The Baron is the Id, the Castle is the Psychic Apparatus, the Lumberjack is the Superego and the axe is a defense mechanism. This is not a subtle game, nor is this a proper review. That something as crude and stupid as The Baron could win the Spring Thing is a testimony to the crudity and stupidity of the IF crowd. That it was nominated for best writing, I can only hope was some kind of cruel joke at the author’s expense.
Examples of award-winning IF prose:
“When you open your eyes, you see the head of the dragon approaching you, its mouth wide open–once again it breaths its deadly fire at you, and after a short scream you can no longer hear yourself the darkness falls over you like a cool blanket.”
There is one grammatical error, one missing comma and one redundancy in the above sentence. Can you spot them?
“The weak light of the moon, which enters the room through the window, envelops the furniture of the bedroom in a cloak of unworldly beauty.”
Does the “light of the moon” (why not simply “moonlight”?) also put proper postage on the furniture it envelops?
“The landing is enveloped by uneven darkness.”
The author really likes postal metaphors.
“It is half a year later, in the icy months of winter. You have gone sledging with Maartje
over the thick layer of snow that has deposited itself on the village during the past few days.”
Yes, indeed, winter months tend to be icy. The snow depositing itself is the third postal metaphor so far.
“Next to the stairs down stands an elegant cupboard”
Does this parse?
“From his unreachable heights the moon looks reproachfully down on you.”
The game tells me the moon is not important to the story, so I assume this is what they call atmosphere.
“The top of the church tower just peeks above the houses on the other side of the street, like a black finger against the star-filled sky.”
The church is giving God the finger? How… Updikean, I guess.
“In elegant handwriting, a message has been written on the parchment”
Lumberjacks wear jeans and people write letters on parchment. What epoch is this exactly? Oh, right! It’s a Freudian parable, a timeless piece.
“A sheet of paper, crumpled and torn, on which sentences written in black ink–the careful handwriting of a girl–tell their sorrowful story.”
I take it that the sorrowful story of the sentences is their stilted diction.
“There’s nothing sensible to swing here.”
“You can see a dead young wolf and a dead she-wolf here.”
“Like its mother, the young wolf has a dark grey pelt, turned dirty and lustreless through hardships.
He is so lean that you can count all his ribs. If his mother doesn’t find a prey soon, he will not survive the winter.”
Never mind the inconsistency. A far bigger problem for this childish morality tale is the euphemism “find a prey.”
Replace it with “kill a cute little rabbit” and you’ve seen through its silly hypocrisy.
“A wooden torch of about half a meter ends in a lustily burning flame.”
This would have been much funnier in an Adam Thornton game.
“In the bleak light that comes through the trapdoor, you can just see descry that this has been a dungeon.”