IFComp 2014: Caroline   Leave a comment

caroline

Caroline by Kristian Kronstrand is a choice-game where you still type things in. That is, you have one or maybe two choices but you need to reproduce what is in boldface (exactly) to move on. I suppose the intent was to avoid the click-click-click syndrome that can affect choice-works where it is too easy to jump by story material without thinking about it.

I did have typos sometimes but I type fast enough it wasn’t too frustrating for me; still it makes me wonder if they’re some middle ground between instant clicking and long typing. (There is also one payoff spot which I’ll write about in a moment.)

After this point are plot spoilers—

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The plot has the player (who is by necessity of the plot male) on a date with an assistant editor named Caroline. Eventually he gets invited back to Caroline’s apartment, who then maybe like one hour later invites him to her church and tries to force him into a cult. If you steer him away, Caroline walks away at the end and that’s it; if you steer him to the cult, eventually Caroline and the PC have a god-baby or something.

Mostly this wasn’t worth my energy. There were only two bits I found compelling:

1.) If you try to leave the church early you find locked doors and a hostile priestess. I felt a breath of the sinister and thought perhaps the plot was going to make an interesting turn (Rosemary’s Baby as opposed to whatever this thing was, perhaps?)

2.) If you let Caroline leave, you can either type to chase after her or “do nothing”. Doing nothing means to literally not choose to type, at which point the text fades away. It was a moment of real-time akin to Border Zone and would have made for a compelling ending had there been any motivation at all to like Caroline in the first place.

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Posted October 13, 2014 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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