Alter Ego

by Peter J. Favaro, Ph.D.

Yes, I’ll admit the “Ph.D” was rather offputting. Surely anyone who feels the compulsion to put their academic qualifications in a piece of interactive fiction is writing this as part of some paper, or just really anxious to let people know that “Hey! I’ve got a PhD!!!”

Anyway.

It’s a life simulation game, basically. Where your actions and attitudes affect how you turn out in the end. What makes it interesting is probably that it’s a Choicescript adaptation of a 

Much spoilers below.

Things I liked:

  • I liked the sandbox nature of the game – it felt like an RPG, albeit a superficially WASPish one (i.e. white Anglo-Saxon Protestant) set in a generic ‘Murica.
  • The platform suits the game, and the customisation of the interface was well done. 
  • Well done, too. I got emotionally involved.
  • The author(s) are aware of requests for features, and I realise that adding those in would be a Herculean task.

Things I didn’t like:

  • vagueness of NPCs – any details about ‘your best friend’ or ‘your mother’ are kept very, very vague. Just names, like Cindy or Mrs Hendrick, which tell me nothing
  • vagueness of details in general – As above, the whole game is set in some white-bread, generic, one-size-doesn’t-quite-fit-all ‘Murica. 
  • sections on the Intellectual Sphere use trivia questions to gauge your intellectual ability. This feels lazy. Google is your brain. (*note: the authors are aware of this)
  • So when I say ‘life simulation game’, I mean ‘simulation of life as a white cis male/female in a generic American setting’. 
  • attitude + action combinations which aren’t compatible… well, these don’t make too much sense. As a sandbox game, I’d like to have as much flexibility as possible. And then, according to the authors, it’s a game which clocks in at 220, 000 words, so. 
  • some of the conclusions drawn by the narrator were trying to assume a lot. Being excited for a sleepover means you don’t appreciate the security your parents provide??

I liked the direction of the game, though, and the variety of options already present are quite generous.

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