aisle

by Sam Barlow profile

Slice of life
1999

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Number of Reviews: 27
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
The beginning of the review. But not the only one..., June 18, 2019

New as I am to interactive fiction, I had not heard of this game until recently, nor had I heard of the concept of its genre - you have only one turn in which to input a command, after which the story resets and you can start over, ad infinitum.

Aisle, which is as of this review a 20 year-old game, is an extraordinary piece of writing, and I can see why it has a special place in the hearts of so many. Although the concept is simple, it is executed so brilliantly and with such depth that each repeated turn reveals another layer, and another, until you have not just one story but many in parallel.

There are breadcrumbs placed throughout leading you to more ideas of what to do next, so it's not really a case of just throwing in random verbs to see what sticks - though you can do that if you want, and I think it'd be just as rewarding. There's also a list of commands available out there for the completionists who want all 183 possible outcomes. The true genius, however, lies in how all of those outcomes are woven together - or not together, as the case may be - and the depth of feeling created from every piece as well as the whole.

After playing this game I am curious to try others like it, but I think I will always remember Aisle, decades late to the party as I was. Five packets of Gnocchi.