IF Comp ’10 – Michelle Tirto’s Gigantomania!

October 28, 2010

For the next however many games on the list, I’m going to tackle the ones I really don’t want to play, in order of how much their blurb makes them sound depressing and/or traumatizing, and a game about “living under the Stalin era, in four parts,” sounds like a clear winner.  I don’t even want to play one part of a game about living under the Stalin era.  That does not sound like fun.  That does not sound like something that is even the remotest of acquaintances with fun.  If fun invited this game to a party, this game would be all “Dude, I just got a party invite from this fun character.  Who is he and why is he friends with me on Facebook?  Also, what is a party?  Does it involve torture and genocide and the screams of babies?”

I am just saying that I don’t like things that are depressing, is all.

[spoilers begin here]

That being said, I’ve heard Gigantomania’s actually pretty good.  Initial impressions:  yeah, the writing so far is up there with the best in the comp, and goddamn is this gonna be depressing.

They hung his head out of the window, and as they drove away the blood dripped and dripped until it formed a crimson guideline of the quickest way to Stalingrad.
This is exactly the sort of thing I am talking about.

Oh, huh, harvesting potatoes like a good worker will get me killed.  Guess there’s something else I’m supposed to be doing.

Yup, generally being a nice guy.  Oh, good, part one’s over already.  This might not be as bad as I’d thought.

Plus, if we didn’t have breakfast, he gives us a slice of bread. I would thank him profusely, but as Comrade Stalin says, “Gratitude is a sickness suffered by dogs.”
was Stalin ever a dick. I’m an incredibly patriotic steelworker here in part two, and I’m not sure whether that makes things better or worse.

>x baker
Don’t you mean Comrade Baker?
Worse, most likely.

Huh.  I’m not sure waiting in this bread line is going to work, and all the hints will tell me is “Get some food” and “Not everyone is like Stakhanov.”  Oh, I see, I can bribe Comrade Baker with money.  Is that a thing that I would do, though?  I suppose if it makes me feel better I can bask in the knowledge that now I am sure he’s a Trotskyite.

This secret panel in my office neither opens nor moves.  I’m not sure what other verbs might apply to a secret panel.  Oh, we’re on part three now, by the way, in which I have an office.  Oh, okay, I can PUT things IN it.

So far, I’m finding the game maybe a little… not exactly heavy-handed, just I don’t feel like any of these PCs are people so much as little animatronic actors in a “living under Stalin” diorama.  Such a diorama, of course, if you saw it in a museum, would be enough to make you go “God that must have been horrible,” but it’s not really personal enough to breed empathy.  I mean, I am the last person to complain that a game was not depressing enough, but I’d imagine if you go in for feeling moved, this game is not really going to hit your spot.

Oh, crap, I have two capitalist objects and one caricature I drew of Stalin, and they won’t all fit in my loose wall panel.  (Perhaps if I were trying to put them in the space behind my loose wall panel instead?)  In real life — and I am just sayin’ — I would totally be able to put this doodle up my butt.  I don’t think they’re going to look in my butt.

Man, I have to throw someone under the bus here.  This blows.

“No more idle chitchat. Why would Surkov take the document?”
1) He has an illegitimate Polish family, and his illegitimate wife’s family has a history of being Polish spies employed by the government to assassinate Lenin and Stalin. And he’s a pirate.
>> 1
“Wonderful! Murky Passions must be your favorite book,” he mutters, as he furiously scribbles down what I say.
I was not expecting to find anything in the Stalin game funny, but “and he’s a pirate” got me.  Must remember to steal that for every possible situation.  Also, it’s funny because Murky Passions is one of the contraband items in my wall panel.

Blecch, I think in part four I am Stalin.  What’s with this <d4> and <e6> business?  Were they left in by accident, or does Stalin have some strange neurological disorder?

I got it from – Mironov, come in. Take a seat. There’s nothing under the chair. Yes. Yes. Really. <Rd1>
1) So, what is it? <0-0>
It’s Kirby!  (>’_’)>

…sorry, this probably isn’t the right time to be parsing <o-o> as a cute little face, huh.

1) <dxe4>
Oh, is that what it is?  I thought I told you not to interrupt me for anything less than a <g5>.  Also I think this game might be broken?

1) <Qc7>
>> 1
1) <c5>
>> 1
1) <exd5>
>> 1
1) <a6>
>> 1
1) <g6>
>> 1
Let me get this straight. For the fourth week running, you’ve received reports of a mounting Nazi army heading for Stalingrad. Goebbels has ramped up his anti-Communist propaganda, which was previously only vitriolic. Our spies in the Berlin say Adolph has been spraying champagne onto my portrait. Villagers near the Russian border are wearing Nazi pins. And this is the sixth time you’ve told me the same exact thing. <Bh6>
Wow, our secret Soviet code sure conveys a lot of information in very few characters!  Also, I’m not sure if the game is broken or if it’s going for something that I am completely failing to pick up on.  Points off either way unless something explanatory happens.

Yeah, I’m, um, not really sure what that was.  I will give it a five for being pretty good before confusing the hell out of me.

Update:  Oh!  I don’t play enough chess, I guess.

Yeah, five is probably a little low, but man, the thing with the chess moves and nothing else took me right out of it, to the point where I wasn’t even reading the words because the game seemed so broken.  And the last bit of a game is where it can really drive home its point, or provide its shocking revelation, or what have you, but that was so weird and distracting.  And he’s a pirate.

I’ll give it a seven.  Wait, a six.  Shit, I don’t know.  Ask me tomorrow.

Update from tomorrow:  Yeah, I think I have to give this game a six, despite having just knocked a point off Heated to make seven once again equal seven.  It just really dropped the ball for me in the fourth act with the chess stuff, which I totally thought was the author’s choice-map notation accidentally left in.  I was pretty much willing to overlook that, then the actual English sentences went away, and I thought the game was broken.  Spelling out the chess moves more explicitly (pawn to e3 or what have you) would have prevented this, I think, at the cost of being more accessible and less post-modern.  And really, if you’re trying to make a point, accessible seems like the way to go.

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