Sam and Leo Go To The Bodega
, by Richard Goodness, is another HTML game. You can play it online here
. It's a pretty short experience, so you might as well play it before reading the rest of this review.( Some spoilers inside, I suppose.Collapse )
A side note: It's interesting to see how the comp has changed just in the time I've been playing and judging. I only really discovered IF when Mike and I played the 2008 comp winner, Violet
, though I'd played Hamlet - The Text Adventure
a few years earlier. (Somehow I failed to discover, when I played Hamlet
, that there was more like this out there... pity!) Yet in just five years - really, just in the past two - there's been such a shift towards HTML games, probably due to the simplicity of Twine
. I have to admit, I feel mixed. I fell in love with parser-based IF, and this year fewer than half the games are parser-based. I find it's harder to feel a sense of agency when I'm only choosing between three or four options instead of wracking my brains to come up with ideas for what I should do. It's not impossible for an author to still give me this sense of agency, but it's harder.
I even feel funny using the word "game" for some of these HTML works. Often they don't have what really feels like a "win" state. There aren't puzzles to conquer, only decisions to make. There's no doubt that a work like Sam and Leo Go To The Bodega
is interactive fiction, but is it a game
? It's something I play, yes, but I don't think that automatically means "game." I played with Legos the other day (I teach an after-school Lego class!), but Legos aren't a game. Are these IF toys? IF stories? Just IF works?
...I'm sure I'll keep wrestling with this question as I keep making my way through the comp. I'd love to hear your thoughts!