Concours de Fiction Interactive Francophone 2023 reviews and thoughts

I’ve been playing the French comp 23 games and it’s been fun; I thought I might copy my ifdb reviews over here.

First up:

I’ve never read the Spooks series before (called The Last Apprentice in US), but this story makes it seem really cool.

This game is set in the Spooks universe, and follows Tom and Alice, the main characters from the series. You play as Alice, a young woman raised to be a witch who escaped before you became completely evil. However, your actions can increase your connection to the darkness, so you have to be careful.

There is a cool font and some nice coloring on the links. The writing is descriptive as well, and is friendly for people like me who aren’t familiar with the book series.

There were two slight disappointments for me: one is that the story was cool, but the ending I found was anticlimactic (it was a ‘happy’ ending and just ending right after a quote from her father, which sounds like a great ending but it just kinds of cuts off). The other weird thing was that the moon image sometimes cut off the text.

Overall, I was glad to have some real choices; there’s at least one choice that splits the game into two very different branches. It does feel a bit unfinished with the endings, though, and has potential for a much larger game.


Quel Roi êtes vous
This French Comp game uses the theme of ‘betrayal’ well. An army is coming to your castle at your weakest moment. Someone must have betrayed you, but who?

The game is short but pleasingly symmetric. There are three suspects, each with three possible actions (consult with them, accuse them, and interrogate them). When it’s time to face the enemy, you have three choices.

There are a lot of endings, mostly bad ones, of which I received two, but overall it was fun. The text doesn’t vary much based on your choices so you can replay very swiftly. Investigating the treason felt interesting. Overall, the game is short but with a fun pattern.


I wanted to try a short one next, but it’s actually huge and quite complex. So far Retour vers l’extérieur is about being in a bunker and trying to discover what your past was and what’s going on the outside. It’s based on escape-room logic, and I might need help eventually. I finally accessed the outside cameras and was very surprised at the results, if that helps place where I am.

Edit: I finally solved it!

Retour vers l’extérieur

This game was real surprise for me. I was looking for something short to play in the French Comp, but this ended up begin quite large.

You are in a bunker during a world problem (something like Covid but bigger, forcing many people underground in bunkers).

The game is split into two sections. The first is a complex computer system with areas like digital libraries, an encyclopedia, archived footage, etc. The second is the bunker itself, which you can explore, including lockers, a library, etc.

The system used is Moiki, and it looks great, with satisfying fonts, click effects, images, and music.

Overall, the story was quite complex. I had to use hints eventually (I didn’t realize at first that you can’t access later hints without accessing earlier hints). I feel like the ending I received didn’t resolve all the narrative threads, but I liked it overall.


Thanks for these!

Retour vers l’Exterieur sounds very interesting. I’ll try that next.

So far I’ve only poked around a bit in La Mort venue des Archives [Episode 1] by Lilie Bagage. Being a clerk at a magical library: how could one not want that job…
It starts off a bit slow (mostly because Master Magus needs to explain the rules), but I encountered some intruiging developments. (Right at the moment when I had to stop because Real Life was knocking on my door.)

(EDIT: Pssst, @mathbrush , French has the silly habit of switching the word order around. They say funny things like “Concours de Fiction Interactive” instead of, well, you know…)


Archives et Trahison

This game was vibrant and full of life but also pretty confusing. I couldn’t tell if I was just confused because ‘bad french’ or because the game was weird.

Once I finished it and saw the attached youtube video it made more sense, and it’s kind of a cool idea!

Basically the author played a game of Magic the Gathering: Arena and then wrote a story imagining how all those things could have happened. So, for instance, Ormos the Archivist gets played, so Ormos becomes a character in the story, a beautiful archivist you fall in love with.

Some of this translates well into a story and some doesn’t. In many parts of the game, you have a bunch of links with unhelpful names like ‘a little chat’ or ‘call a professional’ that don’t tie into the story. Clicking them sometimes has no effect, but sometimes has a longer story. Overall they don’t seem to affect the main storyline much, as I played a couple of times to see what happened.

So I think the polish and interactivity of the game are a little weird, but I did play more than once and found the MTG idea amusing.

(And thanks @Rovarsson for the language hint!)


La Harpe du Dieu Rouge

This game grew on me quite a bit over time.

It’s a French Comp 23 game and written in a beautiful and evocative style. For instance, you start in a part of the city called the Luna Plaza that has a kind of mirror-like thing that reflects the stars so that you have two night skies.

You are in a medieval kind of town, and lore and secrets abound. I thought I had seen a lot of the game when I found a strange little house where a man talked about things like ‘software’ and ‘photographs’ that made no sense to me, a medieval person, but that was just very early on in the game. Later on, I found a lot of worldbuilding, some mythology, etc.

At first the game felt constrained, and then it had paths that branched so much I worried I was missing much of the game. But then it really opened up, and I truly began to understand the scale of the game. It was still manageable (a couple of hours), but quite large.

There are many people in this city, and as the time of day changes, what you can do with them changes.

In addition, the game has hover-over text, which lets you get additional info on things and occasionally provides extra interactions.

Overall, I found the writing very descriptive and had fun finding little secrets. I found one ending early on but stuck around for a final ending, which required a difficult choice. Great game.


I’m a bit late off the starting bloc, but I’ll also be taking a look at the (25!) games in this year’s comp. As usual, I’ll post the reviews on my blog. The reviews will be in English, but I’ve written a brief piece in French about my initial impressions based on game titles, thumbnails, and descriptions on competition site. #ConFI2023


I always enjoy seeing you le take on things, especially since you entered before. I liked your blog post!

1 Like

Le grenier de mon grand-père

This game reminds me a bit of Sweet Dreams by Papillon or of Bitsy games. Basically, you control a character on the screen and you interact with objects by hitting the space bar. Then you get some text or possibly some options.

It’s a relatively short game, but well-done and polished. Your grandfather never lets you up into the attic, but you’ve sneaked in and now you’re going to discover the truth for yourself. The relationships depicted are by turns heartwarming and heartbreaking, and there are definite funny moments (like the expressions grandpa makes when you ask very personal questions).

The game’s only fault, to me, was that it was fairly brief, giving a limited sense of interaction. I don’t think a game has to be long to be great, but I feel like this game didn’t fill up the full size of its concept. I did enjoy it, however.



This is a long game in the 2023 French IF Comp, and one with an innovative take on interactivity and on the themes of ‘treason’ and ‘archives’.

My opinion of the game changed around a lot because there are so many types of interactivity. Basically, you have access to a machine depicted as green-on-black, and you can dig through folders of files and applications.

I was in big trouble at first because my French is mediocre and there are parts of the game that are just reading page after page of fairly complex and technical French.

But then I realized that this is just a big game. Interspersed with the documents are images, codes, and minigames. They were well-done and all worked perfectly (except sudoku, which always quit when I put a 1 in).

The story really developed. At first I had no idea at all what was going on, some kind of obscure tale of political protest and treason, but then it became more of a work diary and finally unfolded into a pretty cool ending.

Overall, I’m very pleased with the outcome. It reminded me a bit of Kafka at parts, in a good way, but ended with its own style. Very fun, one of the better games I’ve played this year over all.


Thank you for the kind words! I’m really glad you enjoyed my entry (and that I made the sudoku optional :stuck_out_tongue: ) !!

EDIT: I HAVE FOUND THE SUDOKU ISSUE, it was actually a bug. sorry about that :grimacing:


Argh! You spoiled my paranoid belief that the AI was messing with my mind. Or that this was an indication of weakness in the computer system.

But maybe it is…

I’m conversing with the Machine now.


Any chance for an English translation for us whose French is less than mediocre?


A very intruiging bug, to say the least. I was waiting for the moment when its significance would dawn on me. I was convinced that this detail would be im^portant in the story later on.


Yes! Thank you for drawing that comparison. I had an inkling that DOL-OS’ tone and subject-matter reminded me of some book or author, but I couldn’t put my finger on it until I read your review.


I do plan on having almost all my projects being in both English and French (unless its some sort of experiment thing). So yeah, planned. But date TBD.

EDIT: @borg323 It’s now available in English :wink:


Archives Culinaires Royals
This is a pretty short Inform 7 game in French.

You have been hired as an archivist at a grand library. Coming in, you are welcomed by the Master Archivist, who gives you a grand tour and asks you to demonstrate your capabilities.

The version I played was pretty short, with a lot of size implied (by stairs and locked doors and furniture) but with most of it not open to play (due to being locked or empty, etc.)

It had a cozy feel, like Stardew Valley or something similar. It was fun to look up the recipes and the memories it brought back of using a card catalog were the highlights for me.

Overall, this could be expanded to a larger concept or just serve as a training game for the author to hone their skills. It was written very quickly and not tested much, according to the author, but I like the writing style.


Gent Stickman Vs la Méchante Main de Chair

I previously played the English version of this game in Parsercomp.

In it, you type in words like a regular parser game, but the majority of output is in images in a cartoon style. You are the ‘guy’ on a guys’ restroom door, and the lady on the other door is stolen by a photorealistic hand. You have to rescue her!

I wondered if there would be any big differences in the French translation. I didn’t find any. I looked and found a long post by the author after the comp had ended, which was very comprehensive. I learned that 1) the author had thought of many deep philosophical things, including Shakespeare, Brecht, Michael Ended, diegetics, etc., 2) the game was written in around 10 days, and, most importantly to this translation, 3) The author specifically refused input of several beta testers and several reviewers, deciding to stay true to an artistic vision rather than listen to the masses.

I generally find that ‘being true to yourself’ and ‘making a well-respected and popular game’ are two different goals for games. They don’t necessarily contradict each other (Superluminal Vagrant Twin seems like it satisfies both goals!) but it’s not usually to pick both and work on them. If you seek your own true vision, that means occasionally disappointing your fans, and if you seek to please fans, you may lose your own vision.

So this game still includes many of the things that made it difficult in the English version. The author states that almost no one has completed it without hints, but that hard games have both poetic value and it is better for players to play games without hints.

These are subjective positions for which there is no real answer. For my thought though, great games aren’t great because they are hard, but because they make players feel smart or accomplished. I could make a game with a 10-digit multiplication problem and it would be hard without a hint or a calculator, but that wouldn’t necessarily make it fun. Similarly, games like Dark Souls or Elden Ring could be made so hard that no one could complete them at all. So I think that difficulty itself does not create enjoyment.

Overall, this game is identical to the English one, outside of the French. It is polished, descriptive in its own fashion. I did find it amusing, and I have played it again. I gave the English one 3 stars, but I’m giving the French one 4 stars. Why? I think everything looks cooler in French, and playing in a non-native language adds a different level of complexity that I enjoy. I realize that doesn’t benefit actual Francophone players, but ratings and reviews are always subjective.


So you liked it more because it was harder? :upside_down_face:


Yes, I did. That’s a very good way of putting it.