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About the Story
"At first glance, you look the same as always; waist-title_length brown hair tied back, red-blonde spanish goatee scraggly as ever, a few studs sticking through each earlobe, and fingernails -- except for the thumbs -- clipped short.
Upon closer examination, however, anyone who knows you well could tell something is up. Your hair has been brushed and neatly braided. The area around your beard is shaved smooth, and your teeth have been brushed recently. You aren't wearing your pajamas.
You try to put her out of your mind and think about something else. It doesn't work." [--blurb from Competition '99]
18th Place - 5th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (1999)
Linear, and barely a game, really; you're a teenage boy with a crush on a girl, trying to figure out if she likes you, and you're sort of railroaded through the story. (At one point, the game actually ignores your commands; for the rest of the time, there's one and only one command you can type to move things along.) Accurately reproduces the mental mindset of a teenager with a crush, though it's not really an edifying experience, as most of us know; it gets points for realism, but not much more than that.
-- Duncan Stevens
One of the best things about the story is its sense of timing. It's told in a series of short scenes, and although it could easily have unfolded in one location, each scene is set in a different place. The locations are very well described and serve to give a different mood to each scene, which otherwise would leave the story hitting the same tone over and over.
-- Joe Mason
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>VERBOSE -- Paul O'Brian's Interactive Fiction Page
The basic plot here is that an incredibly insecure guy has gotten an email from a matchmaking website. The site has matched him up with somebody he really likes, but how serious is she about him? The game is unrelenting with the constant reminders of just how strung out this guy is. Especially in the first section, almost every single turn yields multiple messages about the PC's deep, deep depression. No wonder, then, that the game wants to restrict player action. What if a player came along who wanted to make the choice to just forget about this girl and call a friend instead? What if a player wanted to just turn off the computer (the computer in the game, I mean) and read a good book? Hell, what if a player wanted to at least make the damn bed? Nope, wouldn't fit the story. Wouldn't fit the character. So it's not allowed. But a player can't help wondering: what am I doing in this short story?
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This game is about a typical introverted boy with a long ponytail and an interest in computers and fantasy-type things who matches in an online dating program with a vivacious and popular girl.
This just kills (metaphorically) the boy, who can't handle the intense polar opposites of excitement and nervousness.
The game was well-written and pretty well-programmed, and it produces some real emotion with its intense, up-close-and-ugly examination of the young adult brain.
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