IFcomp 2016: Take

Here’s my take on “Take”, next on my IFcomp playlist. All things considered, maybe it’s a little close to home.

Well, this was interesting. It looks as if we’re a soldier preparing for battle … and then the first time we try to take something, the truth reveals itself, and I admit I cracked a smile when I saw the twist. It turns out that “take” is a sort of social media blogging thing, and these “battles” are more of a gladiatorial bloodsport than anything else. We’re supposed to maintain interest in ourselves by continuously blogging (“takin”) interesting articles about ourselves and the battles we’re fighting. The story proceeds regardless of our actions: what we’re really here for is to take pictures of the experience.

It’s an achievement-quest game masquerading as an exploration game; or else it’s an exploration game masquerading as an achievement-quest game. I’m not sure which.

So, we’re “hot” or “cold” depending on the quality of our takes. A good take increases our hotness, but time and/or a bad take will decrease it. So we’ve got to maintain a steady stream of good takes. Meanwhile, it seems that the respect we get from the world around us, not to mention our comparative stature, increases with our hotness. So … it kind of looks as if our victory in the fight might depend on whether we can maintain a “totally hot” status through it all. Maybe?

I’m not sure. I haven’t managed it. For all I know, there is only one storyline, and we’re doomed to defeat regardless. It doesn’t seem too clear, sometimes, if something is going to affect our status positively, negatively, or not at all; or if perhaps the efficacy of one take depends on the one before it. In that sense, it’s a really complicated system with a very narrow victory condition, hidden behind an opaque interface.

Once we’re through, there’s a “Win” option available; this puts us in the shoes of our adversary in the battle. Seen through his eyes, the thing’s a walkover (I don’t think it varies depending on our previous performance) and he’s damned cocky about the whole thing. Indeed, a single command is all it takes to finish the thing.

I kind of get the sense that there’s some sort of social commentary involved here, or that can be made. Maybe I’m overthinking things; but then, a game with no proper “win” state–or rather, one where the only way to win is to put oneself in the shoes of the person to whom we lost–must surely be trying to say something, right? Something about people who are meant to lose and people who are meant to win, and what it’s like to be in the shoes of the designated loser? I don’t know. I’ll just say that it was interesting to spend a few minutes walking around in this story, with the whole thing unfolding around me.

And I’d have liked to wipe that self-satisfied smirk (not described in the game, but you KNOW he’s wearing one) off our adversary’s face.

Breakfast: An omelette stuffed with ham–lots of ham–and cheese, garnished with parsley and slices of tomato. Cold, because we’ve spent too much time snapping pictures of it. Followed by Irish coffee with a wicked whiskey kick.

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