IFComp 2007: Reconciling Mother   Leave a comment

I’ve gotten through enough of the Interactive Fiction Competition entries to write some reviews. Other blogs also have reviews.

She fingered the pendant slowly, seductively, then hands it back to you. This was given as a token of reconciliation, as an apology. She looks straight into your eyes. What were you so sorry about? You told her that it was so long ago, you couldn’t remember.

I’d peg this game in a genre I just invented called the Vague genre, where strange ruminations abound, a plot never really materializes, but things never diverge enough to be flat-out Surreal. (Well, one could argue the Ganymede part passes the line, but I’d say it doesn’t embrace the insanity enough to be more than half-drawn sci-fi.)

The most obvious part of this is the putting every object in capital letters, which certainly qualifies as an artistic statement. There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with artistic statements, but there has to be some motivation, however harebrained. (Maybe something meant to evoke a language which does capitalize their nouns?) I get the impression the author simply thought it Looked Cool.

There are excerpts like those in the quote above, which seem to be there because they Sound Cool.

The writing is evocative in a way. As individual pieces, some phrases could be meaningful in context. Unfortunately, as is they come off as an undigested stream of consciousness.

As final advice to the author: keep control of your plots. It seems like you had Lovecraft in mind but lost track of what you wanted to do and kept digressing and then finally tried to glue the whole thing together. This is a terrible way to do a plot.

Also, nurture your impulse for artistic writing, but steer clear of actually using it. That sounds odd, but you’re working too hard; once you have quality internalized, the good stuff will flow naturally.

Posted October 16, 2007 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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