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About the Story
You've never met your new employer, and in his letters he was awfully vague about just what it was he wanted you to do. At the time, that didn't concern you very much - all that mattered was that he didn't ask too many questions about you. Now, in front of this decrepit, deserted-looking house, you are beginning to wonder if this was wise. But what else can you do?
1st Place - Saugus.net Halloween Ghost Story Contest -- 2011
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Number of Reviews: 2
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Sometimes, although rarely, less is more. Hauntings shows that the old advertising bromide is occasionally right -- it has just enough atmosphere to be evocative, using restraint where one could easily freefall into gothic excess. Although some rooms are too minimally described, most are just right, as in the case of the Sickroom. The pacing is questionable, but not overly frustrating, and the characterization is solid, at least until the end. One of the characters (Spoiler - click to show) (Leonara) isn't given the detail she deserves, and that diminishes the game a bit.
The parser occasionally refers to an object that isn't around, and some actions are unnecessarily clumsy (Spoiler - click to show) such as giving items to your employer, but on the whole, the parser works as you expect. There is a dramatic scene late in the game where everything rests upon yes/no responses, but it doesn't feel fake in the slightest. I hesitated for moments, thinking through what would happen if I said "yes" or "no". What resulted from that scene led me to two different endings, one of which was rather by-the-numbers, but the other was emotionally resonant.
Finally, Hauntings is a fairly short game, almost creeping up into the low end of medium length. It's an enjoyable, atmospheric piece that only loses its punch at the end. Not bad for a first outing. I look forward to more of what the author has in store.
Hauntings is a short and well written supernatural tale about a woman who shows up for work at the old house of a mysterious no-questions-asked employer. As the sole entry into the IF section of the Saugus.net Halloween Contest of 2011, it won in its field. The game keeps its interactions simple, advising the player to stick mostly with the movement commands, GIVE and GET and basic conversation commands like YES/NO. The focus is on the prose and its descriptions of the peaceful but dilapidated location and the thought processes of the PC. I don't think the game's period or geographic setting are specified, but the heroine's situation and the hints of social custom mentioned in Hauntings made me feel like it is probably set in the 1940s at the latest – though it could be as far back as the century before that, or maybe even later than the 1940s if in a remote location.
The atmosphere builds well as you search the house, and the tasks you may later perform for your employer don't involve puzzling so much as basic observation of your surroundings, though it might have been nice if a bit more of the scenery had been implemented. There are multiple endings which let you experiment with the situation you're ultimately presented with, and what I like about them is that they all seem to be equally legitimate choices for the heroine to take in light of her backstory. I don't think they are especially surprising endings, and I might have preferred the more dramatic one to be more dramatic again, but the story is basically satisfying. The heroine is also interestingly sketched. I found myself speculating on her background and what she might be doing before and after the events of this game.
This is version 4 of this page, edited by The Xenographer on 14 November 2011 at 1:06am. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item