Review: Snowblind Aces   1 comment

This TADS 3 game could be thought of as Urban Conflict set as a romance in alternate-universe World War 1. Review after the jump.

A dark figure strides into the clearing, a smoking flare gun in her hand. She lets it fall to the snow and rests a hand on her hip, surveying you with her one good eye. “So,” she says. “It’s you. I imagine your plane fared as badly as mine.”

You smile in spite of the pain. “And it’s you. Aiding and abetting the enemy. What a poor example of patriotism.”

Snowblind Aces was the winner of the TIGSource competition Text the Halls. The writing is solid and the level of polish suggests a seasoned IF writer.

After the introductory sequence, the game settles down to a one room conversation. Unlike Galatea or Urban Conflict, there don’t seem to be distinct “moods” that affect the content of the conversation (although choices made do affect the final result). While this decreases the realism, the simplicity aids in game-play; there is no mystery as to why query X works only after query Y, or why waiting two turns might cause a sudden mood shift. The conversation system also uses link highlighting, which helps when the topics aren’t simple nouns:

We need to get to safety tomorrow, and we need to keep warm.

The characters in Snowblind Aces know each other beforehand, letting some of the conversation be the retelling of back-story. This also makes the romance slightly more realistic, even though the characters are perhaps a little too tailored to steer things towards a particular direction.

One could also accuse the game of being tilted at males; certainly one of the endings reads like the fantasy-fulfillment common in the genre. This is mitigated by multiple endings (so it’s the player’s choice how romantic they want to get) and a reasonable limit to possible actions. To get a romance story to work the author needs to pick a gender and run with it; hence I consider the tilt no particular fault, but a necessity of the form.

As an attempt at romance in IF form this is a noble effort; such works are still rare. For the competition it earns my personal Best of Show.

Posted January 4, 2008 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

One response to “Review: Snowblind Aces

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  1. Pingback: Ramen » Blog Archive » The IF thing

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