IFComp 2012: Murphy’s Law

Spoilers follow the break.

Almost a “my apartment” game, this game tries to create interest by having things go arbitrarily wrong in various ways, starting with a papercut and ending with the destruction of your house. Well, okay: that makes it sound like it has an escalating dramatic arc. It doesn’t really feel that way. It feels kind of insubstantial. With the exception of the destruction of your mailbox, which necessitates a trip to the bank where a robbery occurs, the problems don’t feed into one another; they’re just obstacles to overcome, one after the next. That bank robbery doesn’t even really affect the player character at all; it just kind of unfolds and gets resolved in the background while you repeatedly type “z”. Although there could be more to that than I saw: I finished with only 14 points out of 20, and wasn’t inspired to go hunting for the remaining 6.

The prose is functional but kind of charmless, except at a few offhand mentions of the player character’s lost past — a wife who isn’t with him any more, plans for children that never came. Those moments, in Hemingway fashion, suggested to me that that the more dispassionate descriptions around them might mask a deeper sorrow. This sort of quiet moodiness is severely at odds with the more insurance-commercial-like tone of the calamities that follow, but it strikes me as a technique worth exploring elsewhere.

3 Comments so far

  1. Starmaker on 12 Oct 2012

    The link 404s. There’s an extra /stack/archives/.

  2. Carl Muckenhoupt on 12 Oct 2012

    Fixed. Thanks.

  3. Elizabeth on 22 Oct 2012

    One thing that hit me about a day after I played this game, and which bothers me still: The PC has a letter all set to mail. Why does he then head to the bank and not the post office?

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