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The Damaging (Damning?) Power of Loneliness, December 7, 2015
Capsule II is the second in the Sandman trilogy by Paperblurt. I played it in IF Comp without having played the first, and it stands well on its own -- although some of the plot may make quite a bit more sense in context of a series.
The story takes place on a massive arkship transporting millions of cryogenically frozen people to a new world. In order to keep the ship operational, one person is kept awake at all times, working in 8-year shifts. You play as one of these "Sandmen," beginning with your awakening and following you in a series of vignettes through your life on the ship. Things eventually take a very dark turn.
There are a few places I struggled with the premise, and the writing style is a little uneven -- sometimes serious, sometimes funny, sometimes apparently trying to be one or the other but not quite being either. The first time I played I honestly wasn't even sure how I felt about the game. but something about it stuck with me, and I found myself thinking about it often afterward.
There are a few things Paperblurt has done amazingly well. The first is the visual style. This is one of the sleekest Twine games I've seen, from a visual standpoint, and it all comes together beautifully. The other thing this game does very well is illustrate loneliness and isolation, and the damaging effects of it.
Capsule II reminds me very much of the game Presentable Liberty, both in thematic content but also aesthetic.