Reiko's Ramblings and Writings

What I'm reading and writing about lately.

IFComp 2014 Review: Creatures Such As We

Posted by Reiko on November 12, 2014

This is a review of games from the 2014 Interactive Fiction Competition. Scoring criteria can be found here.

Creatures Such As We
Author: Lynnea Glasser
Format: Web

The PC is a tour guide on the moon. What a cool job. Of course, there are downsides, like being socially isolated for several years. But things get more interesting when the design team of her favorite video game comes to the moon base. She’s just been obsessing over the depressing ending to the game and figures she can ask them about it. Naturally it doesn’t work out quite the way she anticipates, but they still have a number of philosophical conversations about the nature of art.

For a choice-based story, this piece is actually quite long. The first bit is primarily her playing the video game, and I half expected it to stop at the end of that playthrough, but that was just the introduction, the setup for the actual story. There are some really interesting things this story is trying to say about the nature of art and endings, while allowing the player to decide how she wants to feel about them.

The text is very immersive and offers what feels like real choices, and lots of them, although clearly there’s an overall plot that it’s following. It’s using the best kind of choice for this kind of limited medium, one that allows the player to choose how to respond to a situation while not requiring the story to completely derail as a result of the choice.

The only nitpick I had was with a few recurring issues with the writing. The author kept using commas after a character action to connect it with the next piece of dialogue when that action was not a kind of speech. Dialogue should be separated as its own sentence unless it’s described with “said” or “answered” or some other speaking kind of action. The engaging story and the sheer volume of text makes this a small issue though

Score: 9
Scoring: base 7, +1 for philosophical conversations and engaging plot, +1 for interesting choices

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