I Went to the Graveyard

a Everything Else by bilbo

Commended by mizal on 1/7/2020 10:58:14 AM

Player Rating5.64/8

"Too few ratings to be ranked"
based on 17 ratings since 01/04/2020
played 188 times (finished 22)

Story Difficulty2/8

"walk in the park"

Play Length3/8

"A nice jog down the driveway"

Maturity Level4/8

"need to be accompanied by an adult"
Contains content that may not be suitable for persons under age 13. If this were a movie, it would probably be PG.

Tags

It was dark, not a candle lit on the path through the graveyard. Your shitty friends dared you to come here.

You pass the graves two... three rows up. You can see the mausolem at the top of the hill and shudder. The grave you seek is beside a weeping willow. You try not to think what could lurk behind the shielding branches.

Thomas Albright. 

You look around one last time, then sink down and position yourself in the cold earth. Grass doesn't grow here, or maybe it is just well tended. When you feel your head positioned at the base of the pink marble headstone you close your eyes.

"Can you tell me a story?" you ask, hating the way your voice sounds in the too open night air.

You listen intently. Nothing is going to happen. All you need to do is wait ten seconds then you can walk down the hill and-

"I went to the graveyard"

Player Comments

Now THIS is certainly something.
It's not really a game but more of an curiosity. With two clicks you decide what's going to happen, even though you're not completely clear on what those clicks mean. It's clever. But only because you made the outcome work so well.
A knife carries a different feeling than flowers, hiding in the shadows with your weapon ready to attack is different than waiting happily in the open for a friend. I'm kinda into it. It makes you want to see all the possibilities.
This game is like a box of chocolates: You never know know when you're actually dead-- Wait, that's not it....
-- puddlebunni on 1/19/2020 1:57:02 PM with a score of 2
Hey, guess what? I just found a secret ending!

Hint: there is something going on with the page titles.
-- mizal on 1/7/2020 8:22:22 PM with a score of 7
Interesting set up in the beginning. You choose your character and the story you get by what item they're carrying as they enter the graveyard. A knife signifies a very different intent than some flowers after all... (Note for those who hate items: there are no actual items, they're just choices to click.)

First think I read was the 'She was standing' choice of the Flowers section. It did not mark the immediate change into horror territory that I expected.

...but things DID turn creepy fast. And this was the point I realized I'd basically be reading a collection of short stories, although this one in particular was so good even just as a standalone thing that I didn't mind.

I'm curious though, what's the deal with the title of the 'lying down' choice? Whose POV is that? Some of the titles seemed to hint that either something more was going on as a framing device, or maybe just that you planned it that way but didn't have time. But that one is the most jarring because it's so at odds with the actual story.

Casket:

Another nice twist on expectations.

The writing is SO GOOD, I was stopping and rereading some of the sentences a few times just to enjoy them.

>>>I had held my lover's hand what had only seemed a few moments earlier. Hers were warm, mine cold. The world had
glimmered though I knew it was, in actuality, dim and fading. It was extinguishing before me and I thought it
would have been the silent smothering of a flame, but instead it was paper curling brightly, consuming itself in its thirst to blaze.<<<

Didn't care for the path that rewarded suicide though.


Knife:

The first two paragraphs. Even reading this in January they makes me shudder. I know that kind of humidity all too well and it's lurking just a few months away. Both stories had some similarities, but then again I guess when you're packing a knife to a graveyard with an intent to use it there's only so many ways that can go. I enjoyed the 'hide' one the best I think, there are some glimpses of humor there that gave it an edge over the other one.


Bell:

Silver must've been the point where you were feeling the time crunch as I started finding more typos here. It was nicely spooky though, going back to you old strengths with writing about spirits and fae and the like. Since that was one of the few protagonists without some dark twist I was really rooting for them to survive.


>The golden light fell through the silken curtain of willow leaves to dapple the path beneath my feet.

Love it. Like, it's just a single sentence, but that's just phenomenal imagery and it's got a kind of poetic rhythm to it. There's lines like this all over the place.

Gold did so much to make the couple likeable in such a short space. Just the little details (like how Amy opens packages) are enough to give more character and believability. And then you just leave us hanging on such an ominous note... This is the last story I read and it's the one I felt the most strongly could be spun off into a storygame of its own.

I'll just DM you the typos I found rather than cluttering up the actual review.

It really is an incredible shame this one was posted just a liiiittle to late to qualify for the contest. The branching itself might be a little lacking for a CYOA, but the actual quality of the writing overrides that. I really hope you have more stories planned, because you are unnaturally good at this stuff. And the commendations are well deserved; if you'd posted any of these pieces individually on the forum they'd have all gotten A++ gold star your admins love you stamp immediately.
-- mizal on 1/7/2020 10:23:50 AM with a score of 6
Others have been more eloquent than me already. This review is just to tell you that you have a way with words to use them in a poetic style without fall in the purple verbose. I maybe miss an only one coherent story but yours is a really well done short gothic story.

HOW COULD YOU MISS THE DEADLINE YOU WROTE A WINNING STORY SILLY GOOSE!!
-- poison_mara on 1/7/2020 10:05:43 AM with a score of 0
This was very different than what I expected. The whole game has a very unique branching style I wish I would see more. This idea was brilliant, and since you are a good writer overall the execution is great as well. Before reading this review you should play the game. That means you, you bitch who reads the reviews before playing the game and gets spoiled on them. TLDR this game is worth playing. Now go play it.

Starting with the idea, this game takes place in a graveyard. Depending on what you take to the graveyard, and what you do with it, you are one of many characters. I like the setting overall, because graveyards are just interesting. I can’t get too much into the idea without describing what the main draw, at least for me, is, and that is…

The branching! I love the branching in this game. Like I said earlier on the first page you pick what you take to the graveyard. You can take a knife, casket, flowers, or a bell. Once you pick your item, you have two options on what to do with it. Then the game is over. Each path is only 3 pages, and what this allows is for the author to create 8 paths, witch are very fleshed out for being 3 pages. All of them felt super complete, and the fact that that is every possible in a game with 9.2k words and 13 pages is astonidening. This game feels like 8 short stories connected only by their setting. While some may not like that, I do.

In conclusion, this game is great. The only thing that I’m unsure about is what to rate it. As much as I want to give it a 7, I don’t feel I can. With this length, it is almost impossible to write something worthy of a 7. There just isn’t enough room to work with to get to the necessary level. Though I will say this game is great, and I hope you continue writing.
-- MicroPen on 1/5/2020 6:13:34 PM with a score of 0
All right, Bilbo. That ending I didn't get before. Damn.
-- Gower on 1/4/2020 2:40:22 PM with a score of 7
This is a delightful collection of mini-stories that somehow all revolve around a graveyard tryst, and manage to stay very distinct from one another.

SPOILERS:

I can't say I was invested in every story, but definitely the majority of them kept my attention. In particular, the one where you "bring" a casket and emerge as a ghost, I found pretty atmospheric and moving. I was getting into the character's head quite well, putting myself in their shoes when:

"That is you're mother. You're death must have been a great shock to her."

Ack! Come on, your killing me here. Let's be clear though, this is the only time that any errors were this disruptive. The other mini-stories suffer from a few errors too, but they aren't nearly as noticeable.

Back to some more positives, I enjoyed the little interjections of humor that bilbo injected into their story, things you wouldn't necessarily notice if you were just skimming. Lines like: "She smiled and sat against me, crushing my leg in the most pleasant way possible." kept me smiling and intently reading this storygame to completion.

At 9k words, it was short and sweet and didn't necessarily need to be longer. I'd recommend checking it out.
-- TheChef on 1/4/2020 11:59:16 AM with a score of 0
I thought this was an entertaining and sometimes chilling read, almost with the tone of an old and sinister ballad or maybe a well-written penny dreadful.

The story works best, really, with all of the four main paths being read one after the other, as perspectives on a whole, as variations of sadness and horror swirling around each other. They don't precisely tell a single coherent story: it's more like a theme and variations, all terrible (in the good sense of the word) and all highly atmospheric.

The narrator's tone of address to ther often has an undertaker-like flatness of emotion: dry, hands folded, somber. I think it adds a lot to the overall effect. But this effect doesn't come at the expense of description, particularly in the "casket" path which is visceral and the most startling in its presentation.

It's like four different whiffs of emotion, all powerful, but held at a slight distance by the narrative voice and the story telling conceit. I really enjoyed this, especially its artful construction.
-- Gower on 1/4/2020 8:37:30 AM with a score of 2
I found this to be a quick, albeit enjoyable read overall. I think the concept is especially interesting, detailing all the different intentions and realities behind visiting a graveyard. The descriptions weren't too dense- which may be seen as a weakness in the sense that there is much less context and detail, but it also contributes to its status as a more casual game with a greater ease of replayability.

(SPOILERS AHEAD)

Conceptually, I think the story could be improved upon. After my initial completion of the game (taking flowers and winning over the girl you love) I was genuinely surprised by the hidden malicious intent of the narrator, and I wanted to know more about what he did to Arthur, and why. Considering this was my first play-through, I thought those would be answered if I changed some of my choices, but instead was greeted with new characters and new storylines altogether. This doesn't necessarily have to be a weakness, and I like the overall compilation of many perspectives and stories, but it left something to be desired in terms of the depth and richness of these characters. I would have remained more invested in the game if by replaying, you continue to peel back new layers of this story and the darker inner-workings of these characters, eventually completing your journey with the full picture. The multiple stories can still be established, but I feel that they need a greater context to truly be appreciated. As they are now, they seem a little too shallow and uninspired despite their potential.

As for the grammar, there were very few mistakes, though at times the writing seems a little too juvenile. When I was taking note of this, though, (especially in the story where the narrator kills the couple) I thought it could be an interesting choice for the narrator's voice and diction to vary depending on their character. (e.g. Having your younger, more bitter character curse more often and show their immaturity, which you did in the previously mentioned storyline.) However, throughout the many timelines, and after completing every storyline, I felt a bit disappointed by the lack of vocal variation.

Overall, I still found this storygame entertaining and worthwhile. It is a concept with a lot more potential than expressed here, but I hope to see more from the author in the future!

-- RamsayReed on 1/4/2020 1:33:44 AM with a score of 7
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