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Got a favorite storygame? Can't beat The Wal*Mart Game? If you're here to play storygames, this is the forum for you.

CYS Book Club: Book Two

12 days ago
Well, looks like this little idea is going well so far, considering I expected this to be a weekly thing, but everybody had read and reviewed the first game within a day. ^_^

So, @mizal @castorgreatpoetguy @ninjapitka @TurnipBandit @Bill_Ingersoll @Cricket @Serpent ... And I'm not sure if @Endmaster is joining, or if he just commented on the last one because corpse buggery is a subject he just couldn't stay away from, but I'll run the risk of tagging him any way. :p

Either way, Mizal was the first to join, so it's your turn to choose a story game for everyone to read. I guess how long we all have to read and review it depends on the play length.

CYS Book Club: Book Two

12 days ago
Oh cool we're taking turns. Uh, I'd like us to take a look at The Doll's Quest which is a really wonderfully bizarre story that was a first by @ThomasLaHomme (Who has a couple of others in the works, one that I'm pretty overdue on giving him some feedback on...) I'll put some closing thoughts in the Inseperable thread soonish...possibly tomorrow, I'm pretty wiped out rn.

CYS Book Club: Book Two

12 days ago

Okay, I'll start reading it soon. Is there any set date for when we should be done by or are we just kind of seeing how it goes?

CYS Book Club: Book Two

12 days ago
Well, it's only a 6/8 length, so a week would probably be fine. ^_^

CYS Book Club: Book Two

11 days ago

Thanks for the shout out, mizal. Your appreciation is appreciated. :)

CYS Book Club: Book Two

12 days ago

Hope nobody minds me jumping in here at week 2…. I was intending to get my contest story done first before starting any of this stuff, but I started reading the story and found myself really enjoying it. I’ll just copy and paste my review below, because I think that sums up everything I thought about it.  

****

I think it was probably the sheer weirdness of this story that initially got me interested. After the first paragraph, I was expecting something very different than what the story revealed itself to be. I did kind of get confused after that bit, but I think that was more to do with the odd gender-swapping thing. 

I didn’t really feel like there was many characters that I spent much time with apart from Wilky and Mary Beth (although it was clear most of them were real nut-jobs!). Everyone else got moved on from fairy quickly, before much of a relationship was built up.  At the same time, I wasn’t terribly bothered by that. Wilky and Mary Beth were in their own little journey and although others came and went, it was ultimately just the two of them, which made their relationship that much more special. It was cool how they just stuck together no matter what, and just had so much trust in one another. 

Personally, I get confused easily when there are a lot of characters with similar names, which happened in this story. There were so many R names it must’ve been done on purpose- a Rick, Rath, Roger, Rob, Ruiz and a Docter Rozier thrown in there too, and possibly a few others I’ve missed. 

Sometimes the choices were carried out a bit weird and different to how I expected them to be. For example, I chose to jump in the river, but when I clicked that link it was not my character that made the decision, but Wilky. 

There were also some occasions where the actual carrying out of the choice happened after a few other paragraphs on the new page. Not really a bad thing at all, just thought I’d mention it because I found it unexpected.

The ‘Questions and Answers’ were implemented at a good point in the story. They weren’t too late, which would’ve made me frustrated about the lack of answers, and they weren’t too early, which I meant I didn’t skim-read over it or lose interest. 

The story got progressively more bizarre, but I loved it. The alternate dimensions were a bit iffy for me at first but when Ebony and Copper Maidens had a death duel riding flightless birds? Man, that was awesome. The birds reminded me very much of the Moa, as they too resembled an ostrich. I’ve always thought the Moa would be really cool to ride (that is, if they weren’t extinct). 

On my first read-through I made it through most of the story without dying, but when going back to find all the branches I was mildly disappointed by the lack of branching in some parts. However, all the numerous endings were wildly different and for the most part, unexpected so I wasn’t all that fussed about it, just would’ve loved to see more of the story. 

I read through the other reviews on this story, and it seems the general consensus is that it’s somewhat dark. I actually got the opposite kind of vibe, which I thought would be worth mentioning. I’m left feeling like I just read something very sweet. To me, this is just really heart-warming because of Mary Beth and Wilky’s special relationship. They go through everything together, even when they’re dead and in some wacko doll bodies, and throughout the entire story it’s clear they just understand each other incredibly well.  The numerous nice characters were the ones that stuck out to me rather than the messed-up ones. The Uncle was a sweet old guy (why’d he have to die like that!!) and the band were a cool group. It was really nice how for such a rough group of guys they took good care of the dolls. I was half-expecting Mary Beth and Wilky to get thrown out of the bag and abandoned somewhere, so it was a nice surprise when it turned out they were simply just sweet guys who weren’t bothered by kids toys. 

Anyway, I’m rather sad I didn’t discover this story before now. Man, it was super odd in some parts and I don’t know how the heck the author came up with some of this stuff, but that made it all the better and I consider The Doll’s Quest to be one of the best stories on CYS that I’ve come across. 

CYS Book Club: Book Two

11 days ago

Thanks for the feedback, ghost11. :)

CYS Book Club: Book Two

11 days ago
I was picturing the birds as Chocobos. ^_^

CYS Book Club: Book Two

11 days ago
Awesome suggestion, Mizal. Here's my review:

I’m so glad that Mizal recommended this. Very few games give me the feeling of an adventure like yours did. Journeying to so many places, coming across so many different characters and trying to overcome all the obstacles in your path made this a really captivating story. I also love how you made it a “dark fantasy” where you combined the whimsy and innocence of a children’s fairy tale with the two adorable living dolls, with all the harsh and dark realities of the world, such as drug/alcohol abuse, violence, kidnap, murder and suicide… Kind of puts me in mind of Pan’s Labyrinth.

I didn’t really notice much in the way of mistakes. A few spelling and grammar errors scattered about here and there, though not nearly enough to detract from the story. I’d have liked to see more interactions between Mary Beth Brown and Wilky William. I mean, they travelled together and discussed what they were going to do next, but it would’ve been nice to see them have more conversations about their thoughts and feelings.

Also, it kind of felt like the game only had one “true” path and the others, while interesting, weren’t very fulfilling. I feel as though, if you don’t go to seek out the ventriloquist dummy and discover more about your past, then none of the endings really feel satisfactory.

Other than that, I have nothing but praise for this game. The plot was extremely unique, the different characters and scenarios were all really interesting, and the story was so engaging and well written that I had to go back and forth multiple times in order to see every path and reach every possible outcome. I really enjoyed reading this. ^_^

CYS Book Club: Book Two

11 days ago

Thanks for the crittique, Avery_Moore. Glad you enjoyed the storygame. :)

CYS Book Club: Book Two

10 days ago

So this story reminds me a lot of a Disney or Pixar movie if it was set in a realistic modern setting. Almost like a dark version of Toy Story. The story itself was something you'd almost expect to see in a fairy tale (a prince and princess turned into dolls with no memory and searching for answers) but the people and places they come into contact with give it a much more almost dangerous feel. Setting such a fairy tale-esque plot against a very real background worked very well in my opinion. Almost like a contrast in a way. 

So far I've gotten an ending where I was eaten by a cat, cured of the plague and reunited with the princess, reunited with my former subjects in Dr. Roziers house, and lived with the two kids and their dad and stepmom after their mom committed suicide. From other peoples reviews it seems there are more endings which I'll be sure to check out. So far the Star Palace one is my favorite (where you recover from the plague) because everything seems to end well. You are cured, your subjects get help, your wife and you live happily ever after, and that rat Eugene meets his demise by my orders. But I thought pretty much all the endings I got (minus getting eaten by a cat) were really good. All of them felt, well, satisfying. That's a feeling lots of stories don't really give me, so props to the author for that.

Now, I did have kind of a gripe in that the whole gender swap thing kind of seemed like an arbitrary decision in a way. I mean, the characters pretty much go, "Well, I'm a she now and you're a he now. Cool." and that was pretty much the end of it. There really wasn't any real conflict with it or any difficulty with the genders. It just kind of, happened, I guess. I guess I'm trying to say that I wish a bit more was done with it, although realistically I guess there isn't much more you could do with it. It just felt like it was going to be more important than it was. But I could be totally wrong on this and just have bad reading comprehension. Please feel free to correct me if this is the case. 

I also was kind of confused on what exactly we were. Now, it says we are humans but we come from another planet with Renaissance level technology and psionic abilities. So are we aliens that just call ourselves humans? Or are we humans that were transplanted to another world by somebody? Or am I just thinking way to deep into things and asking dumb questions? I'm guessing its the last one. That being said I really did enjoy the descriptions of our planet and history. It was very fascinating and could make for a great story setting in the future.

I really did enjoy this story. Much more then I was expecting to to be completely honest. The author managed to create a compelling story with interesting characters and an engaging plot. I truly did enjoy reading through this story and I look forward to seeing more from you @ThomasLaHomme. 

CYS Book Club: Book Two

7 days ago

Thanks for the critique, TurnipBandit. Glad you liked the storygame.

CYS Book Club: Book Two

9 days ago
Death Duel of the Warrior Maidens
Catfight. Catfight. Catfight.

CYS Book Club: Book Two

7 days ago

Cricket, they're using spears and swords! I think if it was a catfight, they'd be using their nails.

CYS Book Club: Book Two

7 days ago
Supposedly-phallic weaponry just makes it even hawter.

CYS Book Club: Book Two

7 days ago

yes

CYS Book Club: Book Two

7 days ago
I have a real review written up that I'll post tonight when I have both a computer and Internet at the same time.
I have to ask though, what gave you this idea, @ThomasLaHomme ?

CYS Book Club: Book Two

7 days ago

I'm a sick and depraved human being. LOL!

CYS Book Club: Book Two

7 days ago
As I thought.

CYS Book Club: Book Two

7 days ago

Well, I appreciate you reading it. Thanks a bunch.

CYS Book Club: Book Two

7 days ago

So I got around to posting my review this evening:

Perhaps a better name for this story would be "The Dolls' Odyssey," because the strange adventures these two wooden dolls experience seem less like a premeditated journey and more like a sequence of bizarre episodes. This is easily one of the more unique plotlines you're likely to find on this site, and probably one of the more memorable.

To be sure (and I think another reviewer already beat me to this analogy) this ain't no Toy Story (although like the current movie, it does involve an antique store and a creepy dummy). The dolls realize they are unlike other toys, although they are never for a second slavishly devoted to a child's happiness.

Instead, they have questions and need answers. There is a healthy amount of branching allowing the reader to follow the two dolls into a variety of scenarios, some of which are violent, others which are truly... well, strange. Few of the endings are tidy.

I did have some reservations about the story. First were the spelling errors, which weren't grievous but were plentiful. Then there was a shift from present tense to past tense on the first page that confused me for a bit. None of these things prevented me from understanding what was going on.

And in several of the episodes, I thought the choices were a bit stark and somewhat repetitive. For instance, more than once the dolls witness someone about to get harmed by someone else, and in each case it seemed there was a choice of trying to intervene (even though you're the size of a Smurf!) or doing nothing at all. The fact that the dolls seemed to know quite clearly what was about to happen contradicts the set-up that they are so innocent and naïve about Earth that they have to reference their knowledge of children's books to know what a dog is.

This is also true when they see a sign for a bus stop and immediately grasp that a bus is a mode of public transportation capable of getting them where they need to go. Basically, I saw a disconnect between how the dolls were described and how they actually behaved at times; if the story requires them to be somewhat worldly, then so be it. Too much innocence and helplessness would have been a bit much.

All in all, this is a good game. And REALLY, read through several endings. 

I want to emphasize that overall I thought this was an enjoyable story--certainly one of the more unique premises out there.

However, I did think a few of the secondary characters were more sharply drawn than the dolls... who spent a lot of time mooning over how nice it was to be trapped in dolls' bodies in their afterlife. Ruiz and the punk rockers were interesting, as was the paranoid mother. The robber and the ex-soldier might have been a little too obvious. At least I assumed he was an ex-soldier, drummed out of the service for conduct reasons. I further assumed there was a PTSD issue with him, until in another branch I learned this was set in the 1980s. I can't remember what reasons a U.S. soldier had during the Reagan years to be stressed out over trauma; did Noriega get mouthy when they arrested him in Panama or something? So, I guess he just had other unresolved issues.

Finally, I think a few of the choices could have been set up more clearly. For instance, when the dolls realize violence is about to occur they see their only options as being to try and help or to do nothing at all. This makes them seem like little Scott Bakulas running around trying to set straight what is about to go wrong, meanwhile hoping Ziggy has some answers for them. Perhaps the questions should have been less about whether or not to do something, but how to go about doing it.

The bottom line is I'm glad I read this. Had mizal not selected it, I probably would've passed right over it. In fact, I don't think I even heard of this story until she mentioned it.

CYS Book Club: Book Two

6 days ago

Thanks for the feedback, Bill_Ingersoll. I didn't realize there were so many spelling errors. mizal's going to go over my current storygame, so hopefully that won't be such an issue the second time around. (Although, the damn program's supposed to notify the writer of spelling errors) As to the junkie, he's not an ex-soldier. He probably just got his jacket from a thrift store.

CYS Book Club: Book Two

6 days ago

In my own experience working with the story editor, the spell-checker seems to function intermittently. I can tell because my stories have a lot of invented names and words that get red-lined when the checker is functioning; so when it's taking a break, it's usually pretty obvious.

CYS Book Club: Book Two

6 days ago
Here's the comment I posted:

The opening page starts out strong. There is heavy use of imagery and description. It almost feels out of place with how detailed the visuals are described. The more I think about it, the more I think it’s a tremendous way to start this game in particular because what’s different about the beginning page that sets it apart from the rest of the story? It’s pre-doll. I find it kind of amazing to gaze upon the wonders and majestic, royal living before it’s contrasted with the perspective of a crude doll. Plus, it can’t hurt to “wow” your reader with elegant writing to grab their attention (unless your audience is 13).

It’s hard not to comment on the gender swap. It’s an interesting dynamic to include. It’s also very weird to call the princess and the love of your life “Wilky William”. I like drugs too. Obviously the fact that you turn into a doll suddenly should be the main “Uh, this is weird” moment. The gender swap just adds to it and I like it. You can also see the love between you and the princess is strong because even in the doll state, their feelings never change. It shows that their love is deeper than physical attraction (unless they’re both bisexual and have a doll fetish).

I do find the formatting a bit distracting from the story at certain points. There are several bulk-sized paragraphs with dialogue mixed in. I think it would be easier to read and flow better to break them into different paragraphs. Besides, isn’t that proper grammar? It’s not as distracting as misspelled words, but it definitely requires a deeper level of focus from the reader. On a site desperate for reviewers, I don’t think this helps. On the subject of formatting, the paragraph breaks are really far apart. I think it’s due to the Advanced Editor. I think the quality of writing is high and the formatting issues are a negative influence to it. Luckily, it’s an easy fix.

The pathing seems to have great effect on the story. There’s not really a “re-branching” link that forces you back on the main thread of the story. I think the level of storylines and different circumstances fit the overall theme of the story. It’s a ridiculous story (in a positive way) and I think bottlenecking it into one branch would be a disservice. There does seem to be an underlying theme of humans being assholes, but we can just chalk it up to the demographic that still associate with dolls.

The Dolls' Quest is definitely a quality storygame to read. It’s very unique. At this point in time, you won’t read another story on the site that it resembles. Although depressing in some sections, it’s a fun read and I would recommend. Looking forward to reading the next story this “sick and depraved human being” puts out.

CYS Book Club: Book Two

5 days ago

Thanks for the feedback, Ninjapitka.

CYS Book Club: Book Two

5 days ago
So, we've all had nearly a week to read this. Miz, did you want to wrap this one up at the end of the day, or give it a bit longer so that the people who haven't read/reviewed it yet still have time to. ^_^

CYS Book Club: Book Two

4 days ago

I'd like to thank mizal for recommending my story-game. I only wish my current story-game (a work in progress) wasn't so challenging to write.