IFComp 2014: Jesse Stavro’s Doorway   Leave a comment

“Okay.” Is all you decide to say. The man grins and you can tell at that moment that he is insane. Then, like a ton of bricks hitting you, you realize the man before you is also a time-traveler. He’s a Tourist and, by his menacing grin and crazy eyes, is more-than-likely an Absurdist; here only to cause chaos and confusion.

Jesse Stavro’s Doorway by Marshal Tenner Winter is a parser-based journey through time where the protagonist is trying to find his friend Jesse.

There’s some definite need for polish. I found weird spacing, missing nouns, and an otherwise ornery parser at times (for instance, there’s someone named Riley that helps you through the first time portal, but the syntax for getting him to help eluded me so much I needed the walkthrough).

More importantly, the plot are characters were flat. There was a lot of promising backstory involving warring groups using portals, including “Sealers” who want to destroy them and a sinister “Mr. Stillwater”, but the essential character actions seemed to be: travelling back in time, hitching a ride to a Grateful Dead concert, getting in, getting into a fight, going back through time, and — the plot essentially cutting off.

This sort of existential journey would be fine if the writing was stronger and there were more details and things to play with. I could see this being sort of the IF version of Easy Rider, but as is it’s not compelling enough to recommend it.

Posted October 17, 2014 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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