Monday, August 3, 2015

IntroComp 2015 "Deprivation" by Michael Coorlim

Michael Coorlim may be a new name to you in the IF scene, but he's already an accomplished, published author.  Having signed-up for his newsletter when he first introduced himself in the IF forum, I found that he seems to write tales of high adventure with a penchant for steampunk.  I haven't had any time to actually read any of his static fiction, but I was excited to see that he has released the intro of a work of IF for the annual IntroComp competition.  So, his was the first I decided to try.

While competently written, "Deprivation" suffers from more than one issue usually seen in amateur works.  First of all, some would decry the initial setting of the game as a "my IF apartment" simulation.  And, unfortunately, I couldn't seem to make the story kick-in to something more than that.  The story does have a plot-hook of sorts at the very beginning where the player is told that a weekend has just passed and during that weekend, things occurred that need to be fixed.  I'm not trying to be light on details here, the story already is that way.  So, being trapped in your apartment (you can't use the exit to explore the world any further), you are forced to click around the scenery, examining and using things in the hope that the story ramps up.  Unfortunately, 31 moves into this exploration, I felt I had run out of options and I saved and quit.  I'm all ears for hearing what I missed, but until then, I have to say "Deprivation" just doesn't actually start.

I'm aware that this is, after all, IntroComp, and one should not expect anything finished, but submitting a simple apartment simulation with some plot buds that don't sprout, seems a little too "safe" for me.  Usually in IntroComp, the works are slightly more hookish than this.  I'm really not trying to trash "Deprivation", I'm just saying I wish it were more.  I am still curious to any updates to the story or any advice on actions I might have missed.

For the time being, I give "Deprivation" a 5/10.  It has strong writing but, as I said above, I couldn't get any semblance of narrative going beyond the first paragraph.  I hope Coorlim finishes the tale, as he is more than capable of releasing a strong work of IF.

Friday, May 8, 2015

ShuffleComp2: When The Land Goes Under The Water by Nikephoros De Kloet

Right away, I need to tell you that this is a great work of IF.  It's the first I've played in the ShuffleComp2 competition that is currently underway.  I had to stop and immediately blog about it.

This is an extremely well-written and immediately engaging piece of IF.  Upon starting, I am told that the story is meant to be played only once.  Skeptical at such a strange boast, I delved in.  

"She awoke when the sun's glare reached her face, dancing in between the flapping of her sails."

This perfect opening begins your tale, a young (?) woman who is exploring the crumbling and sinking ruins of her youth, the city of Atlantis.  The story is inspired by a song (either heavily or lightly, I've not listened to it yet) as are all works in the ShuffleComp2 competition.  The song is "What'cha Gonna Do" by Abigail Washburn and Bela Fleck.  I've not heard of this Abigail Washburn but I've enjoyed what Bela Fleck I've heard, especially The Flecktones discography.  But this story didn't make me think of that or the New Grass Revival.  Instead, the writing took me directly to the dead city and I followed the protagonist as she explored the ruins and learned the stories of those people who endured the final days of the city.

"She picked up the topaz bracelet, investigating it wearily: Clear, orange-gold crystals of enormous size came from mines in a distant and hostile land far to the southwest. The interlocking trapezoidal stones that surrounded the silver periphery of this bracelet were cuttings from one such stone; on its way to Atlantis, it had broken the back of a slave and killed a mule with its sheer weight. The cuttings were scraps, remains after the enormous original stone was cut into a shape pleasing to its owner.

This bracelet had been a lover's gift, and invitation – its recipient laughed, and never wore it, finding it at once gaudy and pedestrian; but the gesture was taken as it was meant, and the two of them were happy, for a time, until the tides had separated all lovers on the island."

This is a prime example of the writing within the game; the stories that unfold.  The language pulls at the heartstrings and plays with your head a bit, too.  Is this girl who wanders the ruins psychic in her impressions?  It doesn't matter.

I explored the city and learned 7 of the stories within it.  Returning to my raft, other exits that I could have explored in the beginning were now sunken beneath the waves.  I had to return with only my 7 tales, hoping that was enough.  I will definitely be exploring this version of Atlantis once again.

I give this game 5 big ass stars!  Good job, pseudonymous author(s)!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

ParserComp! Let's Play "Six Gray Rats Crawl Up The Pillow" by Boswell Cain


Click the above link to watch me play about 15 minutes of Boswell Cain's "Six Gray Rats Crawl Up The Pillow", a ParserComp entry.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

ParserComp! Let's Play "Chlorophyll" by Steph Cherrywell


Click the above link to see me play the first few rooms of Steph Cherrywell's "Chlorophyll" interactive fiction.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

ParserComp! "Sunburn" by Caelyn Sandel (Let's Play & Review)

"Sunburn" by Caelyn Sandel (Let's Play & Review)

Sorry for the delay, everyone.  Click the above link to go to the YouTube page for my (attempt) at Caelyn Sandel's "Sunburn", a work from the current ParserComp.