The Interactive Fiction Spring Thing is under way, and this time I have a shiny, new blog with which to post my thoughts–as if it matters. So here we go.
First up: Evita Sempai, a short Twine story about one young Argentine girl’s relationship with the famous First Lady….
It’s very slight. We have four short vignettes of our heroine’s life, taken at various stages of her life. There’s not much to do, and it doesn’t matter at all if you do it. The story gets told, whatever happens.
For a story about longing and idealisation (as per the description) “Evita Sempai” is extraordinarily restrained. There is the barest hint that our heroine might be more attracted to women than to men, but it is subtle enough to be open to interpretation–perhaps it is not that our heroine prefers women, but that she has yet to feel the force of emotion inspired by the cultural icon that is Eva Peron. Or perhaps it is exactly what it says, that she didn’t like any of the men who have courted her so far, nothing more and nothing less. I think I have expended more words in this analysis than there are in the relevant passage.
Similarly, the ending may be interpreted differently depending on your action in the final vignette, but it’s left open-ended enough that you could really interpret it any way you like, regardless of action.
It seems to me that the restraint and slightness of this piece, like a haiku, leaves a void which we, players and spectators, feel compelled to fill with our interpretation and analysis. In that sense, it is a work best approached with a promise to engage, a commitment; a more casual passerby might swallow it in under a minute and barely even notice.
Bitter-sweet, with a tantalising undercurrent of deep feeling, but not very substantial. It’s like one of those artistic little hors d’oeuvres at a museum gala: for all its beauty, it’s far too easily dismissed and gone too soon. A bit like Evita Peron herself, come to think of it. I wonder if that was intentional.