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About the Story
As the most famous self-published Science Fiction author residing in Hillview, you are eminently qualified to judge their annual Elementary School Science Fair.
Nominee, Best Puzzles; Nominee, Best NPCs; Nominee, Best Implementation - 2016 XYZZY Awards
7th Place overall; 2nd Place, Miss Congeniality Award - 22nd Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2016)
The Breakfast Review
One thing I do appreciate is the fleshing out of the students--Stephanie and Amber, in particular. Speaking to them reveals a depth of character somewhat beyond the stereotype or expectation one might have at first glance.
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Number of Reviews: 4
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Having played Transparent and Baker of Shireton, I expected Fair to be an innovative, environmentally 'busy' game, and that's what I got. In Fair, you play as a self-published author who's been invited to judge an elementary school science fair. The game world is relatively small but extremely lively, crowded with science fair contestants, their parents, and a principal who mostly just wants the fair to be over with so he can set up for community theater rehearsal. As in Baker of Shireton, the world is full of things happening around the player.
Where Baker faltered due to the opacity of the goal (I don't think I'm the only one who never caught on that there was more to the game than unsuccessfully baking bread), Fair shines by giving you a few possible priorities and letting you choose. You don't have time to do everything--will you try your best to judge the finalists' exhibits, or try hawking you book and then award the prizes at random? I played through twice, and I have a strong suspicion that there a lot more possibilities than I found.
A few spots are a little clunky (at one point, you're told the principal is beckoning you over, but given no indication which direction you're supposed to move) but in general the implementation was pretty solid given how many parts are moving at once. Like last year's Midnight Swordfight, a single playthrough is quick, but it rewards revisitation if you want to find everything. Fun and recommended!
Disclaimer: (Spoiler - click to show)Hi, this are the reviews I did in the the IFComp 2016. I’m Ruber Eaglenest. Co-author of The skyscraper and the scar, and entry of that year. The review is posted without edition, and need some context about how I reviewed and rated the games. So, apart of my bad English I hope to be constructive. I will point to the things I don't like of the game, but I hope to be helpful. The structure I follow is this: Title, one line review, two to five word; Mobile friendliness, overall, score phrased based on IF comp guidelines. I had back ache and so that’s why I played most games in Android mobile, I looked closely at how games behave on mobile and review and vote based on that.
Mobile friendly: almost, it is parser through Quixe. Quixe is great. It works. Some minor glitches with the virtual keyboard appearing and hiding itself, but playable.
Overall: This is great fun. Well developed parser game where the player takes the role of a science fiction writer thrown in a school science fair to choose the winner of the fair.
It has three main activities: try to sell enough copies of the book to pay the rent, cast an eye to the fair expositions to select the winner, and the act of going up the podium to announce the winner. And all of them are just very funny, well developed, well implemented and with crispy prose. It make me laugh.
In my first play-though I tried to maximise my sales, so I dedicated to the labour of selling books (and had a lot of fun doing it) For this part of the game, it has a very clever CYOA system by entering the number of each option to make the repetitive actions of self-book-selling. The game always have a procedural generated potential customers selected from the traits of the people who usually passed by that kind of ambiences. This works! This is the demonstration that a parser and model world game made in Inform 7 could work with a CYOA interface. But of course this was done for just this concrete activity. However I don’t understand why it doesn’t have hyperlinks, it would ease the interaction in mobile, because, you know, entering numbers is not optimal in modern smart phones (weird). And I detect another minor oddity. When the CYOA interface is on, the normal parser interface is deactivated. This means that you can’t interact with the environment when you are in the selling activity and viceversa, you can’t sell books or show them in the “normal parser way”. The selling activity soon became repetitive, because the pool of traits from the potential customers it is very limited, in my opinion, for the scope of the amount of money to be gained. But… kudos to the author because it is very funny.
When you get your nose out of your own stand and books, there’s a full wild world out there to explore and enjoy. Kids, visitors, some fathers, and even the director, a very conservative person that contrast with the ruthless jungle that is the school . Everything is crispy characterised. It seems like the author knows well the ambience or that he has documented very well for this work.
The game has the kind of agency and freedom that I like. You can approach the fair whatever you want, you can just keep selling books (or trying) all the time and pass completely of the proper Fair so when you get to the podium you can just choose one at random (so unfair, but cruel and funny thing to do), or you can try to cheat the selling stuff with a quite un-moral thing to do that I would not spoil further, or just get out and get a cigarette with the smokers, in the cold. There’s no better winning condition, just several bittersweet endings, and that is fine.
I got some problems with the layout of the fair, so I had a hard time until I found that the fair projects must be explored going further to the west (five times). But I think this is a feature of the game difficult to lay out properly. And the fair space felt very crowded and noisy, with the video of one of the expositions invading the others kids spaces. But of course that could be perfectly intended by the author.
In the end, it is the kind of work that enhances the experience when replaying it obsessively. It is a somewhat simulation of a social space, so the more you explore the more you get, it could be resources to pay the rent, or hints of the relationships of the people around the fair, and some other hidden nasty secrets.
Score: Definitively worth it. It is a 9 because I don’t pretend to put a 10 to nobody, and because the procedural generated potential customers need more variety, but this game is just awesome.
I found "Fair" to be entertaining and enjoyable.
"Fair" is about a despairing science-fiction author who is invited to judge at a science fair. The exhibits are funny, the principal is annoying yet humorous, and the game overall was well done in aspects of both the story and the script.
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