An Evening at the Ransom Woodingdean Museum House

by Ryan Veeder profile


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Number of Ratings: 22
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- Shaduf, May 25, 2022

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Slim-backed historical-modern horror story about women's places in time, March 9, 2022
by Sono

Really interesting game! This is very much of an exploration and a story rather than a puzzlefest, and I think it does those two things quite well. There was a very hard puzzle (how to re-enter the house) that I got stuck on, but the >hint feature allowed me to progress.

There's a lot of pleasing description here and a nice narrative voice (Spoiler - click to show)(with a contrast from 'I' to 'you'), standard of Veeder's writing. Although the end scenes were my favorite and what I remembered of this game for several years, I also really enjoyed the early game where you go around a museum you're a tour guide for and get to touch everything hidden behind the velvet ropes.

I especially liked the response if you try to >undo after completing the game.

The story has a satisfying ending. I think that's harder to find in horror stories nowadays, and I thought it was very effective, especially with how it was handled. (Spoiler - click to show)The woman that used to live in the house, with all the sexism and prejudices of the time, switches places with 'you', the tour guide living in the modern age. You'll get used to the uncomfortable bed and loneliness eventually, because it's time for her to try out her new car keys and autonomy!

(Spoiler - click to show)The use of a separate character choosing to leave her historical life (whilst fucking over someone else) instead of only having the narrator ruminating on how much it must have sucked or having it buried in subtext really made it for me. I especially liked how Lilian Woodingdean still felt like part of the 1800s even as she was ready to escape it. She dismisses the maid's room as unimportant if you try to examine it, and denigrates your attempts to play with the children's toys. Even the museum which prides itself on historical accuracy can't get everything right, and she provides corrections like how the rocking horse would never be provided to kids - no, that would teach them to be complacent with real horses. Her analysis of how values have changed as linearly pointing towards more convenient and comfortable makes very much sense from her perspective, and along with the mild, almost wistful tone that seems to be stereotypically packed with statements like those also comes with her implicit understanding that convenient and comfortable are things that she'd prefer to live with, given the option, and she's going to have such a great time in your car and modern life!

- penguincascadia (Puget Sound), February 18, 2022

- mg51, January 26, 2022

- Zape, September 4, 2020

- kierlani, April 24, 2020

- Rovarsson (Belgium), December 2, 2019

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Satisfying to expectations of the unexpected., November 26, 2018

Like the other games I played by this author, it was a welcome treat for a morning off work. This game took me a couple of hours to play to the end, but a lot of it was spent making the map, listing the objects and taking notes from the descriptions. I had to laugh at myself when I reached the ending. But it was a great experience, it shook up my conception of IF and really made me feel more free about how to write and create my own games. I would recommend just sitting back and exploring the house, taking in the sensory information. DO make a map, and experiment with the objects. I played this game without the recommended soundtrack (you will be given this option on the play-in-browser website)--I may just go back and play with the soundtrack, just to get the whole experience!

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful:
An effective ghost story, with some issues, May 25, 2018

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.

- Janice M. Eisen (Portland, Oregon), December 23, 2016

- leanbh, December 2, 2016

- Mr. Patient (Saint Paul, Minn.), November 10, 2016

- Denk, October 25, 2016

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful:
Delightful little story, October 24, 2016
by streever (America)

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.

- hoopla, September 13, 2016

- LisariaUS, July 31, 2016

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
A tightly-paced and well-written ghost story, June 9, 2016
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 15-30 minutes

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.

- NJ (Ontario), June 4, 2016

- Sobol (Russia), May 23, 2016

- E.K., May 10, 2016

- Robin Johnson (Edinburgh, Scotland), May 10, 2016

- CMG (NYC), May 10, 2016

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