IFComp 2015: Arcane Intern (Unpaid)

by Astrid Dalmady. (Twine; play here)

The title hints at something mixing alchemy and words like ‘eldritch’ and ‘esoteric’ with mundane stuff (ahem introcomp ahem), and having played Dalmady’s previous work, I admit I come to this game with expectations.

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The game hits the ground steeped in the context: symbols from what I think is the Key of Solomon, and the language used in modern-day internships.

You’re aspiring to get into book publishing, and of course if you want to go down that path then internships are the way to go. It’s just that this Precantatio Publishing seems a little different…

Dalmady’s writing is able and smooth. She uses visuals in this Twine game minimally, though attractively.

The game is divided into sections using a to-do list as a kind of progress marker – which is kind of ingenious, really. Despite the title, there’s plenty of variety in the intern-like activities and plenty of things to inspect and explore. The story branches at some of the choices – something which isn’t immediately obvious – but once you figure out how to get to the branches, the new story paths are quite satisfying.

Well-written and visually attractive, Arcane Intern (Unpaid) lives up to its title.

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