IFComp 2014: Laterna Magica   Leave a comment

What does it mean to ask? How do I ask?

A: Ask the divine cosmic intelligence by simply closing your eyes and start to feel how you want to feel. Make it a habit to ask your higher self for guidance in this process. Guidance is always given if you know how to listen.

B: There are more than one way to ask, but all includes a need for something. You need to feel a desire. So, you might say that it all starts with a feeling, a need or desire. The stronger the need or desire, the stronger the asking and the stronger the message. Make sure always to be in a state of allowing yourself to receive. Then start receiving.

Laterna Magica by Jens Byriel is a maze, of sorts. It asks a series of questions answerable by choices A and B, and only responds with more questions.

It is not only a maze but a quite frustrating maze. Sometimes there are loops and you return where you began. At some point you can pick “enlightenment”, at which point the game will say “Don’t you think that your understanding is a bit premature for you to proceed?” and loop you back to the start.

Maybe this was meant to be a true meditative game, but clicking in circles and seeing the same text over and over and over and over and over was anti-meditative.

Eventually I reached an ending for no apparent reason.

I’m not sure what would make things better. The concept seems interesting enough, but the text is too circular and repetitive to convey any interest past the frustration of the maze. Perhaps some sort of “navigational” device would help? It is difficult to tell if anything useful is really being done and perhaps some sort of indicator if a passage has been visited or not would alleviate this.

More nuggets of setting might help as well. The philosophical arguments might convey more interest if they could be linked at least to the notion of a society or person (Emily Short, for instance, tries to stretch it with a reference to magicians although I believe the reference may be strictly metaphorical) and context might give at least the notion of a goal (while I reached enlightenment there was no pleasure in it, just confusion).

Loops and loops and loops.

Loops and loops and loops.

Posted October 9, 2014 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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