Only a year late, that’s not too bad, eh?! I spent a little time catching up on IFComp games today.
The Milgram Parable
By Peter Eastman. (IFDB)
Starting with the story of Stanley Milgram’s psychological experiments, The Milgram Parable reads like an allegory, using the setting of a corporate militia. All the elements are there: unquestioning obedience, limited information and one to one meetings with superiors. I guess the sporadic binary choices come with the narrative territory, too.
So the game forces you to make increasingly abstract choices. Showing compassion at the start of the game yields the admonishment that you are quick to judge using very little information; this is what the game forces you to do. Ironic? Purposeful? Maybe. The scope of the game is so narrow, the stakes and emotional impact so vague, that the decisions start to feel academic.
The Good People
By Pseudavid. (IFDB)
This is a conversation-powered, living poem in which two people uncover a village previously submerged by a dam. As they uncover layers of the physical landscapes, so they also uncover the landscapes of the PC’s childhood and family.
Everything is fragmentary, forgotten, which creates a sort of creeping horror. The unpredictable visual design adds to that.
The game has a striking use of images throughout, and whether by design or browser variability, the text design occasionally looks buggy – text sometimes appears in unexpected places, or laid out in odd ways. Here I chose to see that as part of the effect of the game.
The Good People was intriguing, not least because it scratched my particular itch of exploring abandoned landscapes and memories.
By Jac Colvin. (IFDB)
MacLeod the neighbour has a kelpie – the water horse of yore – the same kind of creature that drowned the PC’s aunt.
The story was compact; the writing descriptive and the storyline fairly straightforward. Each decision has realistic moral stakes, and if we’re talking about moral decisions in IFComp 2019, this was much more convincing than, say, the Milgram Parable. Overall this was a polished piece of work and very competently done.