IF Comp ’14 – Jens Byriel’s Laterna Magica!October 22, 2014
Either I lost the draft of my review for this game or I hallucinated writing it in the first place. Maybe that’s what laterna magica is, the illusion that one has played an IF Comp game and begun to write a review for it. Anyway, I’ll sum it up after the jump.
[spoilers begin here]
Laterna Magica is a choice-based game about enlightenment. It reminded me of, so, I’m dating a Californian, and he’s got all these books with titles like “Opening the Energy Gates of Your Body*,” and the way I feel about it is, if my body came with energy gates, it should also have come with little garage-door-style clickers so I could get them open.
The way the gameplay works is, you ask a question and you-who-is-also-you because we are all one and “you” is illusory (I guess?) is given two choices of answer, different in meaning but identical in mystical wankiness, each containing a keyword to click on. The keywords are repeated throughout the game and clicking on one usually takes you back to where it took you the last time you clicked on it. As soon as I figured this out, I began to scan the text for keywords I hadn’t clicked on yet instead of reading it for meaning, which I think might make this game not entirely successful.
After enough clicking I was told I’d reached enlightenment, so go me, I guess. The fact that I felt even less enlightened than when I’d started might also make this game not entirely successful.
I still have no idea what the hell laterna magica is.
* Actual example. If I were going to come up with a fake example it’d be, like, “Traversing the Crystal Road To Mindfulness.”