Friday, August 21, 2015

Beyond Division, by Joseph Geipel

This is a short effort investigating telepathic powers, and not just of people, but of wolves. I like the use of footnotes to convey what the author is trying to do, and I think maybe future IntroComp editions should flesh out what exactly we can or should do. How much is too much? How can we make sure we are not push-polling the reader? Whatever the answers, this game certainly does not push any trollish boundaries that way. So I think more games, completed or not, should try this. Because I think it helps the author, too, answer tough questions in a public forum, and it's something to poke at when the creativity dries up.

This was the first of the IntroComp games, and I enjoyed replaying to refresh my memory about what was going on, here. It seems like it has a solid foundation, and the writer should be able to push his vision through. While it may seem like faint praise to say a first-time writer didn't try to do too much, that's what happened here. The game moves quickly to a focal point that opens up several possibilities. So while with Meld I wondered how this mess got bundled up (which is fun to figure in its own way--the intellectual poking is my sort of thing,) I saw--and was open to--more possibilities here. And I suspect this will appeal to a wider audience.

The switch in view between the wolf and person was quite good, and I was caught up enough not to notice I was being funneled to the next bit. The wolves and people obviously had some enemy's enemy and how much to hate the bad guy issues to work out, and if it wasn't super intense, it opened up the way for a big story without choking me off. The author had a clear idea of what to do and never needed to resort to silly tricks to do it.

I also enjoyed having the conversational topics at the bottom. This relieved the standard headaches of a parser game simply and effectively.

So I think this was the best title of IntroComp and the best work, too. It's not just one I hope gets done, but I can really see it getting done, and just because the author seems to have a pretty good vision of where to go doesn't mean they don't deserve the reward.

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