IFComp 2011: How Suzy Got Her Powers

The indefatigable David Whyld brings us a sample of his latest efforts in Adrift. Spoilers follow the break.

So, this is basically a teaser for a larger work. This seems to be a trend in recent Comps. People figured out some time back that they could exploit the rules of the Comp to get people people play games that they wouldn’t choose to play voluntarily, but now they’re using it to, in effect, expose people to advertisements.

The larger work is apparently a superhero epic in which you, as the heroine Scarlet, battle villains with names like Krusher and Fyreball. (No, I’m not making that up. Both of those names are in the game’s “About” text. I hope Fyreball is a reference to Textfyre somehow.) Scarlet’s origin story is told here, in Whyld’s overly-wordy style. How wordy? Here’s the response to “EXAMINE ME”:

You’re Suzy Loman, twenty-three years old, single, currently employed as a waitress in a restaurant which is hardly what you’d call high class (the Meal of the Day is often Pig’s Liver which probably says it all). You’re small for your age (“short” as your father would so eloquently put it) but pretty in an elfin sort of way (so you’d like to think) and you have perfect, sparkling blue eyes (again, in your opinion). You keep your hair (light blonde) at shoulder length, having neither the willpower to let it grow any longer (and look like a bimbo) or the nerve to cut it short (and look like you’re one of those horribly professional business women).

And it keeps on going for another paragraph describing your clothes. How much of this is relevant to the story we’re in? Just the fact that you’re short (if I may put it eloquently). And these are apparently Suzy’s self-evaluative thoughts while trapped in a burning building. That’s the entire story here: you charge into a conflagration to rescue a stranger, solve a simple environmental puzzle or two, and then are apparently rewarded for your courage with superpowers. But you don’t get to use those powers, or even find out what they are, because the game ends with a big textdump first. It’s like a game about the origin of Green Lantern that ends with Abin Sur giving Hal the ring.

2 Comments so far

  1. Emily Short on 16 Oct 2011

    Gah. I didn’t EXAMINE ME, apparently (perhaps because I was focused on the burning building issue). But I really dislike it when a female character is given thoughts about herself that really only make sense as the evaluation by an external, probably male viewer.

  2. Merus on 16 Oct 2011

    The parenthicals are (in my opinion) a sign of really poor writing, as if the author (who’s spent far too long on backstory) wants to get out a dozen unrelated thoughts (and can’t think of a clever way to do it).

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