IF Comp 2021: Review of “An Aside About Everything”

November 2, 2021 at 10:12 pm (Uncategorized)

I feel. . .

Melancholy. Confused, but serene in my confusion—a little bored, perhaps. Defensive. Trapped. Freed. Lost, but on a familiar path. Not the same path I’ve been before, but similar enough that I feel only wary rather than afraid.

This is a strange one, but not because the game sucks. It’s meant to be trippy, and it most definitely is that.

Earlier today, I attempted to set up an app thingy online so that I can accept credit card payments on my phone (eg when I’m selling my novels at a festival). This is something that has been on my “urgent” list since May, but I’ve been too afraid of facing it. And today, when I finally faced it and failed over and over again…. that’s exactly how parser makes me feel.

So when this game has the teensiest hint of parser stylings (in the sense that you walk around and choose which location to go to) I was afraid. But since you go to all the locations anyway, and there’s never more than three to keep track of (really one central hub with two or three locations to explore from there) I was quickly reassured. This game is truly choice-based in the end, with two flaws: one is that there are no obvious branches, so it’s not VERY interactive (in my interpretation of the term). Two, you sometimes have to negotiate (a teeny tiny bit) through a ‘hub’ location (eg Main Street), which is the second thing I hate about parser: I hate EVER having to re-read a paragraph. But that secondary hatred is really minor, in the end.

I’m going to give this game a 6. It seems unfair in many ways to give this fundamentally competent and functional game the same score as two somewhat broken games, but although it’s solid and even lyrical in style it ultimately feels fairly average. There are quite a few minor typos or grammar things but I feel like the point it’s making about the selfishness/self-absorption of the main character contradicts itself because there are no plausible options to be better.

As always, this is 100% my opinion and I don’t claim to be fair.

The atmosphere of the story is good, with above-average writing.

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