IF Comp ’11 – Simon Christiansen’s PataNoir!

November 9, 2011

Man, I hope I spelled Simon Christensen’s name right this year.  Oh, fuck me, that’s wrong.  Why can I not remember Christiansen?  It’s not that difficult!  I think I’m overcorrecting from Christianson, maybe.

Anyway, I enjoyed the hell out of last year’s Death off the Cuff, which was a spot-on Poirot parody, so I am looking forward to PataNoir as another example of Simon Christiansen doing genre well.  If he disappoints me I’m eating his half of the muffin.

[spoilers begin here]

>x butt
An old cigarette that you couldn’t bother to finish.
Wow.  That’s… as an ex-smoker, lemme just assure the never-smokeders that this is symptomatic of major problems.  I smoked some of my cigarettes twice even.

Ah, my trusty revolver, in the single desk drawer.  I wonder, if you examined all the desks in every IF game, what percentage of them would have one lone drawer?

“PataNoir” is a surreal noir game, which differs from an ordinary noir story in ways that should become clear early on. Make sure you try to examine and interact with everything in your surroundings, including things that are not literally there. Especially those. Every time something is “like” something else, you can try to interact with both things. Once you have some things, try giving them to people or putting them on other things.
Oh!  That’s fucking sweet!

He raises an eyebrow. “I haven’t selected anyone Mr. Reilly. Perhaps you could tell me why you would be the right man for the job?”
Because I’m batshit insane.

>take marble
Found my marble!  Oh!  Oh ho ho ho!  A ha ha hee hee hee hoo hee ha ho ho ho hyeeeee-ah!

I like that you’re kept in your office until you’re able to demonstrate that you grok the game’s weird mechanics.

“Of course. My daughter’s name is Lisa von Bülow” – he shows you a photograph – “she is 22 years old, way too old for this rebellious nonsense in my opinion.”
22 seems like a perfect age for rebellious nonsense!

The air is cold and clear, like the justice we all seek, but never find.
>x justice
You can’t find it.
Fair enough!

Man, I dunno what I’d do without my trusty revolver Smith Wesson to give me hints.

All this dude has in his kitchen cabinet is a bowie knife?  He must be a serious badass.  Like, instead of making a can of beans or something, he stabs himself until the pain overshadows the hunger, or maybe just eats the knife.

Wait, this rust on my office chair is actually blood?  How would I have known that if Smith hadn’t pointed it out?

Hey, where’d my knife go?  I wanted to use it to cut some fog!  Oh, I guess they confiscated my weapons when I entered the bar.  Damn.

>cut fog with knife
The knife is real. The fog is not.
Aw, man, and here I thought I was being so clever making my knife all tiny like a tiny needle.

Wait, shit, I hope I didn’t fuck myself using the record on the Baron.  Can I get that back?  Yes.  Phew.  I can.

Thanks for getting me fucking killed, Smith!

So, I really like the game’s concept, but I feel like its internal logic is lacking a sort of consistency, or I’m missing things.  Well, I know I’m missing things:  Smith will often say “Hey, this [item you didn’t notice and have no idea where it came from] might be helpful in this situation!”  Also I’m not sure what’s changed after this scene at the police station, or what I’m supposed to be looking for.

Oh!  I needed to talk to the detective one more time for him to unlock a new location.  That could have been clearer really.

The living room is littered with expensive furniture – the kind that exists that exists solely to show that the resident can afford it.
Man, now I’m trying to imagine what completely functionless furniture would consist of.  I guess you could have just the frame of a couch made out of diamond-studded platinum.

The Doctor shines a flashlight in your eyes. “The patient does not respond to visual stimuli.”
He sighs. “And I genuinely thought he was getting better. I guess you can’t save everyone.”
The orderly wheels you back to your room. The white walls are like nothing in particular. It is quiet here.
    *** You have lost your mind ***
…oh.  Well then.  Actually, technically, I think I lost my mind before this game even started.

Yeah, I’ve kind of run out of steam on this game.  Again, awesome concept, just could have used better cluing, for me at least.

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