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IF Comp ’10 – Colin Sandel and Carolyn VanEseltine’s One Eye Open!

October 3, 2010

Hmm, what to play first?  What have we got?

Huh, two games with birds in the title.  Oh, man, two Bible games.  I am not sure I ought to review Bible games.  It’s not that I have ish with people getting their God on:  not giving a shit is, like, one of the main tenets of apatheism.  It’s just that when I think something I like to be able to say it, and I’m not sure how well that meshes with a concept people fight wars over.  (Plus I’d be lying if I said the idea of playing a Bible game didn’t make me really sleepy.  I wonder if you have to tie up your donkey every time you dismount?)

Oh, man, I can’t decide.  Tell me what to play, random.org!  One Eye Open?  That sounds scary.  I should read the blurb.

Had you known the bloody history of Corona Labs, you would never have signed up as a test subject. But now, plunged into that history, surrounded by the damned and the dying, you must find the truth. Perhaps you will even survive it.

Yeah, that sounds scary.  Well, it’s bright Arizona daylight and I have a stuffed Igglybuff pokemon brand pokemon.  We’ll all get through this together.

[spoilers below Igglebutt's iggly butt]


Please be advised that One Eye Open is a horror game.  It contains mature content (including blood, gore, human injury and death, mild language, tobacco reference, violence, and violent references.)
We do not recommend this game for a younger audience.
Would you like to proceed?  (y/n) >
This is probably my cue to run screaming, huh.  This is probably code for “hey Jenni don’t play this game it will fuck your shit right up.”  Still, gotta check the thing out, at least, for science.  Can always run screaming later.  (Also, “tobacco reference?”  “Where’d I put my Camel Lights?”  “Over here in this sucking chest wound!”)

After only ten days, you’re becoming surprisingly comfortable with life as a Corona Corporation guinea pig.
Not really that surprising, since all the tests involve lying on a beach with a lime in your beer.  (Oh, I did.  I went there.)

Oooh, I think this is the first ESP test I’ve received in an IF game.  Fun!

Oh boy, things in this game have descriptions and stuff!  Looks good so far.

Huh.  So I’m psychic, clearly, but should I throw the test so they don’t figure out I’m psychic and do as-yet-unspecified horrible things to me?  Shouldn’t I know whether or not to do that because I’m psychic?

Actually, I’m going to see if there’s a different ending for failing the ESP test, because man would that demonstrate a level of polish.  Also I am going to eat this entire pizza and get really fat, but that’s an unrelated thought.  One second.  Oh, okay, it treats it as a puzzle failure, unsurprisingly enough, and gives you a broad hint before moving on to the next test.  That’s pretty sweet.  I am going to fail all of them.

The warped 4×5 photograph shows the three-quarter profile of a teenage student.  Lines of blood straggle down from the broad cut on her forehead, and she cradles her left eye behind her bloodied left hand, hiding it from view.

Oh shit things just got creepy.  I count one human injury and a blood.

Hey, this ficus was a palm tree just a second ago!  What’s that about?

A broad ivory spike protrudes from the floor and pierces the ceiling, transfixing the corpse of a slender, dark-haired woman on the way.
That’s weird even for 1978, which I suspect is when I am.  One death, one blood, still no tobacco.  Which is also weird for 1978.

The room’s furnishings – a hospital bed, a bookshelf, a dresser – have been smashed into a still-recognizable pile of twisted metal and wood on the west side of the room.
Of course I recognize it.  It’s a pile of twisted metal and wood.  Know it anywhere.

The woman impaled on the white spike is dressed as you imagine a nurse might have been in the seventies[...]
I believe this game underestimates how I would imagine a nurse from the seventies.  I would start with Barbarella and work my way up.

Oooh, nice blood-stained map image!

In the unisex bathroom I find more blood and death, but no attractive lawyers.  Which is really too bad, because I think I would like to sue this hospital for mental anguish brought on by finding all this blood and death.

>x corpse
Upon closer inspection, you can see that the corpse was male, and is dressed in the scrubs of a hospital orderly or nurse.  The blood strewn on his uniform seems to have come from his mouth, likely vomited out when he was folded violently in half.
Man, I have got to stop xing these corpses.  That’s really gross.

You add the pages you are carrying together and classify them all inwardly as your notes.
That is an awesome feature.  None of that “which did you mean, the ragged, unlined piece of paper, the tearstained, creased piece of paper, or the half-burnt, unloved piece of paper?” bullshit for this game!  No sir!

Did they have keycard readers in 1978?  Hmm, Wikipedia says the hole-based VingCard was in use by 1975, but the magnetic stripe keylock was not launched until 1992 or 1993, so we’ll have to wait until we see the card before we decide whether this is anachronistic or not.

I am thinking that, as polished as this game is, it could still use some sort of a hook, as I’m kind of walking around doing the IF-protagonist bit without much of an impetus.  The bloody dead people everywhere are creepy, but I’m somehow not feeling all “ohshit I’ve gotta get the hell out,” nor is there anything I’m particularly curious about.  Not that the whole psychic time-travel mass-murder deal isn’t somewhat intriguing, mind you, it’s just not intriguing enough to override my natural aversion to walking into rooms with bloody dead people in them.  I mean, I just voluntarily took a break from this game to help clean out the fridge.  (Oh, man, there should be a horror game about that.  “Wait a minute, you don’t remember filling an empty grapes bag with raisins…”)

Huh.  This hospital is full of teeth.  That’s kind of odd.

You have been Ian McMoneagle, and his mind is a hell.
I have.  It was.

Man, good thing I saved before going down the laundry chute.  That was a bad idea.

Not sure what I should be doing at this point.  Ian McMoneagle is in the observation room, which is locked.  (I have been him, you know.  His mind was a hell.)  The elevator does not want to come when I push the button.  I cannot quite reach the white thing in the laundry chute.  Every time I walk down this hallway I get bitten in half.  I wonder if there are hints?

>hint
The corpse on the table looks like it’s been gnawed on a bit.  Perhaps another monster might find it tasty as well.
Wow, really?  I am glad I did not think of that myself, because ew.

You think better of dropping the gutted corpse into the laundry maw.
That can’t contain things.

>x keycard
You see nothing special about the Corona Labs keycard.
But is it a VingCard or a magnetic stripy?  THE PEOPLE MUST KNOW!

[B]oth handles seem to be missing, and the thick metal faucet, which would normally trace a graceful, high arc, is bent at a jaunty angle.
This is hardly the time for jauntiness, thick metal faucet.  I think we need to talk about your thick metal future at this thick metal company.

It’s a little strange how everyone at this hospital writes down their thoughts and feelings on pieces of paper and just leaves them lying around everywhere.  Should I be doing that in my own life?

["bend faucet" is not a recognized command.]
It’s definitely not a pile of twisted metal and wood.  Nope, don’t recognize it at all.

Oh, man, I don’t want to go into the boiler room.  Nothing good ever happens in the boiler room.

Through the grayness, you see that the room is hideously spattered with gore[...]
The gore, ladies and gentlemen!  Give it a hand!  We are still waiting on the tobacco reference and the mild language, unless it was so mild I didn’t notice it.  (I take mine strong.)

Oh, okay, the mind-hell teeth thing is some sort of a symbiont residing within Ian McMoneagle.  Got it.  We’re good.

This windowless room smells of cigarette smoke[...]
Tobacco reference, everybody!  One to go!

This is an elegantly designed (yet still visibly amateur) bake sale ad.
I know, Maudette, you tried really hard, but I think next time we’ll let the bake sale ad professionals handle it, hmm?

While they are pointy, the pins are too short and thin to be useful either as tools or weapons. Best to leave them where they are.
Awww.

>open fridge
You’re not sure what you expected to find in the fridge, but even at your most pessimistic you wouldn’t have guessed this.  Opening the fridge reveals a full set of working internal organs, filling the fridge completely from wall to wall.
Eh, I’ve seen worse.  This one doesn’t even have raisins in the crisper.

Yeah, I think I’m going to call time on this game.  It was very well-implemented and generally well-written (if maybe a bit overwritten in places — do we need “sanguine light?”  Can we not get by with plain old red light?) but I’m sort of just not feeling it.  Horror is totally not my genre.  Still, though, really well-done, especially for a comp game.

2 comments

  1. “Wow, really? I am glad I did not think of that myself, because ew.”

    That was my experience quite a few times — I’d get stuck, ask for a hint, and discover the reason I hadn’t thought of the puzzle solution was that it was far too freakishly disgusting an idea to have occurred to me by myself. Especially when it came to the use of the evil laundry machine. Grooossss. I suppose this might work for some players, in the sense that if they get themselves to where they’re thinking in the game’s terms, they’ve crossed over to a semi-insane form of logic, and that might be effective. I just couldn’t get myself there, though. I was continually failing to think of sufficiently grotesque actions, and I’m not sure I’m sorry about that.


  2. Heh. I threw the ESP test, too, for pretty much exactly the same reason. (Very bad experimental design, though, letting me see the experimenter’s face while she can see what my responses are. If that’s indicative of the general level of competence at Corona Labs, then no wonder the place is overrun with bloody corpses. On the other hand, I’m really glad they didn’t run enough trials to see that I was actually scoring *below* chance, because that would have been seriously tedious.)



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