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Best of Landscape, Landscape - 2000 IF Art Show
While The Cove does contain specific puzzles and a list of tasks to accomplish, it's not precisely a text adventure; rather, you live through a pivotal moment in the protagonist's life. The goal of the game is to experience the environment as thoroughly as possible.
The text is expansive and rather poignant. The game's one or two puzzles are for the most part self-evident in their solution, and most of the points are scored by simply looking at the right bits of scenery to trigger your character's memories.
The Cove isn't meant to be a game, and it shows, but it is an excellent example of how a story that would be hopelessly banal in a standard format can be compelling and emotional in IF.
-- R. Serena Wakefield
The Cove won Best Landscape in Marnie Parker's Art Show in the spring of 2000, and the landscape really does take center stage: there are only a few locations, but all of them are packed with things to experience. In fact, your score increases not with problems solved, but with things seen (or heard, or smelled, or felt), though exactly which ones give you a point and which don't feels rather arbitrary. Interestingly, much of the interaction is purely sensory--there aren't many objects to manipulate, and you can't really affect your surroundings much, though you can certainly be affected by them. The scene itself--a seaside cliff, a beach, a cave--is familiar, but there are enough unexpected elements--a sea lion, an otter, tidal pools--to make it feel fresh, and the game oozes attention to detail. [...]
Unfortunately, the landscape isn't the only thing here; there's a plot of sorts involving a dead lover and a pressured marriage and such that owes much to cliché and adds very little to the game.
-- Duncan Stevens
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This game was the winner of the 'Landscape' portion of the 2000 IF art show, the same art show where Galatea won the 'Portrait' segment.
You play as a woman who has second thoughts about her engagement, visiting a cove to be alone with her memories. Points are given based on memories remembered and animals examined, as well as for exploration.
The writing is peaceful and beautiful.
The game has a very small puzzle aspect that didn't really work for me.
Overall, I recommend this for fans of the IF art show. If you haven't tried any IF art show games, you should.
If you enjoyed The Cove...
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I'm looking for works in the general spirit of The Fire Tower or 1893: they can be puzzly or not, have a story or not, but they should attempt to represent a real-world setting as accurately as possible, and in some detail.
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