IFCOMP2014: Laterna Magica review

Laterna Magica by Jens Byriel placed 42nd (last) in the 20th Interactive Fiction Competition IFCOMP2014. You can play online at ifdb. This series of blog posts are mini-reviews I wrote as a fellow author to document my impressions of other games.

Spoilers below

This work occupies an interesting place for me. I’m not sure it intends to be FICTION. I read this as a dialogue between yourself and yourself as a way of exploring / confronting your own thinking about new age spirituality. YMMV on subject matter like this... I found myself having to just buy-in to certain beliefs in order to continue. Ugh fine, it’s fiction.

As an IF-work: I like the idea of using IF in a dialogue manner; a form of education, a conversation a reader can have to learn about things. This is different to Wikipedia where knowledge is presented in chunked totality. This mode of education is an unfolding journey. I’d love to see work where the conversation changes based on what has come before – that would unlock great educational potential.

I initially couldn’t find an ending and went around in loops trying to explore as many answers as I could. I get this was the whole point; to come and go as I choose but there is no end to this quest/questioning. I’m going to admit to cheating and eventually reading the source code to make sure I got everything – ha! It turns it there is a proper ending - this is sort of a maze game afterall.

I don't recommend this game.

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