Conversations with my mother

Screen Shot 2013-06-30 at 4.16.15 PM

Playable at http://aliendovecote.com/uploads/twine/others/conversations%20with%20my%20mother/conversations.html

By Merritt Kopas.

Hypertext! This Twine… game… is short and sweet. The player can replace words in a conversation to alter its direction. As plot goes, it is minimally branched, featuring about three major choices, but perhaps thought-provoking all the same, since it works on the commonest, almost meaningless phrases we use in conversation.

City of Secrets: in progress

I am enjoying City of Secrets greatly now (after being stuck in the opening of An Act of Misdirection longer than I’d like). Have a quote:

“What sort of shopping is there to do in the City?”

“Oh, a very wide range,” says the concierge, launching into another of his speeches with the mechanical ease of a robot whose button has been pressed. “Clothing, for men and women, ready-made and tailored; you’ll find some of the shops right on this street. There are hats –”

He breaks his stride as he realizes that you are not wearing a hat and do not have the appearance and demeanor of someone who ever would wear a hat. “– but perhaps sir would not be interested in them. There are also, of course, books, musical recordings, fine food and antiques, magical items, spices…”

and this:

You take stock. You are awake, and your mouth tastes of socks.

You play as a tourist in the City who has been tasked to look for a renegade. All very mysterious, yes, but there’s lots of exploring and a natural-sounding conversation system in place!

Madam Spider’s Web

by Sara Dee. (Parser; IFDB)

You are a servant girl in Madam Spider’s subtly terrifying house, and you have been tasked to clean up. The house is small and self-contained, though there are a number of treats and surprises in some places. The game took me less than an hour of play.

Plot: The first half of this game is mostly puzzle-based, with rather little in the way of characterisation of the major NPC, the eponymous Madam Spider. There are some creepy parts subtly implemented which did add atmosphere, but were largely ambiguous and did not do much to progress the game. After the major plot twist (which is somewhat unsurprising), it is strictly linear. There might be some metaphors going on in the game, though, which I haven’t deciphered.

Mechanics: This game is definitely well-designed. Consists of a number of small, straightforward puzzles, but even the most clueless puzzler can complete the game with the adaptive hint system. Would have been more satisfying had the puzzles been more complex or more challenging, but that’s just me.

Nautilisia

by Ryan Veeder (Parser; IFDB)

Screen Shot 2013-06-30 at 4.17.49 PM

This game cleverly subverts the overused ‘dream world’ genre. The narrator is in a coma and Nautilisia is a manifestation of their imaginary world- but this fact does not mean unreasonably surreal scenes or excessive deus ex machina…s. It mainly means self-deprecating symbolism and not taking yourself too seriously.

Puzzles were pretty straightforward and I took about half an hour to complete it (excluding time to do amusing things, though). If anything, the puzzles are almost so straightforward as to pose no challenge. The game pokes fun at the tendency for IF authors (and conventional authors too) to give every single thing  a symbolic meaning. It is humorous, witty and soundly constructed.

Asylum

by Trelza, playable at http://asylum.storynexus.com/s

The premise of this Storynexus world, Asylum, is delightfully surreal but somewhat alarming. It is, unfortunately, still under construction/incomplete, but it is a testament to the quality of this game that reaching the limit of story content was like having to stop abruptly at the end of a cliff.

As the story’s listing on the SN main page warns, it contains disturbing imagery remniscent of Hellboy and dismemberment.  Dream-worlds are overused in Storynexus worlds, but Asylum’s departures from reality adhere strictly to its own brand of logic.

The plot was somewhat linear- there is no real choice- and too little content for the player to  decide whether this linearity is a nod to something else deeper or because the game is just like that

It was intriguing and I would like to see it in its fully-developed glory.