Wednesday, October 5, 2016

16 Ways to Kill a Vampire at McDonalds (review)

"16 Ways to Kill a Vampire at McDonalds" is a Twine game written by Abigail Corfman for the 2016 interactive fiction competition. I chose to play this next because, darn it, it always shows up first on the alphabetized list before I randomize it. Also, I'd read some buzz about this game on Sam Kabo Ashwell's site and it sounded like something I'd enjoy.

This game was probably not on anyone else's list of "first games to introduce your 2nd grade child to interactive fiction," but that is what happened to us. I mentioned this game to my daughter in the car after school, and by the time we got home she was more than eager to play. Mind you, my daughter is fan of the comic horror genre, started watching Tim Burton when she was three, collects Monster High dolls, and has binge watched more episodes of the classic sitcom "The Munsters" than anyone in the 21st century.

So after fast forwarding through some coarse language in the game's introduction, we shared the experience of interactive vampire hunting. Each of us took turns reading and picking moves. She laughed out loud and so did I. We killed the vampires with garlic, then holly, then crosses, eventually reaching four of the sixteen endings. I played a few more on my own, until the end of the two hours. But this was so much fun I expect I'll keep playing past the end of the judging period.

I tend to think of Twine as the favored platform for somber, introspective pieces about identity labels and personal demons. I know that's not entirely fair of me, or an accurate account of all Twine has been used for (and a small number of those somber pieces have been well worth reading). But I'm happy to see the platform pressed into a different service here, to produce a fun, replayable and effectively challenging comic puzzler.

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