Thursday, March 12, 2015

Six Gray Rats Crawl Up the Pillow, by Boswell Cain

Six Gray Rats Crawl Up the Pillow is a brief work where you are sent to a nobleman's castle to sleep in his bed, on a dare. The plague has killed him.

There's a lot of shuffling, though, and I suspect some is intentional, and some may be annoying parser stuff, though I think some repetitions go on too long for me. It's okay to have a few, and I think the serial REMEMBER is something worth putting into more works. But it feels like there are too many cooks in this game--the gothic book's bizarre plot was intentional, and it clues a hidden attribute of a certain item, but all the same, it's like listening to a song that I might enjoy at half the volume.

The parser seems to actively inhibit what should be simple options, too: GET TORSO.W.DROP IT. This may be intentional, for instance with having to remove the four body parts one by one just to get some sleep, but there's a lot of shuffling which left me saying, okay, get on with it. Stuff like SLEEP saying you need to get in bed, and having to do the whole GET IN BED. I get it that this can be a joke and it breaks down the acts you have to do, but the parser dragged out the mystery without elongating it. So the technical bit takes a hit--the parser probably meant to slow you down a bit, but on the other hand, there was enough content that I figured early on I could replay to see what I missed, and I planned to--and the roadblocks got in the way of that at first.

Unfortunately it's the sort of thing where I have a disconnect and think the writer is trying to be impressive, and I'm sure some people find it impressive--as opposed to me just being impressed. Or, I'm able to say, I'm pretty sure this is well written, but I'm not enjoying that. Instead, I feel like literary critics are around me saying I don't appreciate its hidden layers of complexity.

So this is perhaps one example where my relative lack of time leaves me impatient. This felt a lot like Lime Ergot, with having you look into things, and into things more, and even more. There's a part of me that wanted a game with simple mechanics and good writing, and now that I've seemed to have gotten one, I don't enjoy it. Even accounting for preferred genre, it left me a bit cold. But then I yawn at Blue Angels and a lot of special effects, too. I like having that space to imagine a bit, maybe even imagine wrong, and this style doesn't do that for me.

However, the author deserves credit for some things: I guessed the ending, but that was because the game clued going north at the start, which fails cleverly. (Also, there were no signs of rodent infestation.) I liked the painting-switching, which isn't much of a puzzle (in fact I bypassed it,) but it makes sense. So although the game wasn't fun for me, it did encourage me to look into it. It has cleverness, but perhaps it pokes fun at conventions I never really understood, or that I don't really feel are important to subvert.

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