IFComp 2014: Creatures Such as We   1 comment

You call all the tourists to you, “Listen, everyone to me, I’m going to shut off the exterior lights. We’re going to take the opportunity to look up at the universe.” Everyone tilts their heads up expectantly. The lights dim before turning off (so as not to be frighteningly sudden) and then it’s there. Nothing but the uninterrupted universe. No sun, no lights, no atmosphere, no reflection from Earth. Just the unending, beautiful eternity. There are audible sighs and gasps. You’re certain you hear someone sniffling back a few tears, but you give them the benefit of not checking whose audio trace it was.

Dating sims have never appealed to me, in that the situations tend to the unnatural. You just HAPPEN to be stuck at a school where everyone in your class is the appropriate gender for romance, and you have just-so opportunities to meet with the person of your choice and get to choose correctly or incorrectly from a list of choices where your goal is to match the personality of the character you want to romance enough to gain “love points” and eventually get an Achievement.

Lynnea Glasser’s Creatures Such as We (written in ChoiceScript) strikes me as falling out of an alternate universe where dating sims were instead story scenarios with natural opportunities to meet and befriend and possibly get closer to, like real life.

The moon.

The moon.

I have a very hard time encapsulating how excellent this game is in a description. You play a travel guide on the moon who also likes videogames. You can (as events unfold) have the start of a minor romance, if you like. The world building is full of details of what a realistic moon base might be like; the author clearly did research.

That doesn’t sound any kind of amazing, but this really is. Perhaps it’s the structure? You start by reaching the end of a game titled Creatures Such as We which strikes me as easily being like a 22nd century version of The Last of Us. The ending, however, turns out to be frustrating in a way that lingers with you, and when the game developers arrive as tourists you’re dying to ask if there’s an “alternate ending” that you missed somehow. You’ve unlocked Story Mode of the game, so you get a second chance later to see if anything has changed. The plot of the main story and the videogame intermingle in a way that is not parallel, yet the stories enhance each other anyway.

(Also, if you are a dating-sim fan annoyed by my first paragraph who is itching to drop a “but what about…?” in the comments, feel free.)

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Posted October 4, 2014 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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One response to “IFComp 2014: Creatures Such as We

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  1. Pingback: IF Comp 2014: Creatures Such as We (Lynnea Glasser) | Emily Short's Interactive Storytelling

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