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About the Story
I am a sigil reader. I work in a city where sigils are a matter of public health, for a maliciously inscribed sigil could mean the ruin of a business - or a soul.
39th Place - 22nd Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2016)
The Breakfast Review
It feels like there's a lot of detail in this setup that's just a little bit beyond the frame. We're not really told, for instance, what the functions our colleagues served on the team: we know that we're the sigil expert, and it's only mentioned later, in passing, that scrying might be another thing the team handles. At the same time, the touches of personality scattered throughout the station, in addition to the "remember" command", conjure up broad, sketchy images of these colleagues. Not enough to create a detailed character profile, but hitting just the right notes to make them feel real.
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Number of Reviews: 2
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When I woke, it was high noon, and the air was dead.
Sigil Reader (Field) is a fantasy exploration parser game made in Quixe. The PC is a woman called Priyanka Ramasamy who deals with sigils of protection, speed, silence, and more; she works in an institution whose role is to capture and log specimens and monsters. What exactly this involves is hidden at first.
Thrown into the events of the game, Priyanka has tattered memories of the catastrophe that has occurred, and the Station is deserted. It quickly becomes clear that while the Station is not working as it should, neither is Priyanka's mind.
Something made me look down, and there was my ID card clipped to my belt. Had it always been there?
Although the descriptions of the station offices fall on the spartan side, it's in the small details where the writing shines. Snippets about Priyanka's colleagues and brief but intense sensory interactions are some of my favourite segments, revealing low-key but characterful information about Priyanka's colleagues' lives, and what Priyanka herself remembers and values.
The game moves forward steadily, with minor puzzles that serve to enhance the atmosphere rather than challenging the player for any great length of time. As it progresses, it becomes clearer that Priyanka is in an altered state of being, but Sigil Reader (Field) is not about enforcing the player's will on the world: it's more about savouring the story, the world, and Priyanka's experience.
The snippets of information we get whet the appetite for more. As Christopher Huang notes in his Breakfast Review: "It feels like thereís a lot of detail in this setup thatís just a little bit beyond the frame."
Though Sigil Reader (Field) is successful as is, I wonder where it would have gone with a longer deadline. More than that, though, I'd love to see more in this setting ... and more non-Euro/US settings generally, more Malay SFF in the IF world, and more Singlish. The dreamy atmosphere and lightly-creeping dread of this game means I'm looking forward to playing more of verityvirtue's work in Ectocomp 2017.
I beta tested this game.
This game is a short surreal story where you wander about an office place that is somewhat fantastical, and is both familiar and not.
It's hard to know what actions will have what effects, but that too is part of the story.
The best part of this game is the unusual culture of it, different from the male-powered white American setting assumed for so many games.
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