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About the Story
A Scots fantasia about anxiety
15th Place - 20th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2014)
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Number of Reviews: 2
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My first encounter with 'Raik' was during its exhibition at the National Library of Scotland a few years back, where it was made openly available to the public in a historic setting in Edinburgh. Although I hesitate to display bias, in this rich and culturally relevant atmosphere 'Raik' was a solid five out of five for me. However, as I spend some time with it alone in my flat (which is normally how I encounter IF), my critical opinion wanes slightly, but my love of the story does not.
'Raik' switches as deftly between Scots and English as it does between its two contrasting/complementary plotlines, both of which are freely navigable by the reader. When reading the segments of the text in Scots, the main character navigates the challenges of modern living and a debilitating anxiety disorder, and when the text switches to English the narrative adopts a distinctly fantastical tone that would be at home among the work of Robert Jordan or Patrick Rothfuss. This constant movement between worlds and languages is pleasant, and creates a sort of meaningful dissonance. My advice to any readers unfamiliar with Scots would be to actually sound out each word aloud as you read. Scots is a phonetic dialect that can be bewildering on a page or a screen, so vocalising the text helps.
My only real criticism of ‘Raik’ is that it isn’t as interactive as it could be, and it never really feels as though the reader is surrounded by infinite textual possibilities. Harry Giles uses twine and hypertext with some skill, but does nothing to push the genre and assert the interactivity of the plot. The story is very short, which is a downside for me as well.
This game is unusual in that is written in the Scots dialect, which is quite different from American English, my native language. However, the author has provided in game translations, and it's not too hard to see the meaning in Scots even without translation.
The game has two parts, a Scots part about a modern day person who is trying to resist a panic attafck, and a standard English part about a person on a Celtic quest for a magic staff.
The game was not too long, but the combination lock required some research and there are opportunities for losing in the middle. There is also a maze.
Overall, I liked this game, but the Celtic part seemed just added in; I wished it was integrated more fully. I did not play the commercial version, which may have resolved this issue, being twice as long.
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For Your Consideration: Games from 2014 that should be nominated for the XYZZY Awards by Molly
There were a lot of great games released in the past year, and now that the XYZZYs are coming up, it seems like a very good idea to take a poll of all the games from last year people would like to see nominated. The management has asked...