IFcomp 2016: Ventilator

Next up: “Ventilator”. A tale of the war between you and the table fan in your sweltering-hot hotel room….

“Ventilator” is a silly game about … well, it’s apparently a silly game about dealing with the sweltering heat while lodged in an overpriced and undermaintained room at a roach motel. The flies have actually dropped like they’re supposed to, from heat exhaustion, and the bed is soaked in your sweat. Some of the actions and events are fairly cartoonish: for example, the eponymous ventilator is apparently powerful enough to blow your hair right off your scalp. The humour is pretty consistent, too.

Looking closer, however, one starts to find the skeleton of a cohesive story under the cartoon silliness. Things exist for a reason. Yes, you might have those reasons spelled out for you, in one moment of meta-humour, and I don’t know if that adds or detracts from the general meaning behind the madness. Well … it amused me, so I’ll say it was a win. We can’t all be sly and obscure all the time.

It’s not, perhaps, very deep or thought-provoking. This isn’t “The Name of the Rose”, here. I think it does feel a little bit deeper than it is simply because the cartoonish humour led me to expect less.

I should note that I appreciate how the elements of that backstory are fed to the player. We find them through casual examination and exploration of our possessions, almost as though they exist simply so the game has some sort of descriptive text to give you. It’s a win-win situation: in the first place, it’s nice to have things described in terms of what they mean to you rather than simply in terms of what they look like; and in the second place, as I said, it’s a great way of weaving the story into the game, without recourse to cut-scenes to explicitly lay out the background.

Mechanically … there were a couple of issues with the line spacing, and I think there was a missed response at one point. But this is trivial stuff, easily fixed.</p>

So, as breakfast? I think this would be something like peanut-butter-and-banana sandwiches and milk. Fun and maybe a little juvenile, but it does the job as it’s supposed to.

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