Best of Three

by Emily Short profile

Slice of life

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Number of Ratings: 59
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- sw3dish, June 22, 2023

- elysee, May 2, 2023

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Intelligent, elegant, and thoughtful, December 31, 2022
by Lance Cirone (Backwater, Vermont)

This is flat-out one of my favorite games of all time. Everything it does just struck all the right chords for me. The dry, sarcastic humor, the gloomy atmosphere, the way Helen and Grant interact with each other. You get a sense of what each of these characters have been through, and you genuinely do want to see what each of them have to say.

You are in a cafe, meeting up with an old classmate who you used to be in love with, and you want to prevent any embarrassing bits of history from coming back up... including a prank with your friends as part of a secret group you were in. You can try to distract from the conversation, focus more on the present, talk about your past, all sorts of interesting things.

The writing is hilarious and goes off onto all these somewhat bizarre topics or bits of history. There's Regis, the sculpting cowboy who Grant's mother is now dating. There's your English teacher who would squeak a dog toy into students ears when they weren't paying attention and now writes cheesy romance novels under a pen name. There's your twin brothers, who have a frog named Fuzzy and are completely unaware of how unfitting such a name is.

You can talk with Grant about movies, religion, literature, debate the origin of the universe, all sorts of sophisticated stuff. Helen in particular has a lot of problems with her mother that she can vent. And this conversation feels natural. You can see his posture and expressions change depending on what's brought up. Topics bounce around a bit, but it flows realistically. Your options are varied and make sense. Everything you do feels worthwhile.

The game gets right into its topic. No long-winded exposition; you can read background information as you want by thinking about certain topics. I was a bit baffled at first when it talked about "3Nigma" and all these characters I hadn't met, but the thinking command and the general flow of the conversation kept me on track.

The actual conversation content is beautifully written. It knows when to be funny and when to be grounded, like when you have a conversation over some poetry Grant dissed without being aware that you wrote it. Or when he finally pulls out the notebook of long-winded, embarrassing poetry you wrote about him, and you have to decide how to deal with it.

This game has become so comforting to me. Each line of dialogue gives you something new to consider or contemplate. It's a work of art.

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>INVENTORY - Paul O'Brian writes about interactive fiction

[G]litches aside, the conversation felt real more often than it felt artificial, and that is a significant achievement. The writing is superior throughout, and achieves pure brilliance on occasion. I may have had some issues with the storyline, and I may have encountered some bugs, but I enjoyed Best of Three very much nonetheless.

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- Edo, March 22, 2021

- Zape, November 12, 2020

- erzulie, September 26, 2019

- Bartlebooth, July 19, 2019

- SchnickelFritz (TX), December 26, 2018

- simonesays, November 6, 2018

- Wanderlust, August 2, 2017

- floraandfauna, May 22, 2017

- Sobol (Russia), May 21, 2017

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Interesting Concept, March 18, 2017

The "game" plays out as a conversation. Most of it takes place in a coffee shop and the interactions with the surroundings are limited. I'd consider this game to be more experimental; gently testing the boundaries of the medium, letting the player uncover the back-story of the main character and the NPC, letting the player (to a point) decide how the conversation will go (through multiple-choice dialogue). It's an interesting concept and definitely worth playing. It felt more like reading a book than playing a game, which I think is the point, and I like the result. I gave this game only four stars because I didn't "love" it, though I would definitely recommend this relatively short game to others (especially beginners), and I'd play more games by this author (because I did "love" Bronze).

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- Aselia, September 6, 2016

- Teaspoon, March 27, 2016

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
A two-person conversation game about old dreams, loss, and life, February 3, 2016

Best of Three is a menu-driven conversation game by Emily Short set entirely in the real world.

The game is a vast labyrinth of twisting conversation and topics. The characters are classic Short characters; young, independent, world-wise woman and slightly older, cynical and slightly dissipated man.

The game has a grey and 'ending' feeling. I have only played to one ending so far, and I assume there is a better one, but no matter what, there is no black-and-white happy ending in this game. But I still enjoyed it.

I put off this game for a long time because of the profanity in the opening scene; often. Once I started it, I was pleased to see that it had disappeared.

One playthrough took around 15 minutes.

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- Indigo9182, May 29, 2015

- Thrax, March 12, 2015

- Khalisar (Italy), October 11, 2014

- Sdn (UK), April 13, 2014

- Cloud-Of-Judgement (Eastern Europe), April 9, 2014

- E.K., November 17, 2013

- Adam Myers, September 19, 2013

- DJ (Olalla, Washington), May 9, 2013

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