1958: Dancing With Fear - Victor Ojuel

From my review on www.avventuretestuali.com

From Narrativum:


Twitch Playthrough

I loved the story, the setting, the atmosphere; everything was top notch. I practically swooned at every description, and I was able to immediately immerse myself into my character and setting. The pacing was good, and while the map was small, it had a larger sense of scale thanks to the small self-contained flashbacks. The conceit of it being a movie really complimented the dramatic dialogue, and I loved the technique of filling out backstory with different flashbacks. Of course, non-critical portrayal of 1950’s film aesthetics runs the risk of dredging up more problematic themes (like… Taylor Swift’s Wildest Dreams) but Dancing with Fear confronts those problematic themes by giving an example of what an inclusive, culturally respectful 1950’s Hollwood Latinx drama would have looked like. The occasional sentences in Spanish taxed my high school level literacy, which was refreshing.

Overall, I found this an amazing experience, probably one that I’ll recommend replaying with my husband after I go through all the comp games and get to share the best ones with him. I love getting to play these sorts of games!

I also spent some time in 1958: please see my review and transcript here: blog.templaro.com/review-1958-dancing-fear/

Nice reviews above, and I concur. I’ll just toss in my two cents.

In this game, the storytelling is what stands out; it’s really in a class by itself here at IFComp. As usual, Victor gives us a strikingly believable, well-researched setting and superb characterizations. Apparently he’s specializing in female protagonists (this makes 3 IFComps in a row), fearless ones that can tackle a dangerous mission without any hint of it being out of their character. The story is told in a way that really puts you on the scene: on a low level through details and dialog, of which Victor is a master. Although there is a dose of deliberateness or foreignness in the writing, the synergy is strong with these native Spanish speakers using English, or their Spanish dialog ostensibly being translated. Dhakajack mentioned the decision not to italicize words like “coronel”–and I’m not saying he’s wrong–but I like them rendered in the regular font–it flows better and makes the characters seem comfortable with the words.

Although I found the plot of the game to be ingeniously well-planned, I struggled mightily with the puzzles pretty much across the board, sometimes even when using the “think” hints. I often didn’t know what the game wanted me to do, exactly, even when I understood the situation. Typical parser commands don’t seem adequate at first to deal with these complex situations. In the first flashback, it seemed like an aside where the story would move you along by itself, so I really didn’t get that I was even in a puzzle. However, I’ll bet my troubles were mostly a function of trying to play, judge, and sometimes review a whole bunch of IFComp entries in a short span. 1958 requires somewhat more focus than many other entries, and I failed to put myself completely in the right mindset. But, I do wonder if anyone else found the puzzles too difficult.

Implementation-wise, this seemed very solid. I just found two bugs, Victor, where the game didn’t respond with any output at all to good commands, although the commands were carried out. First was entering the car after getting the keys (I think–if not then something else with the car). Second was putting the dress back on in the library, after taking it.

I have a short review of this here: xenoglossy.dreamwidth.org/80253.html#cutid3

I didn’t have much trouble with the puzzles; I ended up having to turn to the walkthrough about halfway through at the point where there are several things that can be done in any order, because I didn’t realize that was the case and was confused that I couldn’t seem to do anything with the item I got from the first of the in-any-order puzzles I solved, but up until that point I was fine.

Hey thanks everyone for the feedback! :slight_smile:

@Lynnea, thank you for your kind words as well as for the streamed playthrough! It’s really invaluable to be able to watch someone play through the whole thing, specially with your asides and thoughts. Not just a lovely experience, but also a great source of insights.

@jepflast, wow, thanks a lot! Super chuffed you had a good time playing it - it certainly benefits from the things I have learned since the times of Pilgrimage, and from the feedback you gave me on that first game (and whose value I didn’t appreciate enough back then, but now I’m happy I listened to you and more people. Thank you!). And yes, well spotted for those two bugs - the car is a container, which always gives me grief and I haven’t managed to master yet (sigh), and the clothing system works under certain assumptions that I should have tested more thoroughly. Points taken for next time.

And last but not least, thanks Dhakajack and The Xenographer for your reviews! :slight_smile:

…so I guess I should write a postmortem, right?


Extremely late, here is the post-mortem: