by Juhana Leinonen profile

Science Fiction

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Number of Reviews: 6
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful:
Hypertext fiction with interesting premise, January 16, 2011

I'm generally not one for keyword-driven stories, which emulate the kind of interactivity you would find in hypertext. I've always felt that that type of interaction was inherently limiting; with all the connections drawn out for the reader, there isn't much interactivity to be had other than by exploring the graph that defines the story's structure.

That said, when considered with respect to some of the more railroaded story-oriented IF out there, it actually demonstrates some comparative benefits. No chance for hunt-the-verb, hunt-the-noun, synonym sickness, or many of the other opportunities for failure that "standard" IF offers. Non-interactive NPCs seem less of an affront when the illusion of free conversation isn't even presented. So maybe there's a natural fit between this format and an all-story, no-puzzles work.

As far as plot goes, this piece is short but very interesting. In the minutes it takes to play it, the author managed to interject some surprising ideas about the mindset of the protagonist -- things that I did not expect or consider but which are immediately obvious when pointed out, things which demonstrate that the author has put some time and effort into crafting the fictional world created. (Spoiler - click to show)I especially like the way some of the ideas are revealed through characterization; the response to "mirror" in the exercise room packs a lot into a few words. The short plot and ambiguous ending practically beg for a more thorough exploration of this fictional world.

This was the first work of the author's that I've ever tried, and it left me favorably inclined to try others. Worth the time if you are seeking a quick diversion.

Comments on this review

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AmberShards, January 16, 2011 - Reply
I appreciate you stating the hypertext nature of this game. Now I know not to waste my time. The author should have been honest and labeled it as a COYA.
Nusco, February 19, 2011 - Reply
I partly changed my mind on "hypertext" (or rather, keyword-based) games after playing Pacian's Walker & Silhouette, that actually manages to feel like IF and to include a couple of interesting puzzles. Starborn isn't quite up there, but I enjoyed the few minutes I spent playing it.
Wade Clarke, January 16, 2011 - Reply
Well, it's not literally hypertext. There are no clickable links. There's a prompt where you type keywords, and the story graph isn't all forks. Some strands produce no new keywords. Unlike CYOA, you can move forwards and backwards.
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