IFcomp 2016: SCREW YOU, BEAR DAD!

Next up: “SCREW YOU, BEAR DAD!” Can you trust a game whose title is in all-caps? One can probably assume comedy … at the BEAR minimum.

Here’s the story. We are a bear. Except when we cut to someone else’s point of view, but primarily, we are a bear. We’ve fallen out of the sky into the skylight of a facility somewhere in the middle of the Pacific. The reason for this isn’t explained until the very end, assuming you can make it work, but in the meantime we’re dealing with the situation of a bear having crashed through the skylight into a facility somewhere in the middle of the Pacific.

There’s also a lot of bear puns and daddy issues.

The good: I found the story hilarious. The bear puns were often so groan-worthy as to cross the line back into being funny again. The situation itself was bizarre enough that the image of normal people just trying to deal with it was comedy gold. And more than that–more than any situation or setup–the humour was delivered with what I found to be the perfect zing of good comedic writing and nice characterisation.

The bad: the timed delivery of story. A lot of the time, you have to click on a keyword just to advance to the next line of dialogue. This isn’t a choice issue: it’s a “click to continue” issue and it is annoying. And then there are those damned Twine timed text effects. Oooh how I hate them. Listen, if I find I have to wait even a second for the next clickable keyword to show up, I am damn well getting up to go make myself a sandwich. And if it turns out that by doing so, I have actually missed bits of story–if text shows up and then disappears on a timer, or, worse, if choices disappear in the same manner–you will have a lotta ‘splaining to do, Lucy!

You did it, didn’t you.

Wonderful.

Okay, I will admit that maybe some of the humour wouldn’t be so effective without the “click to continue” trick. And maybe there’s something about the timed text that simulates the sort of timing necessary in a comedy routine. But seriously, these tricks are annoying. I’ll forgive you only because you made me laugh.

Underneath all the humour, by the way, there seems to be a message about connecting with people. Okay. It’s a grand message. The exploration of the bear’s daddy issues is also pretty cool. But I think I’m going to remember this for the humour.

Breakfast: Waffles with butter and honey, and a side of sliced ham. Maybe a soft-boiled egg, timed for that perfect balance between raw and hard-boiled. Tea, with milk and honey. Not just any breakfast: a fine BEARkfast.

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