An Evening at the Ransom Woodingdean Museum House

by Ryan Veeder profile


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Number of Reviews: 5
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
Slim-backed historical-modern horror story about women's places in time, March 9, 2022
by Fie

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!

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