Spring Thing: Shipwrecked

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SHIPWRECKED

“Shipwrecked” tells the story of the sole survivor of desert-faring ship, as described in his journal. Hopefully his adventures will prove entertaining enough for publication, once he finds his way back to civilisation.

Much like “Rough Draft”, “Shipwrecked” is, in a way, a story about writing a story, but this time it’s autobiographical. It’s also set in a fantasy world where ships sail across the desert the way they sail across the seas. Our hero is the sole survivor of a shipwreck, and “Shipwrecked” presents itself as our hero’s journal, written over the course of his ordeal in the desert from shipwreck to whatever end you guide him to.

The language is a touch melodramatic, flowery and without getting too verbose: a few archaic turns of phrase harken back to the Victorian era. This is probably intentional, and I feel that it adds to the flavour of the story.

Gameplay is standard CYOA, with two or three options per section to lead you on to the next. A slight amount of stat-tracking is involved: the game remembers if our hero has picked up a pistol or a set of books at the beginning of the story, and I believe there are a few choices late in the story which depend on whether certain triggers have been hit earlier. The story ends, whatever our hero’s fate, with the attempted publication of the novel, at which point all the sections met are played back with the editor’s commentary.

The editor is far more direct and less flowery in their language than our hero. It is this which assures me that the language of the gameplay was a conscious design decision. This editor is certainly not disposed to like the manuscript at all, though their decision is ultimately dependent entirely on our hero’s eventual fate. It’s quite amusing … I’m reminded a little of how it’s often as much fun to follow comp game reviews as it is to play the games themselves. It also reinforces the sense that the process of gameplay is the creation of an artifact.

Wistful, romantic, faux-poetic, with an amusingly acerbic aftertaste. The structure is very small and simple, but suitable: a larger game would not be as pleasant when it comes time for the editorial. It’s like a dainty macaron with an espresso centre: light and sweet but quickly done, a flash of flavour on the tongue. The best ones are pretty small; bigger macarons tend to get soggy in the middle.

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