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About the Story
An exploration of stuckness, change, and the things we canít let go
Audience Choice--Best Abstract Game, Best Verb Use, Most Allegorical, Main Festival - Spring Thing 2021
Number of Reviews: 6
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There's a lot of fun poetic imagery in this piece. It ends quite abruptly, and won't take more than a few minutes if you play it as I did.
(Spoiler - click to show)INVENTORY, then EXAMINE all of the stuff in the satchel. The game will suggest that you can CHANGE the stuff, so CHANGE all of the feelings, one at a time. Then you can trivially GO EAST and WAIT a turn to win that way, or CUT BRAMBLES and GO WEST and WAIT a turn to win that way.
EDIT: (Spoiler - click to show)You can also optionally help the traveler, who appears fifteen turns into the game. You can GET ODDMENTS (twice), GIVE ODDMENTS TO TRAVELER, and then TRAVELER, CHANGE MOMENTS.
Maybe there was another way to win? Maybe there's more to it? Or maybe that's all there is.
Baggage is set in a very evocative symbolic setting. You're on an endless gravel road going nowhere. Your only chances of getting somewhere lie behind two impenetrable hedges.
You must dig deep within yourself to make for yourself the tools you need.
This vignette tries to relate to the player the hard and painful work it takes to open a path out of depression or emotional blockage. It gets a lot of things right; the need to hold some cherished beliefs to the light and see them for what they really are, to leave behind painful yet known -and therefore twistedly comfortable- convictions and memories.
The way to deal with these, to mould them into something helpful instead of restrictive is a bit easy. I would have liked to see some more of what a person need to do and what needs to happen to a person to climb out of the darkness, instead of presenting it as a "simple" decision. However, this small story does present the necessary steps one has to take, albeit somewhat on the theoretical level.
The contrast between the player character and the traveller (the only NPC) gives a bittersweet taste to the endgame.
A sincere and thoughtful piece, worth thinking and feeling about after you finish.
What I liked:
This is a short but effective tale about someone - let's call them a positive role model - who examines and questions their own psychological baggage, ultimately transforming it into more constructive forms to help them move forward. I found it a beautiful and inspirational read. The entire endeavor is fairly simple, but there's enough metaphor to keep it from feeling totally "in your face."
What I didn't like:
There seems to be a rather serious bug where (Spoiler - click to show)the fellow-traveller will stop speaking if you leave the road and come back.
What I took away:
Sure, Baggage is a fairly short and casual play, and a longer game that explores the same themes in greater depth could perhaps have conveyed them more powerfully. But for a 5-minute experience, it's wonderful.