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Review – Aaron Reed’s Blue Lacuna, Part One!

February 11, 2009

Early verdict on Blue Lacuna:  it is big and deep and neat and good, and so far it reminds me of Myst.  That sentence does not contain nearly as many words as the RSS feed spoiler buffer demands, however, and honestly I am all out of brain.  This is a shame, because I feel as though this RSS buffer is open design space which I should fill with something wonderful, creating sort of a… problemtunity… y’know what?  Fuck that.  You’re getting a paragraph full of gorilla.

Gorilla gorilla gorilla gorilla gorilla gorilla gorilla gorilla gorilla gorilla gorilla gorilla.  Gorilla gorilla?  Gorilla.  Gorilla gorilla gorilla, gorilla gorilla gorilla oatmeal gorilla gorilla.

There.  I’m’a take a damn nap.

[spoilers begin here]

Man, it is just like those other Wayfarers to get themselves into trouble this early in the morning.  I totally just woke up, chose my gender and sexuality, and decided to make art instead of love, and now here is the Call and I have to go world-hopping through like ten chapters of interactive novel or some bullshit.  This could not have waited until after lunch?

Tutorial:  Though you can take this lamp, most of the time you won’t need to carry objects around with you.  In fact, it’s possible to finish the story without taking or dropping anything.
Wha?!  This is foreign to my way of thinking!

Hmm, my Nordic boyfriend and I both remember through touch.  Must remember to touch things.  Perhaps I could write myself a reminder in Braille.

…there is a stream running through my house.  No wonder it’s so damn cold.

Tutorial:  Not all verbs require keywords.  You might try to SIT, SWIM, or LISTEN.
Wow, this game seems super-implemented so far.  Gonna bang on it a bit.

>clean
You do.  It feels good to be clean.
I do.  It does.

…I know the tutorial said I don’t need to take anything, but but but but box of matches!  I can’t very well just leave it there all full of potential usefulness and not in my inventory!  Also I am, in real life, a firm believer in not leaving the house without anything that strikes me as significant when I glance at it, because thoughts like “but I’m going to a petting zoo, why would I need a lemon zester?” are what get people trampled to death by unzested goats.  Or, y’know, something that actually makes sense.

Oh, I see, I wayfare by painting.  Hopefully I never hop into a world devoid of art supplies.

You’ll come back to say goodbye, if… or before.
Huh?  (one half hour later) Oh!  I will come back to say goodbye if I leave, or I will come back before that!  I think that is what that sentence means?

Um, Rume?  If I stay with you, doesn’t that sort of end the story about the Call and the wayfaring and the nine chapters left?  I guess we will save and find out.

This bit is sort of interesting here where a scene is described and things happen

and then you > type something

and the scene continues.  I want to test it to see how responsive it is, how many possible inputs are accounted for, but I am actually afraid to break it, to disrupt the narrative.  That must mean it’s working.

Hmm.  I guess the story didn’t end.  Now I am shooting a bunny.  Sorry, bunny.

Yup, only managed to delay the inevitable, and now I am going to get there twenty years late.  “Excuse me,” I will say, “are you the wayfarer who was in trouble twenty years ago?  Because um if you have not either gotten out of that trouble or been killed by it I would like to um offer my assistance.  Twenty years late.”  Oh, the withering scorn I will receive for this!

Story mode or puzzle mode?  Better have story mode.  We’ve got nine more chapters to get through and don’t want to get all frustrated and stuck, but, wait, puzzle mode has puzzles in it… oh, I know what we’re going to do.  We’re going to restart the game a few times because man I cannot believe I voluntarily passed up sex.  With you in a moment.

Oh.  He’s asleep.  Never mind.  We’ll have story mode.

Hello, chapter two.  Hello, crazy man.  Concordance to you too.

He does not even glance at you, but waves a hand dismissively.  “Not now!” he hisses.  “Not not not on Word Day!”
Sorry, didn’t mean to attempt to communicate with you on Word Day… with words.

Afterimage from the Blue Flash, eh?  That sounds not at all plotlike and significant.

Okay, I just went underwater in a crystal sculpture of a manta ray.  This place is officially neat.

…saddest sketchbook ever.

Oh!  Look!  Art supplies!  Is that convenient or what?

I had been wondering if all Wayfarers were painters, or if that was my own particular schtick.  Looks like, at the very least, it’s not just me.

Oooh, I found a compass, and now I can navigate by typing directions!  That is a nice intuitive way to give players that choice.  So far everything in this game has been nice and intuitive.  Very cool.

…I feel weird calling it a game, though (which isn’t a problem I usually have with IF), but I would feel weirder calling it a novel.  “Whatcha doin’?”  “Playin’ a novel.”  “Don’t you mean reading a novel?”  “No.  Fuck you.”  Perhaps I should’ve gone with puzzle mode.

Surprisingly enough, I’m finding compass directions to be distracting.  Fortunately, all I have to do to revert to the landmark system is CLOSE COMPASS.  I mean, sure, LANDMARK SYSTEM ON or COMPASS DIRECTIONS OFF or whatever would have been just as easy, but there’s just something really cool about having something physical to control game functions.  Allowing the character to perform these actions instead of the player keeps them in the game, for one thing, and… look, stuff that does stuff is just neat. And neat stuff is cool.  And cool stuff rocks.

To be continued.

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One comment

  1. nice review. I got to chapter 5 in about 3 hours. Started climbing up the crack, went and broke my leg, nice old Prague was there to help fix it, and it doesn’t look like I’ll be going back up again anytime soon.

    I loved the poetic dialogue “and then you > type something” but it doesn’t look like I’ll be getting much more of that (no interest in a myst-game) so i’ve lost steam on continuing the IF. whups.



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