Wednesday, October 5, 2016

IF Comp '16: Mirror and Queen

Mirror and Queen, by Chandler Groover

"Mirror and Queen," is a parser game in the Aisle tradition. You input single words or short phrases and get a response. Unless I'm missing something, there's no game elements, goals, or winning states; just a place to explore.

You're positioned as the queen from Sleeping Beauty as she consults her magic mirror. You can inquire about all sorts of aspects from the story, and dive into the motivations of the queen. Despite some nice prose, I felt like the game didn't add anything to the fairytale. The motivations revealed here aren't anything you might not expect and don't deepen or reconstruct the story. And as there's no way action beyond questioning the mirror, there's no way to change the story, play off what character is revealed, or even just advance it down traditional lines. It all feels very slight.

Last year Chandler Groover entered "Midnight Swordfight" which also seemed like a one-turn game, but then became something bigger and stranger. It was one of the gems of the competition. "Mirror and Queen" feels like it doesn't have a fraction of the ideas or flair. I'm really wondering if I'm missing something here.

I've got to be missing something. Right?

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