Wednesday, October 7, 2015

IFCOMP'15: The Man Who Killed Time, Claudia Doppioslash

Another piece that left me scratching my head, and not, as far as I can tell, because of its immense hidden depths. In Inklewriter.

I'll quote Sam Kabo Ashwell's blurb critique on this one: "Games about time (time is everywhere! time, time!) evidently make for extra-stumbly blurbs." Evidently they make for, uhm, confusing reading, shall we say:

He was dreaming. He had to be dreaming, because he was seeing the Reactor building, stationed in a dimension unreachable by time, which he knew wasn’t there anymore.
He was idly sketching a plan towards figuring out why it happened and so gearing himself towards getting a very specific kind of fame from a very narrow subset of specialists in the field, in a medium-term future.
The croaky ringing of the bell made him jump higher than usual, scattering his contemplative thoughts, and prompting him to quick and approximate dressing action. He needed to answer fast, so the blasted bell wouldn’t bleat off again.
As the sun, slowly proceeding through the day’s descent, happened to be in his eyes while answering, he could only see the silhouette of the girl. That’s why he missed the slight bitter smile on her face, which lasted just an instant, and then melted back into her expression, like snow on a glacier. 

Etcetera. The entire style exist is some sort of stream-of-consciousness fugue, straining after Lovecraft here, Faulkner there, with a smidgen of Victorian equivocation, and managing to lose me completely within the first 300 words or so. Portentious capital-lettered words are strewn all over the text and never explained, and the PC, who is some sort of detective existing out of time (?), wanders, seemingly on accident, through historical ages that are neither clearly recognizable, nor even clearly described.

The places where a choice is available are two, each offering a binary, menu-system Yes/No sort of response. If you choose No the first time, when a client of yours (presumably) asks you for help, the story ends immediately. If not, it trundles along a bit more, but I honestly couldn't tell you what happens in it, nor what the ending is supposed to mean.

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