Glimmer

by Katie Benson

2022

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Number of Reviews: 7
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
"checking up on people" simulator, November 26, 2022
by Andrew Schultz (Chicago)
Related reviews: IFComp 2022

I've seen the author's works before and always meant to get around to the stuff of hers I hadn't looked at. I'd like to see more of them, and I have to admit I'd also like to see more of this. It's a positive but short game about feeling socially trapped, which unfortunately has been a pretty big thing since 2020. But it's tough: too much positivity feels forced, and too little feels like it glosses over serious issues. And there's a third rail when trying to express getting stuck without getting the player stuck. That sweet spot is tough to find.

Your choices don't matter much. That's the way things are sometimes. Some days, no matter someone's good will, you don't want to put up with them, and others, no matter how nasty they are, you're willing to put up with it. A friend will still drop by and help you bounce back from social isolation, and it sort of feels like they might be forcing themselves on you, though you-the-character and you-the-player know it isn't enough and want to do more and know you need to do more. So Glimmer knows not to force itself on you. But I also think that we need things forced on us sometimes, but we just don't know how or why. And looking back we wish certain people we liked had forced more on us (and, of course, certain people had forced less on us. But Glimmer is not about that, thankfully.)

While I'd have liked to see things more fleshed out (the character's first try going out. I know for instance just going to the grocery store or athletic club once the COVID lockdowns was over were both big) I realized that, well, I'd had people bring me back to a forum (like here) with just a like on a comment, and I hoped I'd been able to do that in some way for others. So I think and hope I got what the author intended. I was able to look back without having to relive the fear.

I also saw a parallel between Glimmer's main character and reviewing IFComp. Getting into the swing of things, or back into it, is tricky, and you have to start small, sometimes, whether it's with your own writing or reviewing others'. I reviewed Glimmer early on, and it was welcoming, though I just wish it would've led somewhere bigger--perhaps there's a message here that after someone checks on you, you need to go find more stuff for yourself that you might like, and perhaps that might mean the author's other works.