MIRROR AND QUEEN
[spoiler]A parser game with unusual input system: you only need to type one word, a noun, at a time. The protagonist is the evil queen from the Snow White tale, talking to her mirror. Based on the input, the mirror then responds in various ways. There is actually no plot or goal; after typing a certain number of words, the game ends (or, I am not certain if I managed to type a certain word and the game ended for that reason). Responds have been implemented to admirably many words, and one and the same word might have multiple responses (I tried some words multiple times during gameplay, and the responses were different each time). Even some commands usually understood to be out-of-world, such as ‘about’ and ‘hint’, had similar responses as the rest - the game never broke mimesis even there. So, without question, implementation is top-notch and works perfectly. The artistic value of this game is good, and it ended soon enough - I mean, it didn’t drag on forever. If it had gone on some more, I would probably have grown weary of it after a while. The fun here is to explore the scope of the implementation, but as there is no plot or goal, it is admittedly one-sided, someone might even say a bit “thin”, after a while, despite the polish. Points anyway for the unusual approach and inventiveness of the responses to a big number of nouns.
ARIADNE IN AEGEA
[spoiler]All the names in the introduction seem a bit overwhelming at first, but the gameplay turns out to be pleasant enough, well-clued and reasonable. The author seems to have a genuine enthusiasm in ancient Greece where this story takes place, and actually we learn from the author’s notes that the present game is just an introduction to something on a larger scale. The only drawback here are the sometimes lengthy location descriptions and the long conversations that at times happen automatically, without any specific command typed. Also, you can just ‘talk to x’, not specify what you want to talk about. (Another gripe: there are rather many typos here and there.) However, the game doesn’t take too long to finish, and there is a sufficient amount of humor included. Despite the aforementioned long passages of conversation, I got drawn into the game world and would like to see the larger game that the author hints at.
ALL I DO IS DREAM
[spoiler]A Twine piece about passing the evening at home after your spouse goes to work. The protagonist tries various things but cannot get anything meaningful done, and there the game ends, after some minutes of play. If this is supposed to describe depression, or something similar, it left me a bit untouched; it could have gone on for a bit longer, to make the player care about the characters a little more. Competently programmed but short and not that influential.
One remark: “You can try to take a nap or go back.” Go back where? Yes, to the previous passage, but it breaks the mimesis a bit.
CACTUS BLUE MOTEL
[spoiler]A game about three friends traveling from Houston to California and staying overnight at a roadside motel. After they have checked in, the protagonist cannot sleep and goes for a walk, just to notice that the motel is quite different from when they arrived earlier that evening. There are more guests, more colors, more life. It seems like the other guests have stayed there for a long time, unable or unwilling to check out, and during the night, the three main characters start feeling the same way. Maybe this is an allegorical reference to wanting that things would never change (the protagonists are on their last trip together before they split, to go to study in different universities later that fall, etc.) - at least I understood the game this way. The underground episode felt a bit unnecessary and not connected to the rest of the setting, and the rabbit character was a bit peculiar - I might be bad at getting all the references or meanings the game hints at. The links had a nice font that resembled the illuminated neon light letters on hotel signs. While I may understand vaguely what the game was aiming at, in the end I didn’t feel it was a complete bull’s eye.
THE SNAKE’S GAME
[spoiler]I didn’t quite get what is happening here. I am playing against a snake of sorts who asks me to predict what will happen to certain things in the future. Then, something else (than what I predicted) happens. Most of the time there was only one alternative to click on. Sorry I didn’t make much of this, I guess I must have missed the point completely.