A Mars adventure

Player Rating3.60/8

"#585 overall, #57 for 2016"
based on 93 ratings since 12/04/2016
played 717 times (finished 101)

Story Difficulty2/8

"walk in the park"

Play Length3/8

"A nice jog down the driveway"

Maturity Level1/8

"appropriate for all ages"
Stories with this maturity level will not, by design, have any potentially objectionable content. An example of a type story with this rating would be a quiz on mathematics.

Welll, I made this for fun, and for one specific person. I'm quite new at this, so please pardon my mistakes. I hope you enjoy reading!

Player Comments

So as I was reading this story (I feel like crap, and can't concentrate enough to work on my own story, so why not indulge in some light reading?) I thought maybe I was reading something written a decade ago, before the author had the full advantage of reading Andy Weir's STEM-focused novel "The Martian," or seeing the Ridley Scott movie of the same name. Those two works went to great length to edutain the world about what a Mars mission might be like; the book in particular goes into a lot of technical detail.

But no, this storygame was published in 2016, a full year after the movie was released. The writer had the fill advantage of all that wonderful realism, and then pissed all over it.

Regrettably, this storygame adds implausibility upon implausibility. Whereas "The Martian" sought to inform and inspire, this story game is juvenile and insults the reader's intelligence.

So in terms of the basic writing competence, I started off with a 3, maybe a 4. But then as I read the story--and re-read it, to see if there was any other possible outcome--it quickly became clear that even a 3 was too generous.

Basically, the premise is that you and two other NASA astronauts are at the foot of Olympus Mons in 2035. It's sort of like the novel/movie, in that you're cracking rocks, performing a vaguely-described chemical analysis (like Mark Watney), putting the fragments into "a wheelbarrow of some sort," and daydreaming about cheating on your wife back on Earth by fooling around with the one and only female member of your mission.

Well all right. There are decisions that upon the first read seemed to have some bearing on what comes next. In my first time through the story someone found a Nazi space capsule hidden in a crater, and when we tried to enter it our oxygen tanks sprung spontaneous, unexplained leaks and we had to leave the planet in a hurry.

When I read it a second time, changing up the decisions I made, the results were identical. And the third time. And the fourth time. As it turns out, despite the four or so choices you are asked to make, there are only two endings in this story--and the only difference between them is whether you check out the capsule yourself or hang out while someone else does.

So basically, nothing the reader does affects the outcome.

And yes, I wrote "someone found a Nazi space capsule hidden in a crater" with a straight face, because that's exactly what happens in this story. Somebody actually wasted a few hours of his life imagining that some Nazi named Hans built a rocket, flew to Mars, planted a Nazi flag outside, and then sat inside the capsule wearing a suit while he died. Do we really need to pick this apart? If the Nazis had perfected rocket technology in the 1940s, do we really think that interplanetary exploration would have been their first priority?

But even better, somebody gets the brainy idea to shoot the capsule with a rifle. Yes, that's one of the options you get to choose from. Because, as it is explained in some detail, NASA equips every mission with a rifle. I bet you didn't know that, right?

So this idea SHOULD be dissected.

PONDERANCE #1: Why would NASA equip pressurized spacecraft--which are constructed with relatively thin, lightweight hulls--with high-velocity projectile weaponry? I'm reasonably certain that NASA has long since come to the opposite conclusion.

PONDERANCE #2: Why would an astronaut NEED a rifle in space? To supplement all that Tang with a freshly-killed coney of space rabbits? To make it easier for someone cramped in tight quarters for extended durations to go postal and kill his/her colleagues? To defend against home invasion? To shoot a Nazi space capsule?

PONDERANCE #3: How does a rifle even work in space? I'll let you think about this one. Bullets are propelled through space by a chemical reaction... between gunpowder and... a certain gaseous element that is not known to occur in abundance in space... called oxygen...

So this story deserves a score of 1, because the idiocy of the concept and the lack of branching undoes the minimal competence of the writing.

(But then I added a point back to my score because I knew that writing this review would be one of the highlights of my day.)
-- Bill_Ingersoll on 6/11/2019 7:21:07 PM with a score of 0
Was there a plot based reason the tanks started leaking that I missed, or was that just a convenient way to end the story without actually resolving anything?

Most of this reads like an attempt some kind of children's edutainment thing, not terrible or anything, but with lots of spouting of trivia and incredibly simplistic dialogue.

The idea of NASA sending astronauts on a mission they weren't trained or briefed for is about as silly as astronauts stupidly considering just not mentioning finding a strange crashed lander because they don't feel like having to investigate it, so, lots of questionable logic going on here.

That said, most of the writing is above average and I enjoyed the basic concept here and wish you'd done more with it.

I'm a little regretful this situation with the dialogue formatting meant I had to ding another point from what was otherwise a solid 3 star piece, but that's not how you write or format dialogue at all. (I'd recommend checking out other stories on the site, or maybe opening a book.)

I could tell Mars is a subject that interests you though, and I encourage you to keep writing and practicing. I'm interested to see what happens with a more complete story.
-- mizal on 12/4/2016 3:03:31 PM with a score of 0
i didn't understand anything that was going on and i'm just going to leave that there
-- bella on 4/28/2020 11:34:03 AM with a score of 0
I have one question. Is it possible to win? I really liked it and it was fun.
-- HL on 11/4/2018 8:56:39 AM with a score of 0
not sure what the point of this was... apart from finding a Nazi capsule on Mars. I suppose that was something.
-- JohnX on 9/19/2017 12:35:27 PM with a score of 0
I really enjoyed it and got into the mystery but the story ended suddenly, not allowing an explanation for why the ship was there or why the ship made oxygen tanks leak. I liked your writing style and syntax, though.
-- Orange on 12/30/2016 2:33:23 AM with a score of 0
Good.I like that you included NASA.
-- Stormfeather on 12/21/2016 5:49:39 PM with a score of 0
Damn, you had to end it like that huh? It's alright, I enjoyed this game very much, good read.
-- CowBoySkinnyLinny on 12/11/2016 11:14:14 AM with a score of 0
Interesting plot, but lots of spelling and grammar issues coupled with very simplistic dialogue bogs the story down. A good proofreading to clean some of that up and you've got the beginnings of a good story here.
-- BigRonn77 on 12/6/2016 8:05:55 AM with a score of 0
I really enjoyed that.
-- annaisawesome on 12/5/2016 1:01:06 PM with a score of 0
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