(Full disclosure: Tim asked me to play this because of a talk I did at VideoBrains on a similar subject. I was the one who asked to review it. I have also spoken at a convention (9Worlds) that Tim organises. I have met Tim in the real world and I have stood near him, like, at least 3 ft near him. Also I like his hair (Full disclosure: I have no real opinion on Tim’s hair (Full disclosure: Sorry Tim, I’m sure your hair is really nice)))

You can play the game here.

As you may have gathered from the above spiel, I gave a talk at a small event in London called Video Brains about changing the way we do reviews. In it I posit that perhaps it would be nice if we played with how reviews are formed, much in the way that people play with the way in which babbies are formed: With a sense of exploration, fun, and in a way that is often messy. I also asked people to show me the myriad ways in which this was already being done and why my talk was ultimately redundant. Sure enough Tim got in contact with me and pointed me towards his game, which is also a review, in response to Remember Me.

One thing that struck me almost immediately was the presentation. Real care has been taken over the placement of words, hyperlinks, the patterns in which things are revealed. It begins with the feeling of some sort of HUD readout, like the thing Robocop has scrolling over his vision, trying to initialise Tim’s own remembrance of the game.

RMAR Cap

It’s all very meta (although how can a game of a review of a game not be?) but strikes an excellent balance between style and substance. We get a bit of history regarding Tim’s thoughts in the lead up to the game, the anticipation and the excitement. There’s context, which is always important for a review and Tim does a good job of giving us that without having to veer into needless exposition.

As with many Twine games, the play comes from the exploration of different branching paths and, in this case, those paths come in the form of little thoughts and asides that deviate from the main thrust of the review. Effectively optional footnotes, which I like, because even if you click through the main points you’ll still get a cogent review, but there’s so much more if you take the time to explore. For example, one of the first options you can take reveals a little musing on the use of “Neo” in the name of the main location in the game (Neo-Paris, if you were wondering) and how that’s a weird little trope for stories set in the future. It’s absolutely not necessary to see, but it’s a really nice little nugget of opinion that can be unearthed if that’s what you fancy.

There are also some other ways Tim forces you to play with the concept of a review, in a couple of sequences you’re made to click on certain things in certain places in a certain order. It’s a lovely way to evoke a sense of what Tim was feeling whilst playing the game and is pretty much exactly what I wanted out of a non-standard review – Verisimilitude is cool and stuff.

That’s basically all I can say, to tell you any more would be to parrot the opinions of Tim in his review, and you should really just play the review. My opinion though? The fact that I told you to “play the review” fills me with joy. The fact that I had to describe Tim as though he were an avatar (because he sort of was) is bloody brilliant. More of this please.

My score: Ummm/What was I?… Uuuuh, hmmm, I…

About The Author

Contributor

Ben is pretty damned nerdy. If he isn't playing video games, then he's probably rolling some dice to hit goblins and thugs or designing, running and crewing a host of LARP systems. He lives in Brighton, because it's nice there. You can follow him on twitter @benrlmeredith

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