Number of Reviews: 4
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A lengthy game showing vignettes of strange experiences, October 19, 2020
This game was created as part of an MFA in writing at the University of Pittsburgh, where it was accepted as part of the program’s requirements, the first time a game has been accepted as part of their requirements. The author has also taught classes in Narrative Design in Twine.
This is a huge Twine game. The main idea is that you experience randomly-selected stories, and in between them a greater story builds up. You must acquire certain attributes or tokens to sell to advance.
This game correlates well with my experience of the academic environment vs submitting a game for evaluation by the wide world through publication or (in this case) IFComp.
The academic ‘audience’ is typically 4-5 people, the members of your committee. If its anything like math, the committee will likely spend very little time looking at your work, trusting perhaps your supervisor who has had weekly meetings with you to assure you that the work is high quality. For this game, I suspect the committee likely played for a few minutes until a death happened. In this environment, appearing to be a big time investment is the main goal, and appearing to be deep is another (which this game accomplishes by referencing racism and misogyny).
In the ‘open world’, though, other things are valued much more, #1 of which is a lack of bugs and typos, of which this game has many. For a large game entered into the competition, it needs far more testing, and hopefully publishing a proofing copy on Twinery and running it through grammarly or hiring an editor.
The game also uses very slow text in the middle. It features an undo feature which is very helpful, but if you reach a segment where you have to pay more tokens, even very late in the game, and you die, there is no choice but to restart, playing through the entire game.
I definitely think this work is valuable and I think that this is worthwhile to make, but it’s difficult to please two groups of people at once, and making a game that appeals to a wide audience is something that takes practice and a lot of help from others.
-Polish: Needs more polish.
+Descriptiveness: The game was very descriptive.
+Interactivity: This was good for the most part; the tokens are what got me.
+Emotional Impact: This game made me think a lot about my own past in academia.
-Would I play again? No, it felt a little too dificult to go far and the tone of some of the segments left me cold.