Wednesday, October 07, 2009

[IF Competition] The Ascot

Another IF Comp review, another spoiler space... with the final part of this Thomas Hardy poem:
The Ruined Maid (3/3)

"You used to call home-life a hag-ridden dream,
And you'd sigh, and you'd sock; but at present you seem
To know not of megrims or melancho-ly!"
"True. One's pretty lively when ruined," said she.

"I wish I had feathers, a fine sweeping gown,
And a delicate face, and could strut about Town!"
"My dear a raw country girl, such as you be,
Cannot quite expect that. You ain't ruined," said she.
That should do the trick, and we can go on to The Ascot.

I expected a game about horse racing, high society, and (perhaps) definite articles. A spiritual successor to Sting of the Wasp, maybe? Instead, I got an obscure kind of tie.

And it was cursed.

The Ascot is a CYOA-game of an especially minimalist type: you can only type "yes" and "no". Your choices have some effect on the narrative, though not overly much: many lead to premature endings, and most others only change either your inventory or whether you get a companion. There is, in other words, not much interactivity.

The story itself is not going to win any XYZZY's, but it is brought with a lot of enthusiasm. It is a hard heart that can remain wholly critical while we get to defeat an Eagle Monster by giving it a slush puppy (which is s kind of poison-coloured iced drink, isn't it?), then have our parents take away all the treasures we found.

So: enjoyable, not outstanding, perhaps a sign of better things to come.

That said, it seems that Michael Martin discovered something impressive in the game. Unfortunately, I don't know what he is talking about, but it might be worth investigating.

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