I was a late beta tester for Midnight, Swordfight.
An abstract literary work is very much in the style of author Chandler Groover. In feedback I was a little concerned that readers who missed sundry literary references would be nonplussed at being in a symbolic world - I prefer grounded simulations more than abstract works as a rule - but reaction has been positive. One oddity in the beta was that you couldn’t drop old clothes when you were done with them. But see below for my later thoughts.
With some help from the author, it was fairly easy to find several endings, although I’m told there are over twenty. I was concerned early on that I wouldn’t be able to use a superior weapon in the duel without drawing blood so I went to extremes, equipping myself with a sausage in the hopes of receiving mercy - vain hope!
Fortunately I was able to find the kind of non-lethal ending I prefer (after fearing the spectacularly bloody one was the only “successful” one - who would be the Red Plague?!). I think the author hoped that players would be able to find their own best out of all the equal endings. I raised the qualm that (with many personally quite satisfying endings) perhaps the player could be more directed to search for a (personally) better ending. But the author insisted that it should be the player’s choice and I can respect that.
For the longest time I tried to force Midnight. Swordfight into a moral choices mould. Dramatic purposes and morality can point to different choices. E.g. the option to infect people with plague causing mass death is immoral yet highly dramatic.
But the playscript which is in your inventory - a list of legal actions which varies depending on circumstances - and the different roles you can play by dressing up in different costumes suggest a stage setting.
The playscript restricts the verbs that are available at any time to a small set. You can’t drop the infected clothes which allow you to perform the role of the Red Death. In moral terms: the game can’t let you put a weapon of mass destruction beyond use.
In terms of the work, dropping a costume makes no sense: you would be restricting dramatic options.
It’s hard to argue that the work is realistic which, if it were the case, would give credence to a moral choices view.
But on the other hand, the other characters can’t change their roles (e.g. can’t swap costumes). You control
Which raises doubt that it is a simple stage setting.