Bell Park, Youth Detective

by Brendan Patrick Hennessy profile

Pre-Teen Mystery

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Number of Reviews: 7
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1-7 of 7

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Very Well Written CYOA with Great Title Character, May 10, 2017
by Audiart (Davis, CA)

I enjoyed the humorous yet mature writing style, and the titular character much more than the game itself. The only real puzzle is figuring out the solution to the crime, by interviewing all of the suspects. Ultimately the main character is so likable and funny that going through every dialogue option was buckets of fun. You will find yourself going "back" to check all of the options.

The character of Bell Park is one of the most well-developed teen characters I've ever seen in IF. Although in general I despise twine games, I think the format really worked for this game. It would have probably been less interesting as a short story, for example, because part of the fun was going through all of the different dialogue options.

I would recommend this game to people who don't like Twine format in general, because "Bell Park, Youth Detective" really plays more like a Choose Your Own Adventure book than the typical moody avant-gardism infesting the genre.

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Excellent twisted version of a young detective story, February 3, 2016

Bell Park is one of the four games put out by the author in 2013, and is one of the best.

You play a youth detective like Nancy Drew or the Hardy boys, but get in way over your head. Most of the game is a parody of these books, showing what would happen if someone really tried to solve crimes as a youth.

I enjoyed the game. The ending was strange, but fits the story. I recommend this game.

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Interesting murder mystery., January 10, 2015
by Chai Hai (Kansas City KS)

This was fun. Not exceptionally great or anything, but worth your time.

You're a 12 year old at a library, hoping to score some extra cash. There's some internet conference about to start, but someone was just murdered! Can you figure out who the killer is before the conference starts?

I enjoyed talking to the various suspects. The first guy was my favorite.

There's a twist ending which was entertaining, but not too far off considering that it was an internet convention.

There could've been more choices, the story was linear, but it wasn't bad. A nice diversion.

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Absurdist setting, real emotions, December 11, 2013
by Andrew Schultz (Chicago)

Bell Park was cathartic for me. Nothing terribly serious, really. It just made it easier to laugh at the tales of Haledjiann and Encyclopedia Brown that baffled me so much as a nine year old. So I gave this game a 2013 IFComp Miss Congeniality vote over a few other strong efforts that were tough to leave out.

I was apparently supposed to be impressed and motivated, but I was just intimidaed. I almost never got any of them, and even when I reread one of the books years later, that whole frustration returned to me. Even the well-written CYOA Who Killed Harlowe Thrombey (available on OpenLibrary) left me awed--though I was younger when I read it.

Bell Park kicks the concept when it's down, though. Bell never really stands a chance with the adult world, taking every possible wild guess and going with it. Or to be more accurate, the game lets you go through all the guesses. there is a lot to laugh at, from the condescending and clueless adults to Bell's constant change of assuredness as to the murderer. Her formulated accusations are perfect for her age, and if the actual murderer is completely unbelievable (if very amusing and creative,) I can easily remember having my opinion on several adults--famous and non-famous--when I was young. This game captures that sharply and without malice.

Some people claimed about the lack of interactivity and different endings, that is about the only fault I can find with the game. Something small like different endings depending on how many choices you/Bell lawnmowered through would be a neat boost, but I can't complain.

Also, the game's Twine layout just looks like a book. The font, spacing and page size. Once I saw it, I wondered why nobody had done it before. I suspect there's a lot more of this stuff you can do with twine. I hope to see it. As well as the straight-ahead just plain writing that Twine lets you do and that this author is good at.

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
Hilarious , November 30, 2013
by Sharpe (Playing Kerkerkruip, the IF Roguelike)

Bell Park, Youth Detective isn't really so much a game as it is a funny short story. It isn't meant to be taken any more seriously than a skit on Saturday Night Live—and what's even better is, I can see this actually being a funny skit on a show like that. Suspension of disbelief shouldn't be a problem at all.

To say it has multiple branches like a CYOA is true, but it's more like a series of jokes with multiple punchlines. At first, I chuckled a few times here and there throughout the story, but upon reading one passage toward the end, I burst out laughing. At that point, Bell Park certainly served its duty and became a worthwhile read.

It's very well written, fun, and simple. Two thumbs up.

—Richard Sharpe

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
Low on choice, but well-written and fun., November 18, 2013
by streever (America)

The writing is good: I'm not typically one to sit through a game with large amounts of text, but the presentation and writing on this game were both very well done.

The story centers on a 12 year old detective investigating a murder, and makes clear nods to how ridiculous the premise is.

The writing is funny and engaging.

This CYOA is low on choice--like many classic CYOAs, it seems to have one outcome. The lack of choice didn't hamper this entry, however--it was still engaging and enjoyable.

I appreciated the formatting of the page--in general, I think the better CYOAs lay out the page in a way that makes it easier to read than the default layouts.

0 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
Much text, few choices, October 4, 2013
by Ray

This CYOA is fairly competently written and mildly amusing at first, but gets increasingly boring when the player, or should I say, reader, is bombarded with page loads of text with only a few and useless choices to be made. The story is improbable enough to make me lose attention while at the same time not wacky enough to keep me entertained (unlike the author's earlier piece about bees). So I skipped from about half-way through till the unspectacular end.

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