Posted by: Ben | October 31, 2008

if: Everybody Dies

(videogame. Glulx. Munroe. Interactive Fiction Competition 2008.)

This is a review of this game. In the unlikely event that you wish to avoid spoilers, please do not click here.

The first thing to strike me about this one was the writing, which is spare, confident, believable, poetic. All in the first three paragraphs. The second, the illustrations, which arrest, complement the text, expand the world, all the stuff that you imagine illustrations could probably do but they never do.

Everybody Dies plays to the strengths of the medium without, the very existence of illustrations aside, testing its limits. This is very much a story rather than a game. The player determines the appropriate action based on what happens next in the story, and there’s no requirement to think outside the box, or even at all (apart from one puzzlette at the end, complicated by the fiddliness of the required actions.)

Anybody who has ever been unconscious will probably recognise that personalities and states of mind and so forth are closely linked to the physical condition of the host brain and it’s not hugely likely that after being traumatically shot dead a person could project their personality and memories not only into someone else’s mind, but also back through time. But I’m a big boy, I know how to suspend my disbelief, at least for long enough to notice how slight this story is. But how can I complain of its brevity when it left me wanting more?

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