IFComp 2012: Sunday Afternoon, by Virgil Hilts

Twenty-five games. Ten days. We’re rolling, and blitzing through the judging for the Eighteenth Annual Interactive Fiction Competition. As always, if you’re a judge, don’t read on unless you have already played and reviewed the game yourself, and if your averse to spoilers, you won’t want to read this even if you aren’t judging.

Blurb: It’s gloriously sunny outside, and you can smell the grass from in here. It’s not fair. All the servants have the day off, and you can bet they’re not cooped up indoors in their Sunday best. If only there were some way to escape….

I am fairly certain I know who “Virgil Hilts” is, unless someone’s deliberately trying to mislead readers. Anyone, this has a pretty good narrative voice, and a well-crafted depth of implementation, with a wide range of nouns and conversational topics.

There’s a lot that goes right with this one, and hardly anything which goes wrong: the only bug I found was some fiddliness in the handling of the closet. One unusual element which shifts the tone and themes a bit is a fairly substantial metaleptic break, which frames the idealized and somewhat carefree tale of childhood with a loss of innocence, individually and nationally. It lends the story some heft and weight, but the work ultimately wears it lightly, not pushing on its themes too hard. All in all, this is a well-written, light, and enjoyable work, and a show of fine craftsmanship.

Rating: 8 (maybe 9)

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

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