IFComp 2007: Wish   Leave a comment

Next on the agenda is Wish, a Christmas vignette.

I write this on Halloween. Theming, what theming?

Everything was as expected. Mother was dancing frantically from chore to chore while father, who had just come in from tending the animals, played joyfully with Max, the family Border Collie, who was the same age as Sarah. With no brothers or sisters to share childhood, and no friends within a ten mile radius, loneliness was a constant ache for Sarah. Thank God for Max!

Wish follows a “cutscene formula” where the action the player does (a brief romp through a fantasy-Christmas world) is only tangentially related to the main plot (a real-world Christmas story).

This isn’t my favorite IF structure, but I don’t mind if the writing is smooth and plot engrossing enough that I want to find out what happens in the main plot, and the play environment is sharply realized and enjoyable just for the sheer imagination of it.

Unfortunately, Wish fulfills none of these conditions. The writing is bland, unassertive, clich├ęd, and filled with sloppy grammar mistakes. The traumatic incident in the plot is over so quickly there is no sense of drama. The fantasy environment is bog-standard.

Still, given all those negatives, the game is worth playing. It’s short, the puzzles are basic but solvable, and even though the sentimentality is oversweet it’s a relief from the Lovecraftian creeping horrors which often populate serious IF these days.

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Posted October 31, 2007 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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