IFComp 2012: Valkyrie

This is the first game on my queue of the several written in Twine. I didn’t leave this so late deliberately; the Comp’s official random number generator gave them to me all bunched up at the end. Spoilers follow the break. (The judging period for the Comp only lasts for a few more hours, but I will abide by the spoiler rules up to the end, and longer if necessary.)

So, this game was written collaboratively by three students in a “Game-based Learning Developmental English course” at a community college in Colorado. I don’t want to be too snarky about this, but I’d say it looks like a collaboration between students. For one thing, the seams are easily visible. The very first choice splits the game into three branches — a choice of character class, basically, warrior/wizard/thief. These three branches all have a plot in common, concerning Norse gods recruiting you to find a missing necklace, but they contradict each others’ details, and differ wildly in writing style: The Thief’s story is terse, giving a sentence or two between choices, while the wizard’s launches into about a full page of prose with every click.

Anyway, the whole thing is kind of goofy, in a way that suggests that the authors at least enjoyed writing it (except maybe the one who handled the thief, who may have been trying to get it done with quickly). I think my favorite bit was an offhand mention of the wizard using a magic spell to shrink her breakfast so she could eat it faster and get on with the adventure. That’s the sort of thing I’d expect from the unfettered imagination of a child.

It’s pretty much a failure at introducing me to the capabilities of Twine, however. (Not that this was the authors’ aim.) As far as I can tell, this work does nothing that couldn’t be done in static HTML. In fact, it doesn’t even really take full advantage of static HTML’s powers: with only a couple of exceptions (all the more noticeable for being exceptional), it doesn’t embed links in the text, instead putting them at the end, like in a bound-paper Choose Your Own Adventure book.

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