Danse Nocturne

by Joey Jones profile

Mythological
2011

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Number of Reviews: 2
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
memories of year-end speedIf ... and (successful) experimentation, May 6, 2022
by Andrew Schultz (Chicago)

For the first Year-End Speed-IF I participated in, I was a bit worried I wouldn't fit everything in that was suggested. I was assured that was okay. I did my best. There were some really good efforts that put everything together. I was proud to sit down and get writing. I think I got some good laughs. Danse Nocturne got more.

It didn't contain any of the suggested items or plot lines. It was definitely its own thing--not guess-the-verb--more guess the adverb, telling you how you, as a lady being courted, should dance. A lot is clued in the story and text, but you can guess and improvise and go against the story's grain without punishment, too. Guess-the-adverb works rather better and not just because you're spotted the last two letters immediately. There's no real way to gauge, at least at first, how well you're doing or what ending you'll get to the poem. There are several, and based on the stanzas you get, you decide what to do next. Guessing wrong gives an interlude-ish sort of line, which is far cheerier than the standard parser errors.

So this is a sort of guessing game, and there's not necessarily a right answer. You just follow it where it goes, and generally after fewer than twenty adverbs, you get an ending. They run the gamut of emotions.

I don't want to spoil the mechanics too much other than to say it's a Speed-IF game and there's no huge surprise and no need to twist your brain, but there's enough you'll keep engaged and probably won't try experimenting formally and measuring what does what for a while. It's possible, but it ruins the experience if you do so too soon.

So I was impressed and glad Joey broke the rules to bring everyone Danse Nocturne. I wanted to see the source, but I'm glad waiting for the source somehow got lost in the shuffle. I think I had a binary on my computer that I poked at, trying to figure the mechanics, and when I finally noticed the source was up, I was a bit sad to lose some of the mystique. But as a programmer, it was very nice to see relatively simple code (the long topic snippets amuse me--Joey recognized coding conventions were the last thing to worry about when trying to cram content into a 3-hour speed-IF, and he had things set up so adverbs could be added easily) bring complexity into speed-IF, and it reminded me that things are out there, where you don't have to be fancy. There are still rules to be broken the right way. In this case, it's guess-the-word, but it's robust and interesting and engaging, and it's hard to get stuck.

I'm glad I've had Danse Nocturne going in and out of my playing experiences over the years, and even if I'll never write anything like it, it guides the way for the sort of effective rule-breaking I like to see and maybe even do. It's one of those positive oddities where you say "I must know how they do this" but you don't want to know righ t away, as it spoils a bit of the fun.