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Deadline Enchanter

November 22, 2009

This, from Conrad(Aaaargghh! kill it, kill it dead) of onewetsneaker fame made me think,

“I’m not seeing much of a pattern in the positive reports, largely because people enthuse but they don’t talk much about *why* they like the game.  Particularly, many of the reviews I’m finding are of the written-while-playing variety.  They don’t tend to be very analytical.”

Well, guilty as charged my friend(please be friendly(at least to me anyway)).  So, i’ve decided to do something about it.  Unfortunately the ifcomp is now over and i’ve already reviewed all of the entered games, so what to do to test this little theory.

“They don’t talk about *why* they like the game.” hmmmm…!

“They don’t tend to be very analytical.” Uh-huh! ok.

Very well then, lets choose a game at random(kinda); one that i like(obviously <tut>) and review it with a view to analysing why i like it and then see if this method produces a deeper analysis of the game.  Also(there’s an also?), he mentions that many of the reviews are written while playing, and yep guilty again, so i’m gonna review this one after the event(ge’ez, how’m i gonna even remember stuff? more wine anyone?) and we’ll see what we shall see.

See?

So, Deadline Enchanter, You’re on…

Now, i have to tell ya, its been at least an hour since i finished this one and already the good ol’ fire-water is doing it’s thing.  Gonna have to think really hard now.  Analysis… Why… oh yeah, analyse why i like it rather than just enjoy playing it and noting down some thoughts as i go.  Yeah.  Ok.  Will do.

Uh, well now, let’s see.  How’d it start again?  Uh… well it was set either on another planet or in another dimension – although i think i do remember that weird narrator type saying something about… er… nope, i seem to remember him saying something about the setting anyway, but can’t for the life of me remember what.  That might be down to the wine though i suppose.  Does that mean it’s already a bad game?  Well no, it just means we should blame the wine.  Is my glass half empty, i wonder, or half full?  Personally i think it’s both.

Anyway, back to the analysis.

So, we’re in a weird world of some sort, and there’s a weird narrator type dude that i really like.  I think i empathise with him.  He seems sad to me.  Sad in a weird, i’m-quite-important but i-might-not-be kind of way.  Any-hoo, this whole initial set-up reminds me a good deal of an author called China Mieville who also seems to draw you in with his weird little semi-fantasy worlds that could just as easily be this world on a particularly good day.  The descriptions really do make you believe that this strange little world actually exist somewhere out there, or maybe somewhere in-between our world and, well i dunno, but it’s a truly immersive experience(immersive being the in-thing these days)and one which makes me want to pour another glass and dive even deeper.  Unfortunately, i usually script on immediately upon starting a game, but purposely didn’t in this instance due to nature of the review and now i’m having trouble remembering stuff.  Good stuff.  Bloody good stuff in fact.  Can’t sodding remember it, but it was good.  And it was good not because it had mind-numbing puzzles or some fancy high-falutin’ new system of oo-ja-ma-flick but simply because it told it’s story well, and each description was truly beautiful and, well… it just caught me up in its weirdness and it’s strangeness and i really just wanted to play on and on and on not to see if i could make it to the end even, but really just because i was enjoying reading my way through the game.

I do think it was a little too linear in places.  I say this because the first play-through had me stuck right at the beginning facing off with some creature called a draugr(i think) which even though upon eXamination(which produced seemingly purposely un-implemented verbs) found me stuck fast and unable to find any way to proceed whatsoever.  And that included googling the reviews in the hope that someone else had the same trouble.  No such luck though.  Apparently, no-one had got stuck here, which as far as i can tell, only happens if you veer off the path set for you in the book(the thin one, not the fat one).  What does all this tell me then?  Well i think it indicates that either,

1) i’m an idiot(strong possibility there)
2) Absolutely everyone else followed the walk through in the thin book.
3) Everyone else saw the obvious way round the draugr, except me(again, very possible)
4) Everyone else did exactly what i did when reaching this point and simply restarted and then followed the thin book.
5) Something i’m not seeing and have therefore covered in point 1)

Anyway, i’m still drinking wine, am still wishing i’d done my usual script on at the start of the game but at the same time have found this review a lot less taxing to write.  I think that’s because even though i started out with good intentions, i’ve really just ended up saying what i’d normally say but without the cut-and-paste references to in-game play.

I still think it misses something without the cut-and-paste bits.  I should have used them anyway i think.  After all, the whys and wherefores and all the analysis could still be done quite happily with a few cut-and-pastey bits.  I should have thought of that before.  Still, maybe next time.  And maybe i’m a better person for all this.  Maybe…

I liked it.  Because it was weird.

How’s that for a *why*?

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