IFComp ’12: Fish Bowl

Fish Bowl by Ethan and Joshua Rupp is a short and simple bit of horror. It’s about a destitute beach comber to whom weird, somewhat unnerving stuff happens. It’s not very long and the action is railroaded. This presents a problem as its not always clear on what action needs to be performed to move the story forward. I was a little miffed I had to turn to the walkthrough at one point. What I needed to do should have been obvious, so maybe I’m just an idiot. On the other hand, it wasn’t clued at all which is a big whiff in my book. The there’s a few standout bits of writing but for the most part its fairly awkward with clumsy lines both opening and closing the game. Implementation issues border the game on all sides. I especially liked

>sleep
You are getting more exhausted.

You aren’t feeling especially drowsy.

There’s no ABOUT command so it’s unclear if Fish Bowl was beta tested. If it was it could have used a little more to help round out the experience. What’s here is okay but it’s pretty thin and there’s not much to see or do.

As for the story… eh. Weird stuff happens and then you find out why. I wasn’t particularly affected or creeped out, but as far as slightly unnerving weirdness goes it does establish a tone and feel. I just wish it had pulled me in more, spent more time establishing the mundane or character before letting the feeling that something was not right slowly seep in. Overall, not a waste of time, but doesn’t stand out in any way.

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