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Or are you?, April 9, 2016
(Spoiler - click to show)Murder, arson and jaywalking. Or arson, anyway.
This is the sequel to "If I Wasn't Shy". Go and play that one first if you haven't yet, it won't take long.
Those who would enjoy a rambling discourse on sequels and continuity will find one below the cut. There are also spoilers.
(Spoiler - click to show)
Continuity always intrigues me, usually for its intrinsic connection to the fandom I'm looking up, but partly because the pattern recognition involved in its construction is a process that I find inherently entertaining. The ability to draw inferences seems to be a defining aspect of human intelligence, for both good and ill (scientific investigations versus conspiracy theories). I can generally contrive to get some deep enjoyment out of a guide to any media, if it be sufficiently lovingly detailed, by observing the manner in which small details are used to build up a logical system almost from thin air. In some ways it's more fun doing this with an unfamiliar fandom, because you're making your own pattern recognitions as you go along. (This sort of thing will be familiar to anyone who has read a D&D manual without ever trying the associated roleplay. It is also somewhat akin to this XKCD strip regarding sandwiches.)
The relative lack of interactive fiction that builds on itself thus came as a surprise to me (this is something that I'm looking forward to in Infocom games as I play more of them, and Marius Muller's Alex and Paul series, for that matter). I wonder whether it's because it's so easy to just put everything that you might want to say in a story in one complete project? Whether thinking of interactive fiction as stories with a definable end means that sequels seem besides the point? Or perhaps it's just because there's less of a sense of "privileged" media in IF then in, say, fan fiction circles where the book/television/movie will always be more important. This might lessen the pressure to build on the details of a single world when there is always the attraction of a brand new world to tempt creators. I am speculating wildly.
So this is where "All Alone" comes in. Logistically, this could be a part of the first game. A version of "If I Wasn't Shy" where you immediately proceed to the car theft/arson/walking away is entirely plausible. Nevertheless, it would have been less good for the story. It makes sense that this person's entire behaviour patterns don't necessarily change even after their big theft, and that it's possible to revert to type. This is a storytelling point that would be buried in a single longer game, but is perfect in two.
In brief: I wish more games built on each other, these two do and are fun to play. Hurrah!
Recommended for: not *immediately* after "If I Wasn't Shy". Noodle around for a while. Play some more Apollo games. Then come back and see what you think.