Bonehead

by Sean M. Shore profile

Historical
2011

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Number of Ratings: 14
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- kala (Finland), June 5, 2017

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Mid-length well-polished parser game about infamous baseball play., February 3, 2016

Bonehead is an enjoyable game based on real life. You play Fred Merkle, a player for the Giants in 1908, who was famous for a mistake he made that year.

You are taught about baseball in the game, including how to catch and how to hit the ball.

There is a lot of simulation-based information in the game (they tell you exactly what to do for different types of pitches), and so I thought that most of the puzzles would be simulation-based. However, at least two of the puzzles are traditional parser puzzles.

I enjoyed the writing and graphics, and it made the game come alive to me. The chatter of the crowd, the words of the people around you, really transport you to the past.

Great for fans of baseball, history, simulation games, or a good story.

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- Aryore, December 26, 2015

- Thrax, March 23, 2015

- E.K., January 16, 2014

- DJ (Olalla, Washington), May 10, 2013

The Digital Antiquarian

Bonehead is the true story of the ďmost infamous play in baseball history,Ē one which demoralized the 1908 New York Giants in their battle against the Chicago Cubs for the pennant and earned for Fred Merkle, your avatar and the star of the game, the sobriquet of the title. Iím always happy to play any IF that is not set aboard a spaceship or in a fantasy kingdom, and this setting feels particularly fresh, with its occasional period photographs and some very nice descriptive writing. It doesnít hurt that I quite enjoy the game of baseball, and, while I donít really know that much about its history, never object to learning more. And Shore is well up to the task, writing always with a light, usually slightly comic touch. Interestingly, his narrator breaks the fourth wall frequently to speak directly to us / Merkle, an unusual approach that works very well.

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- stadtgorilla (Munich, Germany), April 17, 2012

- Emily Short, July 19, 2011

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful:
Rounders + Nostalgia + Statistics =, May 17, 2011

An impressive piece of work: although its core appeal is probably limited to nostalgia-addicted baseball nerds (a category which, as far as I can tell, makes up about 99.95% of baseball's fanbase) it succeeds in emotionally engaging people who don't know or care about baseball and are never going to.

The game recounts a famous 1908 screw-up that defined the career of Fred Merkle. From the outset, in no uncertain terms, you're informed that the disaster is coming and that it will scar your life. Yet you still keep working towards it, through a difficult commute and an indecipherable morass of baseball terminology. The game is broken up by flashbacks that imply the main story is just a flashback. There are obvious debts to Photopia and 1893: A World's Fair Mystery; one could choose worse models. It seems diligently researched.

Bonehead has a number of conflicting, emergent morals, some of which the author certainly didn't intend. The point could be that Merkle was a clueless blunderer, only barely holding on moment to moment, and some horrible mishap was inevitable; this comes out of gameplay, and contradicts statements that Merkle was actually pretty savvy. Another is that Merkle is a sort of sticktoitive hero, unable to give less than his all even when it leads to his destruction; this feeling hangs around the story even though it makes no chronological sense. Another, probably closer to the intent, is that even solidly competent people fuck up all the time; whether a fuck-up goes unremarked or haunts you your entire life is largely a matter of luck.

Bonehead's main flaw is a tendency to cheesiness that it can't quite sustain; there's that historical-fiction thing where you always meet significant historial figures who are just now thinking about something that will ring down the ages, and there's a Hollywoodish moment of Touching Redemption. Overall, though, a really strong debut.

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- Rotonoto (Albuquerque, New Mexico), May 16, 2011

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
Excellent Concept, Uneven Execution, May 13, 2011
by RandomExile
Related reviews: Spring Thing 2011

Bonehead is an interactive exploration of an historical moment and it's clear the author invested time and care into the game's design, but it's hindered by some moment-out-of-time scenes which may be more jarring than illustrative, puzzles both cliched and obscure per the subject matter, and in my case, an inability to defeat my apathy toward baseball minutiae.

I wanted to enjoy it because I think empathy and the ability to learn from a time and place are great strengths of the IF medium (and I'm still firmly on the author's team, as it were), but having to participate in certain character interactions felt like a chore, there came points where it's necessary to perform specific unintuitive actions using unfamiliar language (the bag situation, specifically), and while the early puzzles were straightforward (distract Person A to retrieve Item B), the walkthrough carried me through the awkward final stage which I felt was unplayable otherwise.

Baseball aficionados or historians may feel differently, and there are two deeper and altogether more complementary reviews available by Emily Short and Jimmy Maher at the time of this writing. For the rest, there's always Wikipedia.

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- Ghalev (Northern Appalachia, United States), May 13, 2011

- perching path (near Philadelphia, PA, US), May 3, 2011

- Audiart (Davis, CA), April 28, 2011


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