IFComp 2007: My Name is Jack Mills   Leave a comment

My Name is Jack Mills describes itself as “An Interactive Pulp Fiction”.

The Hotel Falcon was in the shadier side of the town. From what I knew, it was no Hilton. A pit stop for travelling businessmen with small budgets and for cheating husbands who were classy enough not to take their girlfriends to a cheap motel.

Pulp writing drips with flavor due to the main character’s worldview (usually cynicism, sometimes fatalism) tempering every part of the text. Like this from Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep:

I sipped the drink. The old man licked his lips watching me, over and over again, drawing one lip slowly across the other with a funeral absorption, like an undertaker dry-washing his hands.

My Name is Jack Mills aspires to this (see the hotel description above) but doesn’t sustain a convincing hard-boiled tone. This is also the fault of the plot; theft isn’t as gritty a crime as murder. Still, I found it easy to get in character, and when Jack was offered a cigar to smoke I wanted to puff rings into the antagonist’s face. (A command, unfortunately, the game did not support.)

The plot is arguably a trifle for the genre, but it came out smoothly and I did manage to reach a satisfying ending with no hints at all. The plot branch plays it mild on the moral quandry, which was refreshing in a way — most experiments with plot branching these days seem to be between Morally Ambigious Option A or Morally Questionable Option B.

Posted November 9, 2007 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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