Spring Thing ’05 Impressions

I only made it through half the games, and I didn’t have much to say about Whom the Telling Changed. Which leaves:

Second Chance, by David Whyld

What an experience to “play” someone’s life and be told after you die that there was a good ending you should have been aiming for. Tapestry, heavy-handed though it was, held off on labelling its choices good or bad. It pretended for as long as it could that there was no good ending, that there was no right way; Second Chance dangles out the good ending right from the start and undercuts itself by answering so many of its plausible choices with a “WRONG! Try again?”

Bolivia by Night, by Aidan Doyle

Let me see if I can summarize. You’re a foreign journalist who joins forces with the spirit of Che Guevara to overthrow drug lords and/or centuries-old evil. Starts out in the travel agency genre — “Bolivia is a very interesting country with many unique and interesting sights” — but then people start dying and just when you’re in the mood for a murder mystery you’re drafted by “the Guardians” and given supernatural powers and your shirt starts talking to you and it doesn’t end. It coheres into a kind of broad comedy where no joke is unwanted. You’ve tracked Mendoza to his palace hideout and the tense final scene is put on hold so you can tour his personal chambers and laugh at his bondage gear — which isn’t actually described past the fact that Mendoza has bondage gear, hilarious, am I right? — and a couple of rimshots later you’re using DVDs as spare tires and the whole thing is kind of a mess. Normally I’m all for imagination and narrative exuberance and ninjas, but when the world I try to fix in my head is rejiggered at every opportunity for throwaway gags, it feels like the jokes are on me.