Bestist Frend Jane
Commended by mizal on 10/1/2018 6:38:56 AM
"Too few ratings to be ranked"
played 987 times (finished 47)
"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
It's easy to see how this won the EPIC contest. There is not heavy branching in the first part of the story, but that is appropriate, because it needs to be established what starts the journey. So just have a little patience with that in the beginning, and you will be rewarded.
The first part of the story ended on a horribly sad note without being narmy. I genuinely felt terrible after reading it and wanted to cry. I didn't, but I wanted to, and that's saying something.
The second part was amazing. The way the kid's journey was described showed off both the beauty of the Southwest and the intense misery of his experience. It was awesome. I reached all the endings, and I have to say that some of the death endings were my favorite. They were written just as well as the rest of the story and often gave me hope before crushing my dreams in the most sad and awesome way possible. The good endings were nice too, but it was the deaths that really did it for me.
Bestist Friend Jane is a unique story on this site, and despite it's lack of armies, monsters, prophesies, or warriors, it is a true EPIC.
on 3/5/2019 3:01:48 PM with a score of 0
It was a bit like two separate books. The first was a linear story where the choices weren’t too meaningful. It was a very good story though, and I can see why that was necessary (to set up the relationship with Jane), but perhaps I would have thrown in some longer side branches at the beginning (my only real critique).
The second “book”, the journey, was also great. Lots of meaningful choices, branching paths with fleshed out endings, each a good length. I’m sure you could write a whole game in this style and it would be amazing.
I loved the language and the flow of the pages. Great use of metaphors, the dialogue felt natural, the action was well spaced out. The characters were unique and vibrant.
You have a knack for creating emotional attachments (i.e. to the dog, to the hobo) in just a page or two. It’s a remarkable talent. None of your characters feel like “NPCs” even when their cameos were brief; they each seem unique and somehow also unpredictable (especially at the moment of first contact). Amazing job.
The story itself was beautiful. There were many moments that recalled the sad, the lonely, but also the adventurous parts of childhood. The entire works makes you see how lonely and awful a child’s life can be. I usually like more “upbeat” stories; but somehow, I didn’t mind it here. Jane’s spark and then her memory made it beautiful.
Jane herself was spunky and spontaneous and sweet. I am glad that you befriended her and also that you shared her with us. You have honored her memory. Well done.
on 12/11/2018 6:40:44 PM with a score of 0
I played this several times. It is definitely more story than game. I enjoyed it so much I gave it an 8.
-- Farevel on 11/26/2018 10:27:02 AM with a score of 0
That was beautiful!
Not much to say in the way of criticism except that the few and far between choices made it feel more like I was reading a short story rather than playing a game (all be it a very good short story). Also, the dialogue between the children, and the way they would speak so intensely about serious subjects made it feel like they were a lot older than seven. That aside, the game was really amazing. The writing was pretty brilliant (a few minor errors, but nothing to distract from the story), the relationship between the two children was heart-warming, there were some really interesting and well thought out characters, and I think you have a great talent for getting the reader inside the main character's head.
Also, and it may be a strange point to make, but from reading the prologue and epilogue, I think that you have a real talent for writing in first person perspective. The rest of the game was fantastic, but I think that the first person POV in the epilogue made me empathize with the protagonist on a whole other level. Would be really cool if, maybe at some point in the future, you decided to write a game entirely in first person. (If you felt like it, of course.) ^_^
on 11/18/2018 6:08:07 PM with a score of 0
I don't really do this and Im not sure what to say but man this was one of the best story's I have ever read. Not because it had a winding turning and changing story but because it was a genuinely good story. Not gonna lie it did make me tear up a bit. thank you for sharing your story with me, I wont be forgetting it any time soon
-- Patrick Williams on 11/18/2018 3:38:15 AM with a score of 0
I tried again a few times until I got to the true ending.
This is a really special story and now I'm crying at work.
on 11/13/2018 2:29:32 PM with a score of 0
This was truly a heart wrenching and beautifully written story. I really want to give it another go and try for any possible combination of choices that would result in being able to avert the tragedy but I don't know that I can suffer through that reveal again. Super brutal - written in a way that makes me feel as though something like this has touched either the author or someone they knew and that breaks my heart. If not, then hey just super well written - A+
on 11/13/2018 1:01:03 PM with a score of 0
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