Bestist Frend Jane
Commended by mizal on 10/1/2018 6:38:56 AM
"Too few ratings to be ranked"
played 66 times (finished 5)
"march in the swamp"
"It keeps going and going"
"aren't you a little too old to be trick or treating"
Some material may be inappropriate for persons under age 13. If this were a movie, it would probably be PG-13.
Based Off A True Story
After his best and only friend's brutal death, a seven-year-old boy sets out across the country hell-bent on fulfilling her dream. Along the way, he must overcome his deficiencies—both real and imagined—to assuage his own pain and guilt.
Winner of the 2018 EPIC Contest!
Thanks to everyone for pushing me throughout the contest so I could actually finish something for a change—especially the other contestants who were both helpful and competitive. And thanks to BradinDvorak for help with CSS.
The first storygame that has brought me to tears, and also the first I've read that for its writing and overall concept seems more at home on a shelf rather than on a site.
I've tried various endings, including the epilogue, so I hope to be able to comment with some perspective.
I'll be honest, when I read the first pages I wasn't very convinced; it was too linear, there were typos (maybe caused by the pace of the contest) and the short yet sudden ellipses in time didn't draw me in.
As I kept reading, however, the setting, the language and the characters' traits became more fascinating, and by the time Billy began travelling I was completely immersed in the story. From then on the story began to branch more, and every turn brought unique characters and storylines that fit seamlessly into the vast mithology of the American road journey.
The pace quickened as the story went on, and the 60k words required by the contest flew by without me even noticing. Before I knew it I was reading the epilogue, kleenex at hand, and (maybe because it was in 1st person) that last page felt so real that I had the funny sensation of actually watching a documentary.
And that's the thing about this CYOA; as others have pointed out it feels original and vivid, real. And yes, maybe a small part of that is because it's based off a true story, but all the rest is thanks to you, to how you managed to describe all those events, landscapes and emotions.
I gave it a 7/8 just so you know that you sure as hell have not arrived, because there's still loads of other stories you have to tell us, IAP.
on 9/25/2018 6:25:59 PM with a score of 0
I’m going to start out this review with a confession.
I have a lot of feelings for this story.
The protagonist is so relatable, and he’s flawed to the point where it’s completely realistic. It’s usually hard to write characters so young and be able to understand them as if you were that age, so this story is extremely impressive. The beginning of the story was a bit rough, I’ll admit, but as the story continued, it really got better. The pacing was very smooth, and you got to understand the environment as if it were the back of your hand. The characters had all their separate and respective quirks, and that’s what gets me in a story. Usually characters may share the same traits and things like that, but most of the characters were unique. The emotional bonds that were built during the span of the story were strong to the point where I felt like I knew them personally. They were so real, they could be real people. I’m not going to spoil anything in this review (which will be tough to do), but here’s my ten cents.
This story really took me back to my (slightly) younger days when I would visit my grandmother in the more rural part of Houston. The vibe really stuck with me throughout this piece, and the struggles that our protagonist goes through were very real. And it was interesting that you understood how the child mind works to the point of expertise. Just writing this review is making me tear up a little.
I’m going to be thinking about this for a very long time. Your writing skill is absolutely impeccable. All the settings you wrote were absolutely real and physical in my head, as if I could feel the sandals under my feet and feel the wind on my face. Goodness, writing to this amount of skill should be some sort of superpower. I’ve never read a CYOA quite like this. Sure, others can be descriptive, and heartbreaking, and full of warmth, but I’m not sure how to describe this one. I’m truly at a loss for words. If you can describe a story as being ethereal, then this would be it. Goodness. I think I’m going to need some tissues to finish this.
For the readers; you will not be disappointed. IAP has created a masterful and beautiful story here for you to read. I implore you to give it a try. If you’re looking for a good story, this is it. You’ve struck gold.
My only complaint is the slightly linear style of writing, which kind of fits well with this one since it seems to be more of a book and less of a ‘game’, if you will. I just sincerely adored this story from start to finish. I applaud you greatly. Every page I read I was reminded of my childhood, and I’m still continuing to make memories that even now remind me of this story. I hope to grow up alongside our brave, compassionate protagonist, and maybe someday fulfill his goal. I just feel such a deep connection with him, he might as well be me in another body. The reader can really put themselves into this story, and that’s what readers really want in a CYOA. Being able to put your own views and morals into an impressionable character and mold them like clay is an interesting part of stories like these.
Congrats, IAP, you’ve created a monster of me. I want more, but I also know with some sense of finality that the story has ended and will not continue. This story is nothing short of perfection.
on 9/23/2018 12:04:46 PM with a score of 0
I really loved this story!
Right from the start you perfectly captured the thought process and voice of a child who has been forced to grow up way to soon. The story really drew me in right from the start and I was glued to it the entire time.
There were a few minor typos here and there, but the quality is all there. At times the story did feel linear, but a few play throughs shows there are quite a few different paths and endings. And, honestly, the story itself more than made up for the parts that were linear. The fact that it is based on a true story only made it that more touching to read.
I got Ending 1 with the epilogue on my first play through, but went back and tried for a few other endings. All of them are worth going back and finding. This story is heart wrenching in all the right ways and the ending with the epilogue really shows the long term effects that these kinds of situations can have on a young child. Some of the other endings were hauntingly bitter and others were sweet yet sad. But, throughout the story there was always this sense of hope in the protagonist.
Another thing I loved about this story, even if it is one of the sadder parts of it, is that it shows the reality of children who are in abusive homes. Not all of them get a happy ending. Some of them get tragic endings and others just survive until they can reach adulthood. This story perfectly captured that in a beautiful, haunting way.
Altogether I really enjoyed this story. It felt a little linear here and there, but again the story itself made up for that in my personal opinion and a few play throughs proved that it wasn't linear at all. Other than the few typos here and there I don't have any other criticism. I loved every minute of this story and it did bring tears to my eyes, which I can honestly say other game on this site has ever done.
Altogether I give it a 7/8.
on 9/22/2018 7:17:32 PM with a score of 0
Fantastic- I couldn't stop the feels. Loved it!
on 10/2/2018 10:53:38 PM with a score of 0
You should be extremely proud of what you've written here. I'm usually not the type to read stories like this, but I'm happy that I did. You did an amazing job of creating characters that I cared about, and a plot that I wanted to follow with baited breath. While there was slight grammar issues and things of that nature, I'm not the type to let something like that take away from the story itself. I hope to read more stories from you in the future
on 9/28/2018 12:25:10 AM with a score of 0
This would have been a near perfect type of entry for the last, sadness themed, contest.
As far as being Epic is concerned... I suppose it was a grand journey, but it always felt very small in scope. That's not bad on its own, it just didn't quite mesh well with the theme.
Still enjoyed it though.
on 9/27/2018 7:21:02 PM with a score of 0
The first thing I noticed was the font or whatever. The paragraphs seemed like massive blocks of text all crammed together, which made reading it a bit unpalatable if not downright frustrating. I've no idea what caused this, but it was a painful distraction.
The writing style itself was delightful. It was imaginative, evocative, descriptive and several other words all ending in "ive", but it was really easy and fun to read. One small flaw that came out of it, however, was that it was so descriptive and evocative that it often took several paragraphs to ascertain the situation. For instance, on the very first page, I didn't get that I was waiting at a bus stop until the end of the fourth. At first I assumed I was in a classroom or something with the inspirational posters or whatever, then no idea until I found out it was a terminal, and even then, it wasn't until the next paragraph I realized specifically it was a bus stop. In addition, sometimes there was an overuse of this descriptive language, to the point where the story's pace seemed slower than it should've.
One of the things I absolutely loved was how frightfully accurate you were in portraying the mind of a child. Children in these kinds of things can often come across as just really stupid, or just adults caring about things children would, but this honestly felt like an actual intelligent child. Lines regarding radios talking about things only old people talked about, while still having a character with an accurate grasp of the situation actually pertaining to him perfectly encapsulated the world of a child.
I also quite enjoyed how the main character's parent was portrayed. Certainly an abusive parent by any standard, but she's not portrayed as insanely evil, but instead just a fucked up parent who doesn't do what she should, but she does have good, caring points. It felt that way with most characters, really. People could be good or bad without having to be extreme examples, and it was a really realistic way to write characters. I quite liked the hobo character. He had kind of a romantic, on the move lifestyle that seemed quite fun backed with the realistic side hitting it where, yeah, he's also starving and a thief. A fun character who made the travelling portion all the more entertaining. It all felt so natural and easy. Even lines about things like picking out the banana with the least brown spots just made it feel so natural to me, even though it's something everyone does.
One slight issue was quite simply the lack of available choices in the first half or so. I don't think there was much branching at all until long after being returned home, which was a flaw. I understand the nature of the story means that branching this early isn't easy since you need to return it to the central point, but you could've absolutely had minor branches, such as different things to have done with Jane that end up at the same spot, or variations wherever you could, just to fluff it up a little. Not a major issue, but an issue nonetheless. However, it was pretty easily gotten rid of soon after when you headed off on your journey, so it didn't bother me.
Of the endings, I found the death endings were pretty enjoyable, and probably one of the best examples of a good death ending. Dying of thirst was very sweet, while being murdered was both horrible but also actually thought out rather than a cheap "You did the wrong thing and died". Like, it was a legitimate, if depressing, ending for the story. The Canyon Ending was pretty damn sweet, and it felt really satisfying and well deserved. The Spanish Mother ending was also cool, but it felt pretty rushed, all things considered. Like, it went from "Meeting her" to "Happy Ending" in a really short time in a story that almost always took the time necessary for every bit. The Rancher ending did it much better, but even then, I felt like it could've used a little bit more.
Overall, the story was phenomenal, and one of the best I've read on the site. We don't have many modern adventure stories I'm a fan of, but this one was spectacular, and to be honest, the entire genre on the site should be testing themselves against it. Realistic, descriptive, imaginative, enjoyable, just an absolutely fantastic game that fills a niche on the site we have little else to fill. Excellent work, IAP, glad to get a real storygame from you.
on 9/27/2018 12:11:07 PM with a score of 0
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