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About the Story
Oh, crap! Crap, crap, crap! Crappity crappy crap!
21st Place - 18th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2012)
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Number of Reviews: 3
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(I originally published this review on 4 October 2012 as part of my blog of IFComp 2012. This was the 4th of 26 games I reviewed.)
You can't fob off the postmodern today, not even if you jab violently at the area directly in front of you with a pointed stick. Last Minute is a hyperlink CYOA about cobbling together a last minute entry for IFComp, and presented with its first screen, I didn't like the look of it. The protagonist thinks in exclamation marks and is equally and constantly excited by every turn of his thoughts as they alight upon different objects in his bedroom. In the long run, I believe that people should be skeptical in general of responses to creative challenges which consist of saying, "Well, I was having trouble thinking of something, so I made my piece about the trouble I was having thinking of something." Which wouldn't be to say that this game is definitely a response of that kind itself – except that the author revealed during the competition that it is. In the end, each object must still rise or fall by its own qualities. The primary quality of Last Minute is silliness, and even if you don't like it, it's over pretty fast.
The game has two halves. The first half is a the part where you scan your room with your eyes looking for inspiration for your IFComp entry. Choices include your games, your DVDs or what's on your desk... The combination of a "my apartment" game with the protagonist's hyper manner began to make my eyes water. But I persisted and reached the second half of the game, where my earlier choices were strung together into a gamey fiction. This section is extraordinarily silly and hyperbolic (EG a blistered blob forces everyone in the world to cannibalism by only letting them eat beetroot otherwise, and you have to stop him) but it's got more messy wit, writing cutesiness and variation than the first half, and might start to bring the sniggers if your defences are sufficiently weakened by now. I played this section a few times and found some different stories, and if you want that explosion of sloppy zaniness that you can usually expect from something in the competition, this could be one of the games to deliver that fix.
I gotta say, the opening text was not promising. The opening text, excepted and self-summarized, reads roughly as Oh, crap! The deadline for the 2012 Interactive Fiction Competition is only ten minutes away! There's no chance in Hades that I'll finish my Twine magnum opus before it's pencils down! Well, I could finish it, but it's not something I want to rush, much like my loving.</td></tr></table></center>
In retrospect, there are two things that are interesting about that opening text.
First, it's obvious after you play the game that it was not thrown together in 10 minutes. That misused apostrophe aside, the game is fairly polished. I'm not saying that Ruderbager Doppelganger spent months on Last Minute or anything, but it was certainly more than ten minutes, and while the premise is a bit off-putting, it's a setup that works well for the intended schtick.
Second, the writing style is pretty much like that throughout. If you find yourself guiltily cracking a smile at the phrase, it's not something I want to rush, much like my loving, then you should probably play this. It won't take too long.
I mentioned that there was a schtick. Indeed there is. And the schtick is cute, but sadly it is not very deeply explored. I kind of wish that the author had taken this and really explored it, without recycling any more text than absolutely necessary. That would have really made it fun.
And I suppose I should mention that the game is a non-state-tracking CYOA with a seemingly broken 'rewind' button. I personally rather enjoy CYOA, even without state-tracking, though I know many people find it too old skool for their tastes. YMMV.
At any rate, the game is nothing heavy or profound, but it was fun and I enjoyed it.
In this Twine game, you play an IFComp author who has to throw together a game in the last minute.
You look around your room for inspiration for a good guy, a bad guy, and a evil plan. Then, you combine them into an action-packed story which you can play and replay.
The game is goofy and fun, and well-put together. It uses out-of-the-box Twine with no special styling (I think the later game Machine of Death by this author did more with styling).
Overall, though, the game felt slight, and not as comedically compelling as it could be.