IF Comp ’14 – Giannis G. Georgiou’s One Night Stand!

October 15, 2014

Breaking the shit out of the betsy ’cause I want to try this one next.  Do you think the author’s initials are a deliberate reference to Dan Savage’s controversial acronym GGG (“good, giving, and game?”)

[spoilers begin here]

The first adventure of Sandy Owens.
But not, we are to presume, the last!

Okay. So, you’ve probably slept with this dude. Not that you recall anything from last night.
I mentioned in the blurb post that I had some trepidation about playing this game because I used to get drunk a lot and fuck randos and it was just never a good idea, right?  I don’t think Sandy is cringing enough here.  I will cringe double hard for both of us.

Next to it, there is a desk with only one drawer.
I am going to start awarding bonus points to comp games that include a desk with more than one drawer.  A single-drawer desk is basically a crate, right?  Maybe they’re the IF equivalent of Start to Crate.

This young dude probably had the night of his life with you. He worshipped you. He honoured you. If he were awake, he would probably offer to bring you breakfast in bed. But you… You don’t even remember his name. What kind of cynical bitch are you?
This might be intended as self-deprecation on Sandy’s part, but it’s giving me the sense that the author hates the player character and probably all other women.  Especially me, personally, because I once slept with a college kid whose name I don’t remember.  (I will bet thousands of dollars that he did not worship me and doesn’t remember my name either.)

…followed by, like, fifty hunger daemon messages about how cold it is and what that is doing to my nipples.

You are naked, though, so you can’t exactly define the term ‘inventory.’
Yes I can!  I can define a lot of words naked!  Almost as many as I can with my clothes on, in fact!  Your inventory is the list of things you are carrying on your person.

You put the red shirt on. The dude’s physique is large enough for it to cover your nakedness, although some would still call you provocative.
In a nutshell, I am Porky Piggin’ it.

The drawer is stuffed with one-night stand souvenirs.
Oh, okay, so this guy also sleeps around a lot AND it turns out he stole my panties!  What a cad!  I should probably give up my quest to find out what his name is, yank my dress right out from under him, and leave without saying goodbye.  Game, you’re gonna let me do that, right?

> x vibrator
Remember when you used to have one of these toys? You threw it away when your mum came to visit.
Either Sandy’s mum is a notorious snoop or Sandy doesn’t understand the concept of “hiding things.”  I have an entire — this is going to be the review in which I share way too many details about my life and you are all a little uncomfortable — an entire suitcase full of sex toys left over from when I used to sell sex toys to women at parties, just hanging out in the closet at my mom’s house.

My point is that if Sandy needs a new vibrator, I will sell her one.

Can I pet the cat?  Nope.  Matt Weiner is going to hate this game.

> x sink
What are you sinking about?
Aaahh… A good old German joke your father used to say.
According to the internet, “sink” in German is “Waschbecken” and “think” is “denken,” therefore it makes no sense for this to be a German joke.  It is pretty good, though.  I first heard it on… wait, I thought I first heard it on the Muppet Show, but I found the relevant Veterinarian’s Hospital clip, and they don’t make that joke.  My entire life is a lie!

You look at your body and get stimulated by the way the red fabric is in a silent dialogue with your dark blue 5-inch heels.
Yeah, this is a problem women face constantly, getting turned on by the nonverbal communication of our clothing.  I can’t even leave the house sometimes because my hat and pants are playing charades.  Sexy charades.

You remember your ex-ex-ex-boyfriend, who was very much into roleplaying.
Game, no matter how badly you want to condemn me for being a heartbreaking slut, the convention for exes is to use just one “ex-” whether it was your very first boyfriend or the guy you broke up with yesterday.  It’s not like great-grandfathers.  If you dated your great-great-grandfather and then three other guys after him, he’d still be your ex-boyfriend with just one ex.  Also that would be incest and probably also necrophilia so I can’t really recommend it.

Oh, wait. You only see dragons and wizards, here. And these costumes look expensive.
No. You don’t get it. Anyway. You leave the books where they are.

> x table
You look under the coffee table. No. The dude’s name is not written here.

“Mind you, I never gave in without a condom!” you tell the audience. “Neither should you, folks!”
Okay, no.  Breaking the fourth wall to deliver an awareness message about safe sex, yes, great, but here is the thing.  You cannot guarantee that you are practicing safe sex when you are blackout drunk.  That’s my awareness message for the evening.  You’re welcome.  Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to take this used condom back to the station so the boys in the lab can run a match on this guy’s DNA and tell me what the hell his name is.

I am completely stuck at this point.  I even tried to clean the kitchen.  Are there hints?  There are no hints.

Let’s stop playing this game and start talking about how it could be improved.

I feel like you can write a game with this exact plot and have it be charming, relatable, and funny, and the first thing you need is compassion for the characters.  What’s Sandy’s motivation for putting herself in situations where she’s basically guaranteed a random sexual encounter?  Maybe she’s lonely.  Maybe she’s shy and afraid of being rejected if she puts herself out there sober.  Maybe she’s punishing herself for something, or this is the only way she feels pretty, any number of reasons besides “she’s a bitch and this is what bitches do.”

Same thing with the guy.  Why does he sleep with all these women and steal their panties, and why does he spy on his chubby male nudist neighbor?  Maybe he’s lonely.  Maybe he’s afraid of really getting close to people and this is his substitute for it.  Maybe he feels empowered when other people are vulnerable and he’s not.  Maybe it’s 100% pure sex fetish, in which case, how does he feel about it?

There’s clearly something going on with both of these people, and if you figure out what it is and deal with it honestly, you’ve got the beginnings of a P.T. Anderson romantic comedy.

I feel like this game could have used a lot more honesty in general, which brings me to the next subject I’m dying to go off on:  Sandy’s hangover.  Trust me when I say I know from blackout-calibre hangovers.  I am a tiny bit of an expert in blackout-calibre hangovers.  And this, this was no blackout-calibre hangover.

If you drink enough to fuck a stranger without remembering it, your whole next morning, if not the entire next day, are going to be colored by that.  You can’t toss off one glib line about having one hell of a hangover and then go about your busy day of being grossed out by someone’s disgusting apartment and turned on by your own thighs as though nothing had happened.

(Throwing down a trigger warning right here for bad hangovers and vomiting.)

Okay so here’s what you’re gonna do:  you’re going to wake up and everything is going to fucking hurt and if you make it to the toilet then that is where you will empty the entire contents of your stomach, and if you recognize everything in there you will congratulate yourself a little bit, because there’s always a way things could be worse.  (If anything in there is red you will also have that moment when you are convinced you are going to puke up blood until you die.  This will last for exactly as long as it takes your brain to remember you like cranberry vodka drinks.)

Then the next thing you’re gonna do is deal with how insanely thirsty you are by chugging a shit ton of water, which you will proceed to throw back up in a timely manner.  You will find this disheartening but much more pleasurable as an experience than when you just threw up like five minutes ago.  (I actually really enjoy the sensation of regurgitating cold water.  Granted, I’m a weirdo.)

Then if you are lucky you get to go back to sleep for five hours and then you wake up and someone who loves you has made you a burrito.  If you are unlucky you have to go to work and the nightmare just won’t stop.  Anyway, my point is that a little bit more realism in regards to Sandy’s hangover and how it would affect every interaction she had with her surroundings would have been good.  (You don’t actually have to implement first-turn puking but I do have Inform 7 code for that somewhere, because clearly it is a thing I think about a lot.)

Another point to address is the game’s narrative voice.  It’s not clear whether the narration consists of Sandy’s self-deprecating thoughts or the odious judgy views of an omniscient presence, and I think for this to work it’s gotta be the former.  Not only because the internal monologue of a deeply neurotic person is generally funny (as I gather from the way people laugh when I tell them what I’m thinking), but because the game as it is now feels like it’s denying the characters their humanity.

Right, that’s probably enough to be getting on with.  Where’d I leave my pants?


  1. Namecheck! I had already decided not to play this one irrespective of the cat, frankly. Anyway, maybe ex-ex-ex-boyfriend is a guy you broke up with, got back together with, and then broke up with again? Also I think more realism about the hangover would take the form of the thirst messages from Duel in the Snow if we were lucky* and jackhammer for a hat** if we weren’t, so be careful what we ask for.

    *Even after someone told me that in that game my best friend was banging my wife and had set me up to get killed in a duel with his psycho buddy, I still felt grateful to him for telling me which verb to guess to get that damn soda bottle open.
    **Quoting from memory–did I get that right?

    • Your head is pounding like you’re wearing a jackhammer for a hat. Your head is pounding like you’re wearing a jackhammer for a hat. Your head is pounding like you’re wearing a jackhammer for a hat.

  2. This is very, very wonderful.

    Excuse me while I subscribe to your RSS feed like a mofo.

  3. Hey, the desk my computer sits on only has one drawer. It is superior to a crate in many ways. Crates don’t usually have knobs, and the legs on my knobby crate are pretty decorative. And the crate with legs has gotta be over 50 years old. It’s currently sky-blue with a cheap paint job that is weathering nicely and quickly, cracking and showing some sanded wood in a few places.

    I didn’t understand what the hell the German ‘joke’/reference was about until seeing you mention it outright. I am pretty sure it is a joke based on an English speaker with a stereotypical Austrian/Viennese accent. Think of cartoonish depictions of a Freudian psychoanalytic type. Or maybe the guy was more inspired by the German accents in The Big Lebowski.

    As far as the pounding headache in the morning, you can also “get buffered analgesic” and “take analgesic.” It has worked before.

    I have enjoyed your review immensely, and will be looking through your archived posts. Thank you for reviewing games in the IF Comp.

    All in all, don’t hate the desks with one drawer. Hate the game (and I suppose ‘the odious judgy views of an omniscient presence’).

    • My desk also has one drawer, but it’s from IKEA, so it’s basically a crate. The drawer is pretty and orange though!

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