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PostPosted: Mon Nov 06, 2017 8:28 pm 
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Bloody Raoul is my favorite one so far in Petite Mort, although I haven't played them all yet. Let's do it next!

Bloody Raoul by Ian Cowsbell

Spoiler: show
Knife punks. I love it.

This is a game fundamentally about identity. Your knife is your identity. It has a name: Bloody Raoul. You're just the hand that wields it. You're a nobody. A nobody with no body, since even your vital organs can be replaced with fungus and it doesn't matter. Your suit is cardboard: "Cheap enough for a punk, sturdy enough to last a few weeks until fashion changes." In other words, disposable. Like you. Punks don't last. They get cut up, cut out, replaced.

When the game starts, you're cornered in a close by other punks. No escape. But there are two deific statues in the neighborhood who might do you a favor. Gameplay is light item management to offer the right offering to the right statue. You get to slice into a vein with Raoul at one point, but I've gotta confess, I wish the mechanics had concentrated more on cutting stuff. Most interactions are the standard parser variety.

The writing is sharp. Sometimes it slips: "She is a merciful guardian knight, said to offer succor to those in need. Though not without cost -- nothing's free in this city. She'll offer succor to anyone, in need..." I sense EctoComp's three-hour limit. With more time, everything could be trimmed into shape.

A suspicion: Ian Cowsbell is a pseudonym. We'll see.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 07, 2017 12:15 pm 
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Saturdays by Verity V. Lee

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What? He has half an extra finger!? And he can do things with it? Extra thumb?

Saturdays does a good job of planting possibilities in the reader's mind and then letting them wallow away and disturb you later. The story describes a black-goo dripping portal that appears in a school - usually every Saturday - but inconsistently enough that it seems less a natural phenomenon and more a biological one. I really enjoy "what the hell physics are these?" types of stories where the scary stuff masquerades as normalcy; House of Leaves being a particular favorite. There's also a line between being pointlessly cryptic and leaving unanswered questions strategically to induce delayed Fridge Horror, and Saturdays stays cool, waiting for you in the refrigerator.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 07, 2017 12:33 pm 
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I changed the thread title so it's more general purpose. More comments are welcome! Anyone can pitch in!

I played Saturdays once but I want to go back and play it again. But yes, that one detail...

Spoiler: show
Half an extra finger. Nothing special about it. Just... half an extra finger. Delicious.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 09, 2017 9:57 am 
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dripping with the waters of SHEOL by Lady Isak Grozny
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This story has beautiful visual presentation and prose styling. The writing is lush as well. My only suggestion is basically the standard "show don't tell" - especially in horror adventure. Telling the reader in second-person how they feel is a quick immersion-breaker unless the author intends and sets up a definite separation of PC and player, in which case second-person might not be the right narrative voice.

That said, the author isn't really going for scares. This is a fantasy slice-of-life that happens to include a "ghost" (? read the story). This is totally legit for Ectocomp, avoiding horror trappings normally expected in a "spooky" competition. Removed from comparison with other entries that lean more enthusiastically into the horror genre, SHEOL stands on its own as another piece of a larger world Grozny is building.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 10, 2017 6:52 pm 
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Primer by Christina Nordlander

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This one is very interesting!

The story is thin: you shoot your father, but you can rewind time, and maybe do something different. What's neat is that you don't choose to rewind time yourself by typing a command. It just happens. The game loops. After three or four loops, it ends for good, but before that point you want to acclimate yourself to the repeating sequence, try to poke it toward alternate paths. So you are under a time constraint, but also under no time constraint, since you're rewinding time.

I found three endings. One involved interacting with an intangible concept. I figured this out without too much trouble, but I'm not sure how easy it'll be for other people. But then, maybe it shouldn't be easy, since other endings are available. And I could still be missing something major. It's hard to know where the game's boundaries are. Different options might become available at very specific points in the repeating sequence that I didn't find.


Something in the Night by AnssiR66

Spoiler: show
I'm not sure I saw everything in this game. You're alone in your house, and you're spooked after watching too many scary videos. Your object is to get upstairs, turn on the hallway light, and reach your bedroom. Well, I got to an ending, but I never made it to the bedroom. Maybe you can't?

It's a somewhat boilerplate situation. That said, it does have some neat interactive elements. The challenge is figuring out how to move. You start off too terrified to leave the living room. So the parser keeps thwarting you, until it reveals two new verbs: SPRINT and CRAWL. Most parser games treat GO as an all-purpose navigation command, with all movement synonyms mapped to it. This is a different experience. SPRINT and CRAWL don't actually lead to very different outcomes, but the idea has potential. Imagine CRAWLing all over a game and having special options open up.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 10, 2017 11:29 pm 
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The Rats in the Bulkheads Bruno Dias
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I bounced off this a couple of times because it does things I don't usually care for - I had to download a thing for my specific system, the text types out - in full words at least instead of letter by letter.

But I finally got time to sit down and relax with this and treat it as an almost cinematic experience, and I was not disappointed.

At first, I thought I was looking at a fancy background movie, but I think the game text plays over a live rendered 3D environment and that's why you download a thing. I could be wrong, but if so I was fooled expertly. I watched the sparks and they never seemed to repeat, bouncing off the floor and drifting in antigravity.

The sound design is oppressive at first and it took me several tries to get along with it. The text and choices are displayed with different metallic banging sounds that pace the work and create a background texture along with the smoky popping of that aforementioned wire. And other sounds.

The story combines the loneliness of vast space with existential dread and oppressive hopelessness of inhabiting an environment you aren't built to survive long in. Then there are rats. I'm not really afraid of rats. I've never had a bad experience with them. There are no actual pictures of rats in the game (and, respectfully, no jumpscares). But you will remember the rats.

This is a quiet, nonlinear, brooding horror with a diegetic, musique-concrete background score that builds and works its way into your psyche along with the words. And other things.

At first, I was critiquing as a designer and thought, "Why did I need to download a thing to look at one room?" By the end, I was convinced. Meticulously and thoroughly designed with words and multimedia, this is what Bruno Dias excels at. It even earns the Dutch angle.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 11, 2017 12:30 am 
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I'm curious if Primer
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has anything to do with the indie time-travel movie it shares a title with, or if that was just coincidence.

You've made me interested to try it next!

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 11, 2017 12:39 am 
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I appreciated Something in the Night.
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I went along that it was speed IF and went with it...yeah...horror movie setup, yeah I'll do the thing...

I can't remember the last line verbatim, but it
Rant: show
(totally paraphrasing) Holy shit that was scary! You move out of your house and keep living your life instead of staying the scary house. Good End!
made me laugh and subverted my expectation.
My experience is that it was a great setup and punchline.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 11, 2017 7:07 pm 
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I wondered the same thing about Primer, whether the title was a reference to the movie. The game kinda involves the same concepts, vaguely, but I don't remember the movie well enough to know if there were specific callbacks in the game. My assumption would be no, it's not meant to be directly related. But I'm not sure.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 12, 2017 10:25 am 
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After playing Primer, I don’t think it’s related Intentionally in any way, unless the author was perhaps inspired by the movie.

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