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by Katie Benson


Web Site

(based on 15 ratings)
7 reviews

About the Story

It's bleak out there. No one would blame you for turning away.

Game Details

Language: English (en)
First Publication Date: October 1, 2022
Current Version: Unknown
License: Freeware
Development System: Twine
IFID: Unknown
TUID: pkeji2z9h71ls2ay


53rd Place - 28th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2022)


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Member Reviews

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Number of Reviews: 7
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Most Helpful Member Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Very short and lacking in choices, October 14, 2022
by RadioactiveCrow (Irving, TX)

This story, hard to call it a game since as far as I could tell the game had no real choices, is about a person (you, the PC) going through a very rough patch in life. Thankfully, you have a good friend who isn't willing to give up on you.

The first half of the story was unrelentingly bleak and I was worried that was going to be it, but the friend character is introduced to save the day (and the story). I can see how this could be a good portrayal of what creeping sadness turned into full blown depression might look like. In the end there just wasn't enough substance there for it to really grab me.

Between the lack of choices and at least one mistake I found in the text I had to give it two stars.

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Brief game with a simple but powerful message, October 4, 2022
by ccpost (Greensboro, North Carolina)

This is an earnest, vulnerable game with a powerful message. The game proceeds as the player progresses through a series of quietly despairing and distressing episodes -- passing by boarded up shops, realizing that a coworker is living at the office, being beset with bills. The player struggles to keep up a positive outlook on life until (Spoiler - click to show)a friend visits them and helps them to enter back into the world.

This is a kernel of what could be a very affecting game, though I had a few issues that kept me from fully engaging. Primary among these, even for a relatively short game, the structure got to feeling repetitive: most pages have a few sentences of text with a linked word that expands the text with some observation and then a link at the end of the passage that moves to the next passage. This effect works for the first few passages, creating a sense of inundation with the distressing events encountered, but the structure doesn't change much as the narrative turns. Even a slight change in the structure would signal a shift in the player's perspective.

While there are some interesting bits of writing throughout the game -- for instance, the observation that floors of the player's apartment are so weathered that 'a sparrow landing on the floors would likely make them creak' -- a lot of the language is generic and ungrounded. I never get a sense of any of the characters' personality, voice, or perspective beyond the broadest strokes.

I very much enjoyed the game and appreciate the message greatly, but was left wanting more.

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Form, Meet Function, November 26, 2022
by JJ McC
Related reviews: IFComp 2022

Adapted from an IFCOMP22 Review

Of course I’m not the first to observe that interactivity doesn’t have to mean story branching. Interactivity in linear stories can accomplish at least two things: 1) it can invest the player in the protagonist more deeply than raw text and 2) it can carefully manage the pacing of the text to enhance emotional effect. I am saying this to the population that least needs this explained.

Glimmer is very much a short, linear study of depression and to varying degrees attempts both of the above. Because the subject matter lends itself to spiraling introspection and lethargy, there was a particularly nice fit with form here. The player can dive into tangential mental rabbit holes. Scene changes are paced slowly, with small blocks of text where the act of interacting slows down the proceedings. The formula is subtly shifted as the narration proceeds, the interactive pace as much as the words conveying the protagonist's mindset. All of this displays a nicely deliberate marriage of form and function.

As far as protagonist investment, Glimmer didn’t quite get me there. Early game events were fairly dispassionate, showing the protagonist with flattened response to increasingly important events in their life. I understand the intention here, that the protagonist is increasingly withdrawn such that events do not register like they should. It seems that because we are introduced to this mental state before we have built empathy, there is an unnecessary hurdle to our investment. For me, I didn’t get over it until way later and was playing catchup to the narrative all the way to the end. Meaning when the protagonist had a subsequent shift I was also behind.

Stephen King (or was it Alan Moore?) famously said something to the effect of “Horror is seeing your neighbor dismembered through your bedroom window. Terror is when the killer notices you.” There’s gotta be an empathy/sympathy analog to that idea that seems relevant here. While I admire the precise pacing effect of the work, the killer did not see me, leaving me at a remove.

Played: 10/13/22
Playtime: 15 min, finished
Artistic/Technical rankings: Mechanical/Mostly Seamless
Would Play Again? No, experience seems complete

Artistic scale: Bouncy, Mechanical, Sparks of Joy, Engaging, Transcendent
Technical scale: Unplayable, Intrusive, Notable (Bugginess), Mostly Seamless, Seamless

See All 7 Member Reviews

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