IFComp 2017: The Fifth Sunday   1 comment

By Tom Broccoli. Played to completion on desktop using Chrome.

Three of the entries from IFComp are from Chinese authors off of the Qiaobooks group. I haven’t tried the others yet but it seems to be a binary-choice system.

In The Fifth Sudnay, a murder happens …

Sister Yang was dead.

… and you control the actions of Lin Guangrong, who realizes he is a prime suspect. You can, straight from the opening text, try to finger the murderer right away. This is in fact what I did, and I apparently got lucky with my clicks and won in 30 seconds flat.

OK, not the intended route. I restarted and picked “I can’t judge yet” to keep the case going. The structure seems to be: play the binary choices to an ending, get some clues, and then restart enough times that the murder is solved. The end state when the murder goes unsolved comes off as a little bizarre: you get specific facts like in a game of Clue, and “The End” just happens, there’s no real happy or unhappy conclusion.

Here’s a sample excerpt from mid-game:

“What…What happened?

The pungent smell of blood made Mr. J pale. He turned his head away from the cold body, but looked at Lin Guangrong.

“I don’ t know”

His answer left Mr. J at a loss…More precisely; there was a trace of anger in his loss.

“You don’ t know?”

(The space after the ‘ mark happens every time — I assume this is a coding error and not the fault of the text.)

Consider the structure of the penultimate line. The ordering is strange — we first have to parse Mr. J as being “at a loss” (whatever that means, I’m not sure in this context) then modify this emotion with “a trace of anger”, and then apply those emotions to the line “You don’t know?” which immediately follows. A more straightforward version of the line might be “Mr. J said, with a trace of anger, ‘You don’t know?'” It’s possible in Chinese the structure of “general emotion -> tinge to emotion -> line said with previous mentioned emotions” might make more sense, but in English it comes across a slippery and uneven.

All the text is like this. I felt like I had to read out of order. Unfortunately I have trouble enough solving mysteries in games with strong interactivity and prose; with this game I found getting traction nearly impossible.

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Posted October 19, 2017 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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One response to “IFComp 2017: The Fifth Sunday

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  1. Pingback: IFComp 2017: Summary and Mini-Reviews | Renga in Blue

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