Aisle

by Sam Barlow profile

Slice of life
1999

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Member Reviews

5 star:
(76)
4 star:
(131)
3 star:
(58)
2 star:
(19)
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(2)
Average Rating:
Number of Reviews: 27
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1 of 6 people found the following review helpful:
A Novel Approach, June 5, 2011

The only one-turn game i've seen so far and the approach is very novel! I love how every single action unravels part of the story and lets you learn just a bit more about the main character and the woman.


4 of 8 people found the following review helpful:
We'll always have Rome..., November 10, 2010
by The Year Is Yesterday (California)

Gnocchi. A brunette (Clare?). Violence, remorse, longing. Or maybe plain old penne. The beauty of this game isn't in the story it tells. The beauty is in the story that exists between the lines. What happened in Rome, and why does it stir up such emotions? You have only an aisle, some pasta, a woman and a trolley, and one turn in which to do something. But, as the impressive breadth of unique responses indicates, there's an awful lot you can do in a single moment. Play with it for at least ten minutes before writing it off as a novelty.


4 of 9 people found the following review helpful:
Wonderful Interactive. , November 2, 2010
by tggdan3 (Michigan)

So now I understand what the big deal was with phone booth and aisle.

This is a one-turn game. You are inserted in one moment in a man in the supermarket. You decide his next move.

The writing has a more serious tone, and it explores how small choices can have a big consequence. Each action leads to a new ending. What's cute here also is that each choice then takes you back to the beginning to try another choice, instead of that RESTORE, RESTART, UNDO option.

Most actions are accepted. I wouldn't call it a joke game, it seriously lets you choose your ONE action and gives you legitimate responses. This really inspires me to try to create a similar game, as I'm sure it has for others.

The beginning really draws you in- you are playing only part of this man's story, and with each action, you are invited to try ANOTHER story (the same story, with a new option). Definately worth a try. It's very short, but if only all IF could be this interactive, but on a bigger scale, what a wonderful genre it could be.


2 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
The definition of replayability, July 26, 2009
by Dark-Star (Nebraska)

An island of quality in a desert of its genre's mediocrity, this intriguing little game arouses one's curiosity in a unique manner - by giving the player but a single turn in which to act. While such a thing might seem shallow at first glance, the author has managed to weave enough detail into the myriad endings that you will soon find yourself trying all manner of actions just to see what the outcome might be.

Extensive replayability value aside, the very limited game length makes it quite simply impossible to provide much of an 'adventure' in and of itself. Regardless, Aisle is a very pleasant diversion and a successful experiment.


4 of 6 people found the following review helpful:
Great / not so great / moving, August 22, 2008
by Maze (Rome, Italy)
Related reviews: one move

Gotta give it a try, absolutely. It will take you just a few seconds. And then maybe some more seconds. And then more...
The simple idea of this game is quite intriguing and fascinating. And very creative. The outcome instead...
...well, initially i thought: "Wow, this is great. I didn't think it might be this interesting. Some ending - if ending is the right word - has great writing."
...after some time: "Mhmmm, the writing is not that good after all. It's somehow too rhetoric and over-sentimental and simplistic. And i don't like the protagonist."
...then i "did" something and: i was touched. Touched like in "moved". Moved like in "i got shivers". And suddenly I loved the writing again.

You have only one turn in Aisle. And you have no goal. For once, YOU are the goal. And whatever this game might be, it fully reaches it's ambitious goal.


4 of 7 people found the following review helpful:
Good for newcomers, July 31, 2008
by Tetsuo (Taipei, Taiwan)

Having only just returned to IF after a brief and fruitless attempt at Zork a couple of years ago, Aisle is an excellent welcome. It's not as involved as many other games, but the writing and concept are great, and for a beginner like me it's an excellent counterpoint to the misperception that IF is all about "take sword" and "kill orc". The range of possible actions is also quite a surprise, and kudos to the author for that.


26 of 27 people found the following review helpful:
Romantic Isolation, July 30, 2008
by Jimmy Maher (Oslo, Norway)

Most discussion of this work begins and ends with its central gimmick: that it plays out over a single turn, in which you are allowed to choose just one action that will determine how this little vignette concludes. For me, though, that's not the most important thing.

If Aisle was just an exercise in trying random actions to see what results, it might be fun and intriguing, but hardly heartbreaking. And make no mistake: for me, Aisle is heartbreaking, oozing the same sort of neon-drenched romantic loneliness as a Wong Kar Wai film. You'll find some of the finest writing in IF here:

>x trolley
(your trolley)
The trolley is a small cage of steel with bent rubber wheels. Full of your shopping: meals for one, drinks for one (well, drinks for several, but hey, who's counting?).

Gnocchi for one wouldn't really work. You settle for spaghetti and continue on to the next aisle.


As you play again and again, the backstory -- or rather, several possible backstories, but each drenched in the same melancholic longing -- gradually reveal themselves. One or two endings even hold out the promise of an end to the PC's isolation...

Truly, a great piece of work.


1 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
Freedom and intensity, July 28, 2008

By turns funny, affecting, and disturbing, this one-move game hits hard with the help of great writing, intense themes and unparalleled freedom.

This is head and shoulders above anything I have played in terms of the number of ways in which the player can logically and significantly affect the world. The necessary tradeoff is that there is only one decision to make, after which the game ends.

Aisle is outstanding on its own terms; if I had to name a flaw, I would say only that it can be hard to put the pieces that the game gives you together into a clear picture.


11 of 12 people found the following review helpful:
Nothing Quite Like It, December 1, 2007
by Matzerath (West Coast, Salty Smell)
Related reviews: Matzerath's Favorites

What a wonderfully successful experimental piece. As has been well documented, the game ends after your first action, but the results are myriad and compelling. I played late into the evening, and it was some time before the true story hidden in the simple dynamic finally revealed itself (and after I'd already thought I'd figured it out). Beneath an illusory simplicity is a very funny, scary, and ultimately moving game -- if you're willing to try as many possibilities as you can. It's weirdly cathartic to be presented with a recurring moment in time in which you can try whatever action (within reason) is at hand.
Also, there are some amusing twists based on IF conventions that are quite unexpected and funny.
Literary and fun: what more could one ask for?


3 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
More than just a gimmick, November 9, 2007
by Kake (London, England)
Related reviews: Sam Barlow, ****

Aisle is rather unusual in that the game ends after a single command; the command you choose to type determines any or all of the story, the backstory, the other characters, and your own personality and motivation. I rather enjoyed it. It's certainly worth a go, since at minimum it demands only a few seconds of your time.



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