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About the Story
Year 3XXX, you discover an old computer, an antique, in some ruins. Surprisingly, it still powers up when you press its buttons. Wonder what you found within its files?
Winner overall; 2nd Place, Meilleur Usage du Thème; 3rd Place, Prix d'Excellence en Design Narratif; 2nd Place, Prix d'Excellence Technique - French Comp 2023
Winner, Outstanding French Game of 2023 - The 2023 IFDB Awards
Number of Reviews: 2
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Sometime in the 4th millenium, you uncover an ancient computer. Buried in its databases, underneath layers of password-protection, is the account of a chilling juridical/moral experiment.
DOL-OS falls into the genre of games where you investigate and hack your way into the deeper security-layers of a computer-system. It does this in a very engaging way, with a creative take on the genre.
First off, the user interface is extremely well-polished. The program boots up slowly (but not annoyingly so), there are loading bars, the colour scheme suggests a retro-futuristic aesthetic. Some files are corrupted, the letters shifting and blinking ever so slightly to make the text harder to read, thus adding to the sense of investigation and decryption.
The immersiveness of the UI coerces the player to let herself be cast as the PC in the encompassing narrative. I couldn’t help but be reminded of Babel, where you roam a scientific base to uncover the intruiging backstory. DOL-OS has a similar narrative end-goal, but it eliminates the intermediary player character and incorporates the player directly into the narrative.
Of course, regardless of the aesthetics of the UI, the most important thing is the substance of the story being unraveled underneath.
The general story of DOL-OS is not that original. It takes well-known SF tropes as its basic elements. It does however take an intersting and original viewpoint toward the usual conventions of this type of story.
Rather than explicitly point out the adverse effects on humanity of the experiment, this game lets the player draw her own conclusions. Instead, DOL-OS heavily focuses on the personal impact of being part of such a scientific endeavour. Through journals and expert reports, the personality and history of the characters are uncovered piecemeal.
One character in particular, Théophile, shines through as the tragic protagonist in this slowly emerging drama. The player gets tantalizing glimpses of his life-history, his relation to his family, his weaknesses…
Progress through the game is gated through a number of password-protected transitions deeper into the database. Especially the first puzzle is brilliant. It takes careful attention to detail and an associative leap across several documents to construct the first password from the scattered clues.
After that, the gateways are less strongly protected, serving primarily as pacing mechanisms.
DOL-OS succeeds admirably in casting the player as a technological/archeological investigator from the far future. It conjures up a world of morally ambiguous advances and of potentially chilling consequences that seem to lie perhaps only the metaphorical five minutes into the future from our present point of view.
Engaging, thought-provoking, tense,… A very strong piece of IF.
This is a long game in the 2023 French IF Comp, and one with an innovative take on interactivity and on the themes of 'treason' and 'archives'.
My opinion of the game changed around a lot because there are so many types of interactivity. Basically, you have access to a machine depicted as green-on-black, and you can dig through folders of files and applications.
I was in big trouble at first because my French is mediocre and there are parts of the game that are just reading page after page of fairly complex and technical French.
But then I realized that this is just a big game. Interspersed with the documents are images, codes, and minigames. They were well-done and all worked perfectly (except sudoku, which always quit when I put a 1 in).
The story really developed. At first I had no idea at all what was going on, some kind of obscure tale of political protest and treason, but then it became more of a work diary and finally unfolded into a pretty cool ending.
Overall, I'm very pleased with the outcome. It reminded me a bit of Kafka at parts, in a good way, but ended with its own style. Very fun, one of the better games I've played this year over all.
Outstanding Use of Interactivity in 2023 by MathBrush
This poll is part of the 2023 IFDB Awards. The rules for the competition can be found here, and a list of all categories can be found here. This award is for the an outstanding game of 2023 that felt truly interactive. Voting is open to...
Trailblazer Award of 2023 by MathBrush
This poll is part of the 2023 IFDB Awards. The rules for the competition can be found here, and a list of all categories can be found here. This award is for a game of 2023 that you saw as a trailblazer. Voting is open to all IFDB...
Programming/command-line games? by autumnc
What are some games that either include computer programming as a game mechanic, elements that simulate computer programming, or include some sort of command-line or terminal interface? This could include parser games, choice-based...