A Moment of Hope by Simmon Keith Barney(1999)

The Little Ugly, Evil Guy On My Shoulder's Verdict: What the hell kinda name is Simmon? I mean, SIMMON? Is that one of the really, really lost tribes of Israel?

The Little Nice, Handsome Guy On My Shoulder's Verdict: A moment of hope in a lifetime of self loathing. The pain, the pain.

My Verdict: I'm glad this game was written in TADS. It seems appropriate, as this game is a tad...boring.

The Review...

Okay, this probably wasn't meant to be the greatest adventure game ever made. It's probably aiming for something else entirely. It's what you might call experimentary IF, you see, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's all that good, though. The story is an honest, emotional one: a tale of two young people brought together in the electronic age by way of some sort of dating web site. One of the young people is a sensitive young male who enjoys sitting in a stuffy basement alone with his computer, free to think as many deep and profound thoughts concerning the nature of the universe and the meaning of life as he likes. He also enjoys playing his recorder under bridges from time to time. He's okay enough, but he's a bit on the self loathing side. Can't believe that any girl would like him or notice him, and when one seems to do just that he tends to obsess over it. The other young person is the girl who unknowingly holds the young man's heart in her hands. You can theorize as to what happens next, or you can just play the dang game like you're sposed to.

This is a review. I am supposed to state my opinion somewhere here, but it's kind of tough to do. I definitely don't harbor any hard feelings towards this game, but on the other hand I can't say too many positive things about it either. The best thing I can say is that the author obviously put a good bit of himself into the work. Boy, is it raw. Just brimming over with feeling and emotion. Almost all adventure games are written in the first person, but few force the player to experience all the nervous spasms and headaches of daily existence as this one does. The writing style is intensely confessional, so much so that in a way it's more like reading someone's journal than playing a game. Indeed, there's very little freedom allowed to simply "play" the game. The most fun the player can have is by typing "score" and "xyzzy" over and over again, unfortunately. The game is to say the least tightly organized around the main storyline - there is no room for any digressions whatsoever. Interactive input from the player is limited to walking around and performing obvious actions, often requiring the player to use the same commands repeatedly to get the desired result. I wouldn't mind this so much if the writing transfixed me and story involved me, but they don't, really. Typos occur regularly, awkward sentences abound, and the confessional writing style ultimately gets on my nerves....it's like you're being forced to be a person you don't want to be, forced to perform actions you don't want to perform, forced to think thoughts you don't want to think! Some people might really dig this, but I find it rather unpleasant and confining. I still like my interactive fiction interactive, for better or for worse.

Very little else is worth mentioning. The parser is not terribly responsive as the player is expected to use a very limited command set. There are no puzzles. The playability is extremely limited as the game is so tightly regimented, to the point where it is barely interactive. All in all, it's basically worth playing, but if you're after entertainment there are hundreds of pure adventure games that supply that much better, and if you're just after a good, heartful story the library is full of those(or if it has to be interactive, try Andrew Plotkin!).

Simple Rating:5/10

Complicated Rating: 16/50

Story: 5/10

Writing: 5/10

Playability: 3/10

Puzzle Quality: 1/10

Parser Responsiveness: 2/10

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