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(based on 22 ratings)
About the Story
Karen Chambers gives tours in a restored Victorian home.
Language: English (en)
First Publication Date: May 9, 2016
Current Version: 1
Development System: Inform 7
Makes reference to The Horrible Pyramid, by Ryan Veeder
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Number of Reviews: 5
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Overall, "An Evening at the Ransom Woodingdean Museum House" is a very effectively spooky ghost story, which deftly builds up suspense and manages a delicate atmosphere.
Uncharacteristically for Veeder, the map is a little bit hard to navigate, especially outdoors, and I thought that (Spoiler - click to show)getting back into the cupola from outside was seriously underclued; it wasn't even clear to me what I was supposed to be doing at that point, and I had to really run down the clues.
Worse, right at the climactic ending of the game, the author sees fit to suddenly insert a really direct explanation of the game's themes into the narration, totally killing both atmosphere and subtlety. It's like dropping a grand piano on us labeled "HERE'S THE SUBTEXT BY THE WAY, IN CASE YOU MISSED IT". This is especially puzzling since the game deploys and refers to a lot of traditional elements of Gothic literature, which sets us up to expect some more sophisticated handling of these well-worn themes, or at least not to expect them to be hollered explicitly at us. Oh well.
Also, for the "tricks that only work once" file, this games makes freakily effective use of (Spoiler - click to show)deceptively pretending to undo. This mechanical trick fits perfectly with the game's spooky atmosphere.
So, a good campfire story, although with some avoidable hitches. Worth a play.
This piece begins with a sense of leisure and time: the day is ending for you, a docent who provides tours of a historical home for the rare visitor. The sense of place and setting are excellent--this could easily be modeled after any of a dozen small historical museums from New England.
Tension builds quickly (especially with the recommended background audio), and continues to a satisfyingly creepy and unsettling finish. The pacing and plotting are both well done.
The one area I wish Veeder had spent more time on was in fleshing out the protagonist and giving us a greater sense of who we are, and what the stakes mean to us, although I suppose some of this is done in the implications. I do wish there was a little more characterization, typically a stronger point in his work.
Ryan Veeder is known for tongue-in-cheek, polished games. This game is well polished and paced, but this time it's a creepy ghost story. Like a campfire tile, it is spooky, and dark, but has a vague hint of a smile at times (which may just be my interpretation).
I found the game to be effectively creepy, banking on anticipation, slow changes in writing, and gradual, creepy, realizations.
I strongly recommend this game, especially for fans of campfire tales.
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