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Paean to Wanderings
Written for LOTECH Comp, this depicts, in rather exaggerated form, the process of brainstorming a story. There is no single, unifying narrative; the story can go in a great many directions, and the suggestion is that it could go anywhere. Choices are framed in terms of things like "Choose a setting" or "This isn't working. Try switching viewpoint." The great majority of the stories are never finished; the game ends when the writer either gives up or feels they have enough material to write something. It's consciously Borgesian in that it mostly plays with many possible stories, rather than attempting to develop and detail a sustained one. (One of the major branches is explicitly Calvino-inspired.)
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Number of Reviews: 4
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In this game, you create a story by choosing from menus. This game has a time cave structure, where every chance branches widely into more choices.
This usually is not effective, but the branches are short, the game meant to be replayed often, and you have a general idea of what effect your choices will have.
Options include choosing a setting for your short story, choosing characters, choosing motivations or objects, and so on.
To be honest, playing this reminds me of all those days I've sat at my desk (or anywhere else), notebook and pencil in hand/laptop buzzing and ready to go--and then nothing happens at first. This game reminds me of a more humorous version of my own mental process as I wait for genius to come. Genius, however, arrives right on time for this game.
The controls are simple as you choose the options by number, selecting the next step in your creative process as you venture forth into the lands of creativity, looking for the ever-elusive Great Idea. Every option opens up new choices, until you either write your idea or lose it.
So, while it's neither a long game nor a profound one, it's a lot of fun to see just what sort of ideas come along.
Ok, I'll admit right now that I'm not a huge fan of cyoa adventures at all. I my opinion they ask you to do two things, and then you end up doing something completely different than you wanted. Unlike traditional cyoa, this one is likeably different because instead of dying when you choose a wrong path, you just restart and can easily get back to the same place. Another thing the story was fairly good at representing was the difficulty of writing your first few sentences or paragraphs, and how frustrating it can sometimes be.
However, the game seemed to me lacking in several respects. For one, I thought that the humor all throughout the game was at times forced. There were some places where I found the writing funny, but others just didn't work where they were. The 'writer's block' joke was a little bit overused in this case. Another fault in the game was how similar all of the paths you took were. They consisted of "sentence, problem, resolution, sentence, problem, resolution, etc." and indeed sometimes a ***the end*** came before the first resolution. It was a little too repetitive in the who story structure for my sake, and got quite repetitive after a while. Especially the endings were mainly the same.
Ok, at the beginning of the review I was poised to give a 2 star, but looking back I think it deserves a three star. 'a dark and stormy entry' was not bad, but just average for even a cyoa game.
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This is version 6 of this page, edited by Emily Short on 25 August 2011 at 10:56am. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item