A large variety of systems. I saw Inform, Adventuron, Twine. There’s also Binksy, which I love, and something called MOIKI, which I have never seen. I’m probably missing a few here.
There’s a general theme for the Concours: “Treason”. Leave it to the authors to find all manners and ways to incorporate this (strictly or glancingly) in the variety of genres: Fantasy, Slice of Life, SF, Mystery (whatever one understands by that…).
There seems to be a statistimagically meaningful presence of Library-related games. (One of my favourite settings.)
One more thing I noticed: many of the games have stunning graphics. Personally, for me nothing beats the stark elegance of a text-only default TADS3 game, but I have to admit, some of these pictures are very beautiful. I find that, as opposed to parsers, pictures do enhance my playing experience with choice games in many cases. There is much to feast your eyes upon in this French Concours FI.
I’m playing La Mort venue des Archives now (archives, libraries, no matter what you call them, buildings with loads of books and scrolls heaped together).
You play the part of a novice archivist. The Magister explains the rules of the archives to you, rules you must follow with each client who files a request at your desk. During the first part of the game, you do just that: handling requests.
However, it quickly becomes clear that the game conspires against your following the rules, making the situation too urgent or tempting to adhere to the Magister’s principles. This creates a pleasant tension between the desire to go off exploring or follow the stated goals of the “game master”.
You have the choice of helping (or denying) many clients. (Quite funny, intentionally or not, the game lampshades the boredom that can come with traversing a long click game by giving you a series of explicitly nonsensical choices. Great touch!)
Dependent on your choices, you will gain experiences or objects which I presume will help in the following part of the story.
The story and the characters are helped along by beautiful graphics, giving extra depth to the conversations.
And then, just when grave news about the Grand Vizir reaches you, the game ends and refers you to “Episode Deux”, which does not exist yet.
I liked what I read, but I also feel disappointed. I feel “Episode 1” is a misnomer here. Although there is a nice setup to a mystery (a murder mystery even…), there doesn’t happen enough to qualify as an “episode” in my view.
Rather “a quick dip-of-the-toe to test the waters.”
I’d rather the author gather their confidence in their ideas, wait & work a year longer and present players with a full game in the next Concours.
(Despite what I said on @mathbrush thread, I will not be playing Retour vers l’exterieur next. While I was browsing a bit, my eyes were drawn to Les Saisons de Pippa instead.)
An impressive feat of worldbuilding. A mysterious setting with lore, mythology, flora and fauna. You get to discover this world through the curious, innocent eyes and questions of Pippa, an adventurous 5-year-old girl.
Ask questions, listen to grown-up conversations, explore on your own. There are three main stories set in three different seasons. Each allows for a number of choices and side-explorations in this engaging, familiar-yet-mysterious world.
A truly well built world made even more real by the magnificent drawings.
And then, just as with La Mort venue des Archives: “Oh, hey reader! Would you mind terribly if we set up our still-to-do notice board here? You don’t mind we entered a WIP in the Concours, do you? We still got loads to do, so we thought we’d throw you three small bones and then put up a list of all the things we didn’t do yet.”
Guess what? I do mind. Very disappointing. Just give me three well rounded and polished stories and never mention all the rest. Now you’re practically advertising that you’re throwing unfinished work at your readers.
EDIT: I may have overreacted a bit. “May have”? I did. I lashed out unfairly out of frustration. The three finished stories really are beautiful and enthralling. As an introduction to Pippa’s world, they made me dream and fired up my imagination.
The short notes about topics that aren’t incorporated into stories yet also show deep worldbuilding, and as such strengthen the immersion.
I have now convinced myself to regard this work as an incomplete collection of folklore, parts of which are lost to the ages, perhaps to be uncovered by the author in later installments.
A bit of context on unfinished entries in the French comp:
25 entries is 2.5 times our previous record which was 10 entries and not long ago, it was 5 per year. Until recently, that was also our main/only event and we don’t have many releases outside the comp. So these 5 to 10 games were what we got for the year. To encourage creation, we decided we’d prefer an unfinished game rather than no game at all.
Thanks for the context. Yes, I can see how that works. It’s good motivation for the creation of more games. If even some of the demos get supportive reactions and are expanded into full games, that would mean a significant boost.
I don’t know anything about the background of this game or its author, but it feels like a very personal story of discovery. The protagonist seeks to connect to her grandfather, to understand his life and history. She has the feeling that while he knows her through and through, she doesn’t know him nearly as deeply.
In a scene reminiscent of the tale of Bluebeard, the protagonist searches the attic while he is away, something he has explicitly asked her not to do. When he comes home, she confronts him with what she has found and learns more about him in the conversation that follows.
The first part of the game has you stumbling about in the attic with the arrow keys, obtaining descriptions of the stuff there with the spacebar.
The next part is a one-on-one conversation where your choices are how to react to some of the secrets you discovered.
The game is rendered in perhaps charming DOS-like retro graphics that didn’t do much for me. Exploring the attic comes without challenges or obstacles whatsoever, and navigating the ensuing conversation is very straightforward.
While it feels like this has the potential for a moving story about connecting across the generations, about deeper understanding, about the strange paths a life can take, Le grenier de mon grand-père failed to engage me emotionally. Story-wise, it felt too flat to have an impact. There is a shocking reveal, but it was stated so matter-of-factly and the protagonist seemed to gloss over it so easily that I couldn’t empathise with either the protagonist or the grandfather.
Oh but this is clever! Deux pages… employs a very original mode of interaction with the text to progress through the story.
The story itself is simple, almost childish: A grand, universe-spanning civilisation has put a plan in place to survive even the death of the universe itself.
You (an unnamed academic on the supernatural) come across this story in a folder which has only two pages of writing in it, accompanied by a letter from a friend and colleague saying that they have found this in the old archives of the library.
Upon perusing the text, you find you can manipulate certain sentences of the text, thereby expanding (or contracting) it, revealing different meanings and more chapters. Those seem to contain riddles and problems which you must solve in order to bring the story in the text to a universe-saving conclusion.
All very mysterious. I found the way Deux pages… expects you to directly, almost physically alter the words to get the manuscript to reveal its secrets very satisfying. The only thing I would like to see different is the font of the main text. Something that fits the “old ancient alien lore”-theme a bit better.
I was well pleased to be greeted aboard the grand vessel of La Compagnie Transatlantique on the hour of her departure to Southhampton. As the new Second in command, I was to balance the needs of a) the owners of the Compagnie, b) our beloved first-class passengers, and c) the rats, ahem, less-endowed passengers below-decks.
Unfortunately, the job quickly became dull and dreary, my choices being a matter of clear favoritism or recalcitrant meddling just for the heck of it.
Good graphics, a promising setup, but not as engaging as I thought it would be.
This is interesting. A sort of slice-of-life with a ghost protagonist. It has a simple but versatile game mechanic: subtly manipulating other people’s minds.
On the evening after his own funeral, Victor appears as a ghost to his best friend Guillaume… who asks him to be a sort of invisible go-between to find out more about a girl he likes, Marie. (Because, well, that’s the sort of thing you ask your best friend to do, right? Even if he’s just come back from the dead…)
Unnoticed, Victor can listen in on the conversations between different groups of friends at the remembrance party. He can intervene by inhibiting or reinforcing them spiritually to speak their true mind (or not), and steer the conversation somewhat in the hopes of getting more info on the love life of Marie.
In doing so, the group dynamics could get shaken up a bit…
Very relatable stories of a group of teenage/young adult friends and their relationships, their worries and interests.
Way too much clicking (or pressing spacebar) involved. to. advance. to. each. new. sentence though.
It is with pain in the heart that I have to say this is another unfinished piece. Oh, what a pity. I would so enjoy spending more, much more time with this game.
What a delicious setting! What grand architectural features! Such intriguing personnages!
You are an apprentice archivist in the Royal Archives, the Gastronomical section.
This introductory chapter has the Maître Archiviste showing you around in your new workplace and submitting you to a simple test of skill: locate a certain recipe in the immense vault of culinary delights at your disposal.
You also meet Mathilda Aharia, your colleague of the departement of geopolitics, who seems nice and helpful (and is a bit vague about her backstory…)
It is made clear that the Maître Archiviste lives for his archives, and there would be hell to pay should anything untoward happen to his precious documents. A beautiful opportunity for a theft to be solved, or a murder mystery to present itself, or an emergency involving the misplaced recipe for Lapin à la Flamande to occur!
Ah, but I shall have to keep my eyes peeled for the finished version of this delicacy.
A nice and classy mysterious ancient jungle temple. Some poking of mysterious ancient runes in an untranslatable language (except to You!).
Hop on the next boat home and wait for the Prophecy to take hold.
5 or 6 clicks to discover an ending.
The game promises a variety of ways to conclude the story:
a) I’m seriously missing something and there are a bunch more combinations of those 5 clicks to produce the number of endings the game advertises on the final screen, or
b) Someone’s pulling my leg.
EDIT: No pulling of legs was involved. I overlooked a bunch of clickable words in the text which give access to a number of other endings. I have upped my rating accordingly.
Still, after two or three readings, this game quickly started feeling like mechanically looking for combinations to unlock endings. While I like the setup, prolonged playing wasn’t that engaging for me.
Did you try changing the runes (bold words)? Each has a hidden score associated (positive or negative). The ending you get depends on your score. Worst & best are harder to get since only the min or max score gets you there.