Beyond Division

by Joseph Geipel profile


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- Mr. Patient (Saint Paul, Minn.), November 17, 2017

- Doug Orleans (Somerville, MA, USA), May 8, 2016

SF with an interesting framing and non-standard PCs, August 24, 2015

"Beyond Division" tells the story of an Earth under an alien invasion, and how a discovery in Siberia holds promise to fend off the aliens. The point of view changes and alternates between a wolf and a human, which I thought was interesting; especially the part where (Spoiler - click to show)we alternate and see both sides of the same conversation, which is interesting and I hope to see more of. The parts about the wolf feature non-standard library messages, and a stronger emphasis on some verbs, which is a very nice feature and contributes to setting the mood. The game takes an interesting keyword-based approach to conversations, which I found pretty effective. The writing is mostly good, although there are a few times where I didn't understand what the author meant by the turn of phrase (Spoiler - click to show)('the scars are the same' to say they haven't healed, 'the span of the tree is more horizontal than others' to say the tree had fallen). The implementation is overall good, and if the game keeps being made of short vignettes, it will probably be easy to keep the implementation level sufficient.

What I found the most interesting in this game was how it was framed: the story is, apparently, told by someone else, who also (Spoiler - click to show)provides footnotes throughout the story. The thing is, the game doesn't really explain how is this framing useful and connected to the story, which managed to leave me both scared and excited about what's to come. I mean, what does the game have to do with Latin? Who is talking? To who? Is it another character talking to my character who is then imagining him/herself as other characters in the story? (Spoiler - click to show)Is the author talking to the player directly? (cf the reference to the title in footnote 5) Is the author in 9th grade? I don't really what to expect from the story: am I supposed to play it straight, or is this the extended setup for a terrible pun in Latin that will be the last sentence of the work, like one of those Asimov short stories? Is it (Spoiler - click to show)going to be a 9th grade type of story, should I expect robots punching each other and Mountain Dew? Or a parody/deconstruction of those?

This is the game that piqued my interest the most among the Introcomp games this year, but I really don't know what to expect. However, it sets up several interesting ideas and threads, and if that all comes together and the author can pull it off, it could be very interesting and daring; let's hope this is the case!

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