Rip Retold

This one suffered for me, I’m afraid, after playing Turandot. They’re both adaptations of classics, but whereas Turandot does some really wild stuff with the story from the opera, Rip Retold kinda sticks to the basics of Rip Van Winkle and slightly modernizes things. It tweaks the plot, presents the narrative from another POV, but I didn’t get the sense that Rip Van Winkle, as a story, gained much from these revisions. I didn’t come away with a new understanding of the material.

I also feel like it sacrificed the elements of the original that stick in my memory the most! Thunder in the mountains. An odd charge in the atmosphere. The sense that small and mundane things, like a game of ninepins, can become alien and momentous during a shift that happens when you didn’t realize it was happening. That happens because you didn’t realize.

This game was pretty linear. Now linearity isn’t inherently bad, but it’s gotta be handled with care in a text game. Otherwise you’re just reading an e-book! Again, comparing it to Turandot, Turandot was linear too, but it’s filled with all these micro-choices so that the experience flexes and bends as you’re reading. Rip Retold mostly has turn-the-page mechanics. I think the first time the player can interact in another way comes halfway through, and there are only a few points like that.

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There really aren’t many points where you can make different decisions. Also most links are just highlighted single words. I haven’t played that many Twine games yet, but I kinda expect that the link to the next page is at least some kind of action, like “go over there”. That way it feels more like I did something in the story instead of just turning the page.

I didn’t know the original Rip Van Winkle story, but looked it up afterwards and I find the summary of the original story more interesting than this game. It sounds like in the original story there were some big chances when Rip slept and that lead to conflict, but here the only thing that seemed to change is that everyone got older and got used to have Rip sleeping.

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