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About the Story
Getting coffee, making copies, tampering with powers beyond your control. You know, normal intern things. Now if only you were getting paid for it...
Nominee, Best Story - 2015 XYZZY Awards
11th Place - 21st Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2015)
Rock, Paper, Shotgun
A short amble through the internship of somebody at a magical publishing house. I liked this because it plays with your expectations. Lots of IF is great at squashing weird fictional concepts into the tedium of everyday life. Arcane Intern (Unpaid) does it other way around.
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Number of Reviews: 3
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The title hints at something mixing alchemy and words like ‘eldritch’ and ‘esoteric’ with mundane stuff, and having played Dalmady’s previous work, I admit I come to this game with expectations.
The game hits the ground steeped in the context: symbols from what I think is the Key of Solomon, and the language used in modern-day internships.
You’re aspiring to get into book publishing, and of course if you want to go down that path then internships are the way to go. It’s just that this Precantatio Publishing seems a little different…
Dalmady’s writing is able and smooth. She uses visuals in this Twine game minimally, though attractively.
The game is divided into sections using a to-do list as a kind of progress marker - which is kind of ingenious, really. Despite the title, there’s plenty of variety in the intern-like activities and plenty of things to inspect and explore. The story branches at some of the choices - something which isn’t immediately obvious - but once you figure out how to get to the branches, the new story paths are quite satisfying.
Well-written and visually attractive, Arcane Intern (Unpaid) lives up to its title.
Dalmady brings their characteristic charm and structure to a mid-length Twine game about interning for a company with actual magic.
The company uses rune/sigil-based magic, but the character is mostly familiar with magic through a Harry Potter-like series of fictional books.
As others have pointed out, the strength of the game is the contrast between the exciting world of magic and the sheer drudgery of intern work (making copies, getting coffee, etc.) I reached all three endings, and enjoyed the variety as well as the mechanisms by which the character achieves the 'good' endings (in my opinion).
There is a single instance of strong profanity, but otherwise no violence and profanity. The horrible reality of a boring office life (with low pay) may be too much for children and most adults, however (How many copies do I have to make!!!!!).
Arcane Intern (Unpaid) is an unapologetic homage to the Harry Potter generation, but it's more than fanfic. Rather, it's a response to the Harry Pottery generation in the same way as Lev Grossman's The Magicians -- a story that will resonate with anyone who grew up with the books, but which contains a rich magical world all its own.
I'm a sucker for stories where the magical and mundane collide, and they do so beautifully in Arcane Intern. The story is pretty simple: After many fruitless attempts to break into the publishing business, you finally land an unpaid internship...at a very strange publishing house. Instead of an ID card, you receive a sigil, and with it the ability to see the magic that had previously been hidden from your mundane eyes.
The game follows you through your various internship tasks, which are simultaneously very dull -- taking coffee orders, finding office supplies, making copies -- but also fascinating thanks to their magical embellishments.
It's the kind of premise that you'll either find charming or not -- and in my case, I thought it was delightful.
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