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Number of Reviews: 4
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3 people found the following review helpful:
Long as hell, but so worth it., June 5, 2015
Come into this game expecting a novella rather than a quick text romp. If you don't read at 600 words per minute like I do, it may take you multiple afternoons or a whole evening dedicated solely to reading this piece.
It's totally worth it, though. The prose is varied and the concept is ingenious and immersive. There is some disturbing material - warning for a graphic description of suicide, among other subjects like murder and abuse and violence - but the story is grand.
One thing I enjoyed was how little I choice I had until the very end, making the final choice (no spoilers!) even more difficult. I was very torn.
5 people found the following review helpful:
Marvelous Writing Difficult Read, August 3, 2014
This story delivers a mad sort of intensity casting the reader as a past-its-prime robot which is purchased at a yard sale and pressed into service by a seemingly-horrible woman who gripes that she has to issue specific commands to you. You're about two decades obsolete, but old robots make good spare robots. You're not one of the newer ones that can carry out implicit actions.
And it also seems the robot's hard drive has been recycled several times. Snippets of other people's lives can be reviewed, nearly always at high-pitch emotional moments. These become almost too extensive to read in one sitting. The angst here is pitch-dark and unflinching in the places it goes. This is not a bad thing.
What worked against this piece is the text styling. If you know enough html to make the background dark gray, you know enough to change the teeny default 8pt Arial font to something else and make it bigger.
I love the interesting games the author plays with agency. I was overwhelmed by some of the lengthy, almost short story-length interludes. Many of these I did read are internet-age adult situations (not the fun kind by any means) that ache under the weight of lived experience. Some are seemingly related to the frame story, some seem out of left field. I was most interested in the owner of the robot. You're not the best one available, and people enjoy interacting with you with about as much care as they do with ATM machines and dial in voice-recognition menus.
Worth it if you like your fiction brewed emo-black and bitter. If the output were more comfortable to physically read I'd definitely want to delve into more of the tangental stories.
2 people found the following review helpful:
You Were Made to Click Hypertext Links, August 3, 2014
I had to let this one sit for a bit.
It's well-done. The writing is good, poignant, and authentic. It's a Twine game, and with that, comes the feeling of restriction/lack of options and interactivity that often comes with Twine; in this case, the feeling of restriction serves the plot and overall experience, in a way that isn't completely clear until you've reached the end.
You are a robot; you work for a bitter, unkind woman who comes across as a rich once-upon-a-time debutante turned petty tyrant.
Your choices are extremely limited; each page typically has several prompts to explore memories, followed by a misleading list of choices. Mousing over the choices crosses them out, leaving only one choice--submissive compliance to your owners latest command.
At first, it felt like a gimmick, or a novelty, but the truth is that the unclickable links are significant and build on one another as the story progresses, leading to a fitting & unexpected ending. Portions of the game that initially confused me took on deeper meaning and poignancy.
My standard criticism of many Twine games holds true here. The text formatting and layout doesn't make it easier to read. Text is presented in dark on a dark background at a fairly small size. It's hard to read, and does at times detract from the overall experience. This doesn't in any way change my enthusiastic enjoyment or recommendation; it's fairly typical of Twine games, and is more of a criticism of the medium than any individual work.
In this story, I didn't have a good sense of progression, which made it hard when I was reading some of the longer memories. I wasn't sure what any of it was building up to, or when I'd get there. Make no mistake; the journey was enjoyable on its own, and the destination definitely made up for any rocky moments, but I think the writing could be tweaked slightly to give the sense of progression, so the reader has a sense of how far they've progressed and how far they have to go. It's a basic 'mechanic' of books that we appreciate without noticing; simply by virtue of their physical size, we have a sense of how far we've gone and how quickly.
The game design in particular is impressive, but I can't talk about it without spoiling it. I'd recommend playing the game before reading this next bit.
(Spoiler - click to show)OK; something that at first alienated me from the game was the memories. I wasn't sure who the memories belonged to, and kept looking for ways that the memories were inter-connected. They weren't (well, some of them weren't); some of the memories were from different people, but I kept thinking there was a thread through them. Largely, I thought this because of the use of color for the memories. I thought it was a hint as to whose memories were being experienced. I think it wasn't as clear as it could have been.
Regardless, though, I appreciated the lack of clear delineation among the memories, as the game revealed that you're holding the memories of many people. The jumble and confusion made sense in the new context, and made me appreciate the earlier experience.
At the end, they finally open up the choices, which works exceedingly well. It's quite clear that any of the decisions you make now are permanent; that they will advance the story and close off one line of inquiry. I really appreciated that, and thought it made the overall experience stronger. Too often, games want to leave every door, path, and side-street open to the player; it's a brave decision to let the player definitively decide "I'll read this, but not that." I appreciated it, and it worked into the context of the overall piece nicely; in the last moments of the story, you realize how significant all of your earlier non-choices were. In each case, you were reading the submerged and, out of necessity, personality of your character.
In that regard, I saw the earlier choices as all being valid; each one accurately expresses how your character feels. I even used the browser back button to go back and re-read them; it provides a fresh insight into the experience and story.
In my re-read, I was surprised at just how many themes the game touches on or addresses, all without ever resorting to a polemic or feeling pointed. From social justice issues to existential questions, You Were Made For Loneliness is a surprisingly deep game.
Lastly, I appreciated the meta-commentary on the reader in this work. Much like the robot, you're constrained and forced to submit your own opinions and expressions in order to proceed. This was particularly well-done. It's a staple of good interactive fiction, but is easy to do poorly. I was impressed at how well it was handled.
This is a strong story, with solid writing, authentic dialogue, and some genuinely creepy/tense moments where I was worried for my character. In addition, it cleverly uses the limitations and strengths of Twine to build a strong thematic work that resonates well after finishing. While I have a few minor quibbles, I strongly recommend this game 'as is' and appreciate the subtle ways it handles a number of complex themes and ideas.
6 people found the following review helpful:
You are a robot filled with other people's memories., July 3, 2014
You Were Made for Loneliness is a rather poignant sci-fi tale. Like most twine works, it is a hyperlink story with minimal true interactivity. There is only really one choice that makes any difference to the story, but there is an interesting interlude in the form of hyperlink poetry, which works very well. The lack of choice certainly fits with the primary story arc and the nature of your character, but it is unsatisfying from a game perspective: provided the reader does not mind this, they will be rewarded.
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The story is presented as one overarching narrative that branches off into vignettes of memories. It is, perhaps, a trifle overlong for the story it tells, possibly a consequence of multiple authors each contributing sections. And it is difficult to care about every perspective, every character, but for the most part they are all well-written and have a consistent air of melancholy. Trying to determine what connections there are, what repetitions in voice, or where they are simply glimpses into separate worlds solely connected by love and futility is also fairly compelling.
Overall, recommended for fans of twine, and those who don't mind an emphasis on the fiction over the interactive.