IFComp 2019: Fat Fair

This one’s just nasty. A brutish, grotesque piece about a brutish, grotesque person. You might guess from the title that it’s going to be mean toward fat people, but you’re probably going to underestimate just how mean. The protagonist, Borsch, is practically inhuman. He periodically reports urges to punch something, he goes into feeding frenzies where he shovels food and dirt into his face indiscriminately, and he has to rely on improvised echolocation to get his bearings once in a while because of the way his fat has degraded his vision and cognitive faculties. Note that the echolocation isn’t just a matter of exposition, but a game mechanic.

You spend the game’s first act preparing to commit a senseless murder in a factory parking lot. That’s what the “Fat Fair” is. The game doesn’t say so explicitly, but two of the items on your three-item checklist are an acid bath and an incinerator, so you pretty much know where things are going. In the second act, things have gone wrong enough to start a fire, and you have only so long before the police arrive. Your challenge is to clean up, to dispose of the body and any incriminating evidence (as well as a second body, because there was a witness). Or so it seems at first, anyway — if you do the obvious minimal requirements, the ending tells you that you’ve received ending B (“for BORING”), and that there are two better endings. One results from cleaning up evidence not just of the murder but of the petty misdemeanors you committed along the way, leaving you completely free to kill again. The other results from maximally monstrous behavior, from not just leaving things as bad as they are but making them worse, shocking even the police.

I don’t think I’ll be pursuing that branch. This is a game where my reaction isn’t just to say “Well, this isn’t to my tastes” and move on, but to wonder what kind of person would write it. It lavishes on the unpleasantness like it’s praising a lover. You can die by falling into a cesspit, and if you do, it doesn’t kill you right away, but lets you flail around uselessly in the shit for several turns first, reading color messages. It’s solidly implemented, and handles all sorts of combinations and special cases. Someone spent a significant amount of time and effort to make this. To share this vision with the world.

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