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cgdc #7 – Hoosegow

February 6, 2010

Hmmmm… Not much of a one for the ol’ westerns, i must admit.

Still, nice piccy.

And i see it’s a collaboration too. Usually a good thing, i find.

It’d better not be in a faux western-style language. Yon Astounding Castle is still too fresh in the mind thanks all the same.

So, here we go then.

Oh ge’ez, it’s in a faux western-style language.

<sigh>

I admit, at first my heart sank when i read through the various sections of the help menu and found a good deal of heavy-handed, faux western-style, high-falutin’(cripes, i’ve used that phrase several times recently) type stuff. But, my horror soon passed when i started playing and was absolutely delighted with both the degree of interaction that was available to the player and not least the quality of writing. If the faux western-style language stuff continued, it certainly didn’t bother me any more, probably due to my being completely enamoured of this little gem.

The humour throughout was, i thought, exceptional in the sense that it wasn’t forced or too intrusive but simply flowed nicely through the game, causing me to pause in my gameplay to read and at times re-read the sermons of good ol’ Pete who jumps up at various odd moments from his slumber and reels off relatively lengthy and very funny biblical-type stuff that, again, doesn’t come across as forced or… well anything other than bloody good, well thought out, well written humour.

In fact, all the descriptions turn out to be well thought out and well written, and are added to by the random interspertions(is that a word? Can i get away with that?) of the deputy and muddy which serves to inject a lot of life into what could easily have been a very staid and monotonous scenario. In fact, it occurred to me while i was playing that a lot of the IF that doesn’t strike much of a cord with me lacks this very feature, and i think anyone thinking of writing IF could do a good deal worse than take a good long look at what’s been done here.

Ge’ez, i’ve also just realised how nice it is to be raving about more of these games than i usually do. Maybe i’ve just happened upon the good one’s amongst them, but i like to think that perhaps, gradually, very gradually, the standard is on the up. Who knows? Maybe it is just luck that i happened to have played the better one’s first. I am after all just clicking on them at random really. No rhyme or reason to it this time.

So, i liked it.

I liked it a great deal.

…and i don’t like westerns, which should tell you how good this is.

5 out of 5. For the interaction, the humour and the writing.

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One comment

  1. My Dear Fluffy Bunny,

    Thanks for your comments on the game. You put your finger on an issue that was front and center in our minds as we started writing — how far to go with the dialect. I was thinking specifically of the example you mentioned– Yon Astounding Castle, a well-written work, but painful to read through. I think it probably lost a lot of readers early on, who would have found the game fun, had they stuck with it, through the prose.

    As background for Hoosegow, we tried to keep the dialect as non-faux as possible. I read through some grammatical/lexical references for the American Old West before we started writing the dialogue. I also crash re-read Huckleberry Finn to get in the mood (not strictly the right time/place, but pretty close).

    The first thing I wrote was the custom library responses and help menu, and these still reflect a denser dialect. After writing more of the game like that, and running it past some earlier reviewers, we decided to regularize some of the dialect. Originally, we had all gerunds ending with an apostrophe, some intentional misspellings, and even more contractions, but it didn’t scan very well — Yer gunna have yerself a pow’ful hard time a-readin’ in that style. Finally, we settled on keeping some of the word choice and word order similar to Old West, and we hoped that people would add the “accent” on their own.

    Glad you liked it & thanks for writing reviews during the comp. Compared to IF comp, there were a lot fewer reviewers covering the JiG comp, so it was nice to have some feedback.

    – Jack



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