IFComp 2010: The Blind House, by Maude Overton

This is the twentieth game I am reviewing in the 16th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition. There needs to be some text here so that when Facebook links to it it doesn’t include bits of the actual review. And thus it is that I say: IF remains popular among visually-impaired gamers, for obvious reasons.

Mmm, serves me right for cockily proclaiming victory
for Aotearoa; this game will give it a run for its money. It’s
incredibly atmospheric and has an effectively creepy narrative
style. It feel like most of what we learn is given away fairly early,
although I’m still not sure if I “got it” in the end, although most of
the fragments I saw later were confirmation of things I’d seen early
on. The chronology is somewhat confusing, but ultimately plot takes a
back seat to tone here, and the modern-Gothic style of a starched and
remote cleanliness works. Much is unsettling without too many cat
scares, and the polish and implementation depth are high. The
consistent style and deep implementation did much to draw me in,
although on occasions the mimesis is disrupted: I got particularly
slowed down finding the key to the study.

I ran into almost no technical errors, although I got jumped into a
later conversation tree by turning on transcripting. The writing, as
mentioned, is stylistically consistent and remarkably free of
error. There are a number of excellent, professional-quality features,
such as the little thumbnail room-layouts on the status line. This
game is a gem, but I can’t quite bring myself to give it the single
highest accolade, possibly because too many of the revelations were
repetitions of information I already had.

Rating: 9


About Jake
I'm a mathematics professor at the University of Louisville, and a geek.

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