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About the Story
A collaborated continuation of the Clockwork Boy tale, written for the 2nd Hugo Open House Competition.
Language: English (en)
First Publication Date: January 3, 2013
Current Version: 0.5
Development System: Hugo
Forgiveness Rating: Merciful
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This short piece wouldn't be out of place as an entry in IntroComp, because all that really happens is an introduction to a significant new character and plot development in the story world Müller has invented for this series. The attention of Mr. Blask seems to have improved the overall quality of the result, though the final product is still lacking in distinction as a work of interactive fiction.
As with the original entry in the series, what stands out most are the unrealized possibilities present in the setting that has been created. What little exposition there is hints at a sprawling vision of the Clockwork Boy universe in the mind of the author, a vision that does not seem to naturally fit with the mechanics of IF and which would probably be better served as a straightforward written tale.
Throughout both this work and its predecessor, the elements required by interactive fiction seem to have served only to interfere with the communication of the story that the author wants to tell. Puzzles feel grafted on and are not integrated into the telling of the story. Locations remain so shallowly implemented that they are little more than painted stage backgrounds for the intended events to transpire in front of. NPC dialogue is not implemented in depth, and what's there is so terse and direct that it offers neither the sense of discovery nor the sense of a living conversant.
I say all of the above not as mockery of the author's continuing sincere efforts but to point out that the work required to implement this story as interactive fiction may not be worth it. Think how much more story could have been told if the coding effort required to make this IF were simply put aside!
That said, if there is to be a Clockwork Boy 3, I strongly suggest that the author spend some time considering how to make the medium of IF work for the story instead of against it. The challenges are surmountable, and it would be a true shame if the rest of this vision never materialized in any form.