This is my first year getting involved with IF Comp and my time is pretty limited at the moment (too many disparate projects on the go as always!) so I might not be able to review more than the minimum five games but I want to give meaningful feedback on the games I do review. Anyway, spoilers ahead and so on…
No-one Else Is Doing This
No-one Else Is Doing This
Set in the bleakness of the December 2020 COVID lockdowns in somewhere in urban England this game conveys the atmosphere of that time and of the run down corners of Britain quite vividly. There is a real sense of place here.
The player character is basically a door to door ‘chugger’, a dispiriting occupation at the best of times. During my first playthough I decided to goof around, went for a piss three times and hung out in the cornershop doomscrolling. I still managed to raise £3 despite this which I thought must be a bit of a disaster. However, on my second playthrough I tried in earnest to see if there was some kind of win state and for all my effort to ‘win’ I only ended up nearly pissing myself and raising a whopping £0.
The only mechanic for working towards your stated goal is randomly selecting house numbers to knock with no useful prior information. There is a sense of urgency given by the time limit imposed by the length of your shift and literally by your bladder. The need to take breaks to keep warm also eat into the time you have to knock doors. Sometimes you might have a limited choice of conversation should anyone actually answer the door to you but sucess in this game depends largely on luck rather than agency, and there is very little luck to be had.
I liked the premise of the game and I think it has the potential to very engaging and replayable if there was more player agency. It is clear though that the lack of agency is part of the author’s intent. You are on the lowest rung working for an NGO with idealistic goals but that is still obviously beset by all the soul sucking corporate ideology that pervades most formal hierachal organisations. You are a representative of a ‘community union’ but you don’t live in the community you are supposed to be representing, you report to a ‘line manager’ who probably makes three times what you do and is even further removed from the community, which happens to be one of those rundown pockets of post-industrial Britain that always bear the consequences first. Nobody here seems to have any choice.
In conclusion I thought this game is very well written. I suspect much of it is drawn directly from the author’s own experiences. As a game there is not a lot to it but it is clearly not intended to be ‘gamey’.
As succinct and accurate a summary of life in contemporary Britain as you’re ever likely to hear!
Good review - I’ll take a look at the game that I’d have overlooked otherwise.