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Discuss individual IFComp 2017 games here. Please keep your discussion in the correct topic thread for each game. Be aware discussion may include potential spoilers which may not be hidden.



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PostPosted: Sun Oct 15, 2017 4:51 am 
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I've written a review here: http://blog.templaro.com/review-unit-32 ... biguation/

- Jack

Quote:
This twine story starts from a wikipedia style disambiguation page, which collects items related to the term “322”, and the game consists simply of clicking around these links at leisure, exploring these unrelated topics.

Or is that what’s going on?

It’s time to try on the aluminium foil hats and get out the red string and white boards. Something damn clever is going on here.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 19, 2017 9:40 pm 
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Not a review but a tangential thought:

Spoiler: show
I was getting a frisson over thinking about this game today, reading about Russian propaganda efforts and also about some system a videogame company had patented (but not used, they claim) to manipulate the matches players get so as to get them to buy things in-game... and thinking, isn't this kind of a form of using our computers to issue us commands that work in some lizard part of our brains?


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 21, 2017 10:55 pm 
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Presented as a Wikipedia-style disambiguation page, this is a sneaky little gather-the-evidence experience with a terrific idea at its core. (I also really like the title that goes with it!) A little patience may be required because, unless you are riveted by conspiracy-theorist-type Strange Events, there are only two real plot developments: seeing your first coded message, and seeing what happens when you've seen all of them. Don't worry, though--no message-decoding is actually required.

Writing encyclopedic-style might be hard to pull off, especially when you must limit length and the number of cross-references. Here it is done fairly well, although you can feel the author striving for that Official tone some of the time instead of it feeling natural. E.g., there is a reference to "Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS)", but the stated abbreviation does not occur in the rest of the text. NASA being rendered as "Nasa" is another thing I remember. Little errors here and there. Nothing that should deter a playthrough.

Does it all hold together? I'm interested in your opinion. For my analysis, join me under the spoiler hood (major spoilers):
Spoiler: show
First, I'm not 100% sure, but it seems clear enough that the messages were not meant to be decoded and don't actually have any associated text. They're a plot device. It turns out that YOU have been receiving these codes that instruct you to carry out the Unit 322 Murder. That's a great plot twist and narrative payoff!

The victim of the Murder is Dr. Stefan Reichardt, who was in charge of the original effort (by Germany in WWII) to condition folks to be susceptible to mind-control via subliminal, coded messages. The sender of the messages (in the game) is Reichardt's (adopted?) son, who became an expert in this particular technology and who has been working to extinguish the practice by any means necessary.

But, perhaps fittingly, questions remain.

The codes are received after (or, interpretively, during) correspondence-type documents in a fixed-width font that makes them look like either typed letters or mysterious official reports that have been filed away somewhere. It's not clear to me whether these documents are meant to be inline-referenced sources of the Wikipedia-style entries, and that's most of the confusion. Wikipedia uses superscript numbers in square brackets, but these are in parens.

If they are citations that everyone can see, it suggests that anyone merely reading this disambiguation page could be the murderer, which makes the player feel more connected to the game. But in that case, how was this person conditioned to react to the codes?

On the other hand, if the codes are received only by a certain individual by private correspondence, then what do these documents have to do with the Wikipedia entries?

There are problems either way, which blunted the effectiveness of the game's payoff for me.

Another question is whether the entries on the disambiguation page were supposed to be related to this whole affair only by coincidence, or by subliminal suggestion. If the latter, then why would the name of the original project need to appear in any of the conditioning or instructions?


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 03, 2017 4:31 pm 
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jepflast wrote:
Don't worry, though--no message-decoding is actually required.

I myself like decoding puzzles and dutifully copied all the "codes" into a text file to analyze them later. And then the game ended.
I guess they are just random symbols; kind of disappointing.


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