Spring Thing (or Fall Fooferall) is upon us! This year boasts a dizzying diversity of styles and stories, with some reaching Imaginary Game Jam levels of imagination. You can find all the games here.
When you escaped, you were childless. Now, away from the City and its cells, you have two daughters, both special and peculiar in their own ways. Their stories will shape the future of Claro Largo, and who knows what else?
The narrator in this game is pretty much invisible, compared to what the titular sisters do (and end up doing). The story is grim, melancholic; the village setting suggests claustrophobia, despite its promise of freedom. To me, this called to mind stories such as The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas by Ursula Le Guin, or Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle. (Of course, these comparisons are far from perfect, though they share similar tones and atmospheres.)
This game uses telescopic text (similar to what this tool does) to slowly reveal the story. This gimmick is purely mechanical (technically, there’s nothing really to stop this being a linear story), but the order in which text is presented makes clear the conceptual links, the story’s chronological order. Sisters is very simple, but tells a good story. One playthrough took me about 15 minutes.
The premise is that you’re annotating and shaping the journal of a sailor marooned in the Endless Desert. The story is quite broadly branching, with some branches longer than the others. The writing is more flowery than one might expect from a desert journal, but it allows for contrast with different writing styles, which is very much in line with the theme. I found the ending bit to balance out the floweriness of the earlier parts, which was a nice twist.
Ironically, the prose still bears traces of not having been edited, however, with sentences such as “A fetching the lady pirate…”. I’m… not sure if this was intentional. If it was, then that is pretty inspired.
I admit that I took a while to warm to Shipwrecked, especially with the writing style. I liked where it went with the editor, though, and actually found myself wanting a more substantial story, rather than the meandering storyline I found here.