Thanks to Emily Short’s blog, I’ve happened upon IF Comp, an interactive fiction contest. I’ve only really had a chance to play one of the games through once so far, but it’s certainly been interesting. It’s called “Creatures Such as We” by Lynnea Glasser. In it, you are a tour guide/PR rep/hospitality steward on the moon who has just finished playing a game with a disappointing Gainax Ending and the next guests you’re in charge of herding are a bunch from the dev team of the game you’ve just finished. Ostensibly, you and one of them may fall in love after talks about the game, life, work on the moon, and (ugh) social justice issues. My playthru, I tried to maintain professional distance while making the characters feel comfortable and indulging a bit in the character’s fandom for the games the team has developed. I actually find most of the characters either naive or mildly disagreeable. Only as a PR spaceman, it’s my place to humor and indulge them so that they have a good time. Talking with the lady artist character who wants to make a game about micro-aggressions? Ugh. Does my character’s polite responses come across as flirting? Maybe! But does that happen in real life when I politely humor those who I don’t really like? Maybe! By the end, I found myself actively walking the line between being nice to the character who had become interested in me and not intentionally stringing them along. Does not just crapping on someone you don’t really like end up being worse than letting them get the wrong idea? Questions questions questions!
All in all, it’s a fascinating game that you’ll definitely play through several times.
Also, I know the player character works in space, but these socially conscious game devs need to check their “I’m on vacation in spaaaaaace!” privilege.
Lastly, the game checking your replays, locking you into an unwinnable loop reminds me a lot of Drakkengard, where you progressively unlocked worse and worse endings.
Minor Update (4/1/2015): Oddly enough, for whatever reason, Lynnea Glasser felt the need to remove both my comment saying that the game was amazing and congratulating it on its success in IF Comp.