Reiko's Ramblings and Writings

What I'm reading and writing about lately.

IFComp 2016 Review: Yes, my mother is…

Posted by Reiko on November 18, 2016

This is a review of a game from the 2016 Interactive Fiction Competition. Scoring criteria can be found here.

Yes, my mother is…
Author: Skarn
Format: Web – Twine

It’s not easy being the daughter of someone famous. But it’s even harder when you put yourself in a position of meeting and counseling many other people. The PC here is struggling under the shadow of her famous activist mother, while working through her counseling caseload for a day. Each of four cases has about three different kinds of responses. Certain responses reveal the PC’s affinity with her mother, while others indicate that she’s forging her own path.

Many combinations result in a generic “just another day” ending. While there are four other special endings, I struggled to find any when I played through the first several times. Fortunately, there’s a walkthrough available, so I was able to play through again and see all the content. For at least one ending, the result of one case affected the options of another case, so I’d come close to that ending without finding it. Each playthrough is very short, maybe 15 minutes the first time, and 5-10 minutes to skim through the text and make different choices after that.

I didn’t really find the story very compelling, though. There are interesting bits, such as when the PC decides to share a vignette about her mother with one of her clients. But the factors that affected the ending were too obscure for me, and since by then I was merely skimming the text to get to the “right” answers, the emotional effects of being more or less a rebel were severely blunted.

There was also a theme of the activism being on behalf of “n/a” people, which seemed to be some kind of catchall term for anybody that didn’t want to be labeled as anything else. Which is both an awfully vague social label in the first place, and a rather inconsistent concept. If they don’t want to be labeled, why are they creating another label? It gets even more confusing, as it seemed to include people rejecting gender labels, restrictions on modes of dress, and even their own faces (one guy wore a mask all the time). If this is meant to be social commentary, I’m really not seeing the point of it.

Time: 30 min
Scoring: base 7, +1 for multiple endings, -1 for shortness, -1 for vague social commentary
Score: 6

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