IFComp 2015: Nowhere Near Single   1 comment

By kaleidofish. Played on iPhone to completion.


Nowhere Near Single is a Twine game about a young woman (Jerri) in a polyamorous relationship with three other women (Nayeli, Sarai and Taya), while simultaneously trying to have a successful pop music career.

nowhere

The world universe is slightly adjacent to our own, because there’s an agency (“Estrella Entertainment”) that supports a plethora of solo pop stars and a “Pickford Top 100” chart that rates singers. It has the feel more of J-Pop rivalries than the current system in the US, but it’s certainly plausible.

In the Nowhere Near Single-verse (and to some extent J-Pop), being a pop star means keeping up kayfabe manufactured by the company. In this case, being a lesbian but pretending to be monogamous, causing Jerri the need to hide the poly part of her life in public.

This dynamic is terrific and prevents the story from getting caught entirely in the morass of Jerri’s relationships, which is a good thing because I found the interaction between public and private the most intruiging part. While I felt like the characters were well drawn, I just couldn’t bring myself to care about the relationships the same way I did kaleidofish’s previous IFComp entry (Venus Meets Venus). Perhaps because the personal events felt somewhat like a sitcom? (Presuming we lived in a universe where someone could have a polyamorous sitcom.) It also might be the old danger in multi-character stories of losing focus and not painting every brushstroke as solidly as it deserves.

I found the most affecting part of the story to be when Jerri becomes a gay icon but is prescribed what advice to give young gay fans (go back to your parents who threw you out!) even when she feels the advice is false.

What do they think of you now? Are they ashamed that you’re known as Estrella Entertainment’s queer idol? They shunned you for something that’s turned you into a solid star. You’ve risen above them.

Do they ever pick up the phone and think about calling you, just like you’re doing now? Do they wish, do they hope that you’ll be around for the holidays? Have they kept your spot at the table empty?

There’s a lot more choices in this game than in Venus Meets Venus, which is good because there’s stronger implication the viewpoint character is “you” and issues of consent start to arise pretty quickly. Even though there’s long stretches of straight click-ahead narrative, the story is even longer (I hit just under 2 hours) and has plenty of possibilities for decision.

This includes the final choice, which like Switcheroo, was the type where I could easily go back and pick differently but where I felt there was only one right ending for the story. The world convinced me to care.

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Posted November 8, 2015 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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One response to “IFComp 2015: Nowhere Near Single

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  1. Pingback: IFComp 2015 Summary | Renga in Blue

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