Tuesday, October 8, 2013

IFComp 2013 Reviews- Dad vs Unicorn

IFComp is an annual competition for short works of interactive fiction.  "Dad vs. Unicorn" is published by "PaperBlurt."

Every sale begins with a pitch.  The pitch for this game read "A day like many others. Dad at the BBQ - his son walking in an empty house. Remembering what's happened. Disappointment fills the void between the two. And then, a UNICORN attacks! what now..?"

I'm intrigued.  The pitch is just creative enough that this might be interesting.

There might be something in this game for somebody, but I didn't enjoy it.  The player navigates through a maze of hyper-text links, until reaching the end of all of them, and finally the story ends with one or the other character mauled by an evil unicorn.  There are really only two points of interaction in the game; which character to play, and later which character to maul.

The three characters to choose from are: an abusive father, a neglected son, and the killer unicorn. There is some gender identity conflict suggested, but not in a way that felt realistic or meaningful. To me, the text seemed vulgar. No, not because of the frequent use of four letter expletives. Heck, I use those in my own writing, frequently. And other times, for my own creative purpose, I choose the word "heck" instead. 

The vulgarity in this story emerged from the anger and contempt which drips off the end of every sentence. The entire piece is a curse word. There is no love. There is no one to root for.  Except, in the end, maybe the unicorn.

The dad totally deserved his fate. I chose to kill him from all three perspectives. I suppose there was some catharsis in that.

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