Shufflecomp reviews (50 Shades of Jilting, Mirrorwife, Groove Billygoat, Sparkle)   2 comments

50 Shades of Jilting, by Lankly Lockers

Surreptitiously, you somehow concretize the abstract (its appearance in your inventory was admittedly a great first step) and physically transfer your run-down relationship into the pocket of Sam’s coat under a smoke screen of small talk about the weather.

You have one move to break up with your lover, at which point the story rewinds and you can try it a different way. This is an excellent concept, and the writing goes down terrific when in small doses (as above) but there are some giant clumps which go on and on and on:

“Sam, I’m going to see if we can get these drinks to go. It’s a beautiful day and I just can’t bear to be inside.” “No problem,” says Sam, “I’ll put on my shades.” Five minutes later, you’re strolling down a pedestrian mall with paper cups in your hands. “Do you mind,” you ask, “if we head over that bridge? I’ve got a bee in my bonnet to get out of downtown.” “I’ll have to walk back here when we’re done,” starts Sam, “but I can do that.” Half an hour later later, you make a suggestion: “How would you feel about hitting up that big park at the edge of town? Something just rubs me wrong about being among all this asphalt and cement on a day like today.” “I can appreciate that,” replies Sam, “though I might need to have a rest break or two on the way there. It’s nice out, but I’m getting a little winded.”

Maybe I wasn’t in the right mood, but I admit to skimming some of the text. I also did not come close to finding all the endings. Does someone have a spoiler list?

Mirrorwife, by Virgil Caine

You touch one palm to the a wall. The stone is damp and rough and makes you think of salt. During your time underwater, you often wondered if it would have been worse to be surrounded by rock and left in darkness. If the queen was ever here, however, you find no trace, and you would know. Of all people, you would know.

From lengthy to succinct, and the effect is lovely. I played through multiple times, even though the interaction is minimal and as far as I can tell the structure is “linear with side descriptions and a final choice.” I want to see more of this world. I want to see what happens after.

Groove Billygoat, by Efrain Finnell

True confession: I picked the song here. The King of Pop is source for a truly odd music video, as well as suggestive lyrics (“So They Came Into The Outway / It Was Sunday-What A Black Day / Mouth To Mouth Resus-Citation / Sounding Heartbeats-Intimidations”). There were all sorts of threads I thought a potential int-fic could go on, but I was surprised to find Groove Billygoat took every thread imaginable and went crazy with it.

“It’s him!” shouts Rufus, pointing down the block, where an unearthly light as if from a hundred garbage truck headlights grows around the corner, casting the shadow of a thin man against the wall. He emerges around the corner, his white suit blinding in the golden light, surrounded by clouds of mist from a curb grate.

The sidewalk slab lights up as the man steps, and then the next one as he steps onto it, only fading after it his shoes have left the surface. This can’t be… you think, trying to blink the mirage from your eyes.

It’s like it invents a new genre: dance noir. It is wild and swerving. The lyrics in Smooth Criminal, are (to be polite) difficult to understand; this game turns that fact into a puzzle. There is a random easter egg reference to Thriller. MOONWALK is a verb. Go play it (although cling, somewhat gently, to the hints).

Sparkle, by Karly Di Caprio

“What do you seek?”

“I seek the truth, shifu.”

She hit me on the fingers with the head of her cane, like many times before.

“You say you seek the truth, but only lies come out your own mouth. What do you seek?”

You can turn a dog into a flute with the power of your mind.

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Posted May 20, 2014 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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2 responses to “Shufflecomp reviews (50 Shades of Jilting, Mirrorwife, Groove Billygoat, Sparkle)

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  1. Spoiler list for 50 Shades: type COMMANDS.

  2. Thank you for the “50 Shades” remarks, including some that can appear highly complimentary when selectively quoted. It’s true that as I approached the end of my minimally-required 50 short stories in which the same basic thing happens every time, I started needing to sprawl a bit order to come up with new ways of getting to the same place. Hopefully a post-comp release will include some editing for brevity and punchiness, which my development timeline didn’t allot for. (The indulgent example here was an attempt to depict a nested, kind of exponential series of “out”s: out of the room isn’t enough, out of the building isn’t enough, out of the neighbourhood isn’t enough, even out of the city isn’t enough. A bigger kind of “out” is required to get out of going out with Sam.)

    If anyone is ever in the mood to read about 50 break-ups, they must be one dark soul indeed 8)

    There is COMMANDS as Busta noted, but I fear I left one out by accident and the list languishes at 49. “Fortunately”, apparently the intended game-ending (itself somewhat underwhelming: you prioritize fleshing out the content you expect people to see) is intermittently failing to be triggered when all 50 magic words are invoked, so your failing to get there is saving you from a different texture of disappointment. Again, a major priority for a post-comp release, along with more valid triggers (by a factor of some 3). When the post-comp release realises this game’s throttled potential, I’ll look you up to let you know that it’s no longer half-baked. Thanks again! Mere acknowledgement of one’s creation, warts and all, is hugely gratifying.

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