Mere Anarchy

by Bruno Dias profile


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Number of Reviews: 5
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Anarchy in a grungy magic world, June 6, 2016
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 15-30 minutes

This games, an entrant in last year's Spring Thing, is an Undum game (meaning you can click on links to advance the story, graphics are included, and the story can be scrolled back to see what came before.

The story is about a small group of anarchists rebelling against an oppressive hierarchy. While the game uses magic, it feels more like a stand-in for power that allows the author to discuss class struggle in an attention-grabbing way.

I feel like this game has something to say, and does so in a way that deserves attention.

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Strong work of fiction with some limitations in game design, December 28, 2015
by streever (America)

Mere Anarchy is a fairly short work of solid prose writing and descriptions.

Dias leads the reader through a hidden world of magic, where class divisions and privilege allow murder with impunity, and the upper class, elite, wizards practice a might makes right ethos.

The basic plot points seem fairly fixed; most choices seem to resolve more around how you see your actions. Are you seeking revenge or justice? Do you have an optimistic view or a nihilistic view? Much of the story is told through hints and style, creating a sense of curiosity and wonder.

Thematically, the story is reminiscent of Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere or China Mieville's Kraken; the class conflicts and hidden world concepts in particular work well in this format and with this type of spare storytelling.

There are a few game elements; a meter tracks your inventory and status, which includes descriptions like "Cautious", "Healthy", and "Steady". I didn't find much utility in these stats, but I suppose they add something to the overall feel and flavor; this is ultimately the only area of criticism in this otherwise excellent work. I'm not sure why it's an interactive story and not a short story; the style and prose would provide for an engaging short story that would likely find a larger audience outside of the world of interactive fiction. This criticism could apply to many works of interactive fiction; it stuck out here because the game elements felt grafted on. I do think it's a strong work of interactive fiction, and the interactive elements work and feel solid; it's the UI elements that felt a little off.

This piece is still strongly recommended; well-written, compelling, and engaging, I suspect this story could appeal to anyone.

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Fascinating Interactive Short Story, April 11, 2015
by Matt W (San Diego, CA)

I highly enjoyed this interactive short story. It really shows what you can do with strong writing, a fascinating idea, and Undum's elegant interface. Dias does a great job of hinting at a rich world filled with intrigues and dark machinations whose exploration lies beyond the scope of the story, but pervades it. The writing is dense and evocative, kind of Mievillian, but without Dr. Mieville's more unrestrained excesses of prose. I played through a couple of times and enjoyed seeing the different vignettes fit themselves into the larger story. I would love to read more stories, interactive or not, written in this setting. This is a great, enjoyable piece of fiction.

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