Sabbatical Report Presentation

a School-Based by Gower

Commended by mizal on 10/11/2019 12:35:37 PM

Player Rating6.47/8

"Too few ratings to be ranked"
based on 21 ratings since 10/21/2019
played 183 times (finished 25)

Story Difficulty1/8

"no possible way to lose"

Play Length6/8

"It'll be a while, better grab a Snickers®"

Maturity Level7/8

"anything goes"
Some material may be inappropriate for persons under age 18. If this were a movie, it would probably be R.

Tags

This is my required report to the full faculty in accordance with the rules noted in the Faculty Handbook (version 15.1, as of October 2017)

Player Comments

I was thinking of starting this review with either a snarky comment that plays into the metanarrative, or praise for the novel way the branching narrative slowly reveals more and more of the story as the player finds new endings; however, like with your previous stories, I expect at least 10 more writers to show up and find far deeper insights that I ever could. The prose which gushes personality, and the amorphous reality of the narrative had been talked about in Gower’s previous stories. So, I decided to take on the story from a structural approach, by trying to flowchart the story on a whiteboard (emphasis on try, there are probably a few errors).

https://imgur.com/7ikEgzB (pls I spent 3-4 hours on this)

(Squares are pages, lines are links, the blue lines mark when a bunch of branching in the faculty route gets “pinched”, the large black circles are endings, and the blue-green circles mark parts accessible only by Whitney)

And yes, my final exams are tomorrow. No, I haven’t begun reviewing. Also, minor SPOILERS ahead if that wasn’t already clear.

At first, I thought that the narrative played out like a sorting hat, where in the beginning you chose between 3 choices and get “sorted” into fairly linear narratives all separate from one another. In truth, I was correct to a certain degree. What I got wrong however, was that after being sorted the narratives would continue with more or less no branching. There is a LOT of branching, in the 3 (4?) different “routes” I’ve identified, all with their own possible endings (about 20 in total). There’s the administration route, the student route, the faculty route, and the Whitney route depending on who you decide you are in the beginning.

I’d like to go over them in detail, but alas, my notes on Chi-Square Tests beckons. Instead, I’d just like to comment on the overall design of the storygame. A recurring pattern is for a large number of choices to appear, but only to get pinched into one route a little later. While this does seem to take away some of the “agency” of the reader, it’s actually quite common. “Delayed branching”, as the COG-ites put it, is when instead of giving choices weight by having long routes diverge into their own narratives, the writer has them tie back together and the only lasting difference is that a variable as been changed. This variable then helps to determine the ending later. In this story, there’s 4 different variables: Fire, Kind, Love, Whitney. On some paths, the final ending and the decisions of the narrator is determined by the first 3, the others are hidden if you don’t have the correct “stats”.

The effect is that you often feel immersed in the story, as the narrator addresses “you” and like how he has his own clear identity, so do “you” which is something many storygames get wrong. While, you may not actually be Whitney the loving descriptions that the narrator helps you to shape an image of her in your mind. And when you reach an ending with one person, you go on to look for another ending. Each time, you get to see another side of Professor Gower’s personality, like his hatred of the school’s administration, or his compassion for his bright students.

But this personality can differ depending on your choices, so like Gower’s earlier games, reality doesn’t always seem to follow a set mold. But unlike a fever dream, there is sense in the madness. A cohesive picture can be formed of the plot, and its structure grasped. While, you control certain parts of the story not everything is at your whim. The most important plot elements stay constant all around.

I wish we could discuss this more, but I don’t have much time left. You see, I’m driving west. Still, I think this was an outstanding sabbatical report presentation. It moved me, and I think it set a flame ablaze in my heart.

8/8

P.S. There is a glitch with the “You finally just signed it muttering under your breath.” Link where you just loop back to the “You went in there and told Leonardo in gentle terms to keep it down.” page.
-- Jacoder23 on 10/13/2019 3:54:55 AM with a score of 2
Gower strikes gold with his hot-blooded irreverent humour and commentary on the whims and woes of academic life.
-- VainCorsair on 11/12/2019 9:37:04 AM with a score of 0
incredibly clever.
-- Ollie on 11/5/2019 8:12:53 PM with a score of 2
My esteemed colleague Gower,

I am not sure that you remember me—I am the first one you let out of the room after our last 3 day weekend. If not it is Shadowdrake27, professor of modern calculus 6 in the department of strictly theoretical mathematics. Since you are a stickler for the rules I shall quote the Faculty Handbook exactly: “it is our comment (sic) to accurate sabbatical reporting that allows our university to flourish.”
That being said, I wished to provide the following feedback for your report:

-The intentional errors (marked with “sic” as is proper) were hilarious! I couldn’t read the “who are you” page with out laughing out loud.

- very funny and whitty!!

- there were very few spelling errors, most were words mistyped as the wrong word. Some examples are listed below.
- Pg - you were accosted by VP...”screwing around on school time”- 1st para “could” should be “guess”.
- Pg - “you smacked him...”- 2nd to last para. “Curing” should be “cursing”.
- Pg- book club - there is an “(“ in the second paragraph with no “)”.
- Pg - backstage in dressing room “go” should be “so” in 3rd para.

- In the Meg branch if you pick the sipping tea branch it creates a confusing discontinuity—basically there is no first suicide attempt, and no reason for a second (the oral report its the an option on this path). This makes it so you just see something like “your second attempt was successful and you died”. That really confused me my first play-through, until I took the other branch to find out what happened.

- both the belle and Meg branch had an ending I could not figure out how to unlock (despite trying): “let them out” for Meg and “forget them and come bring me back” for Belle. This may be my fault, but I thought I tried every combination staring at the student choice...

Hopefully these comments help! Oh, and I ran your entire report though my machine, it spat out a 7. Oddly enough, it said something about “mostly-credit”. I don’t know what that is, but if the machine gave it to you then you must deserve it.
-- Shadowdrake27 on 10/31/2019 12:41:01 AM with a score of 0
this is very good story
-- seto16 on 10/25/2019 8:40:13 AM with a score of 1
Normally, when I write my reviews, I review the characters, the plot, the setting, and the background details. However, this structure fails me, so I will do something I don't like to do—I will wing it.

To begin this review, well, this Sabbatical was beautiful. It was amazing to read every individual path—and before I realized it, I have read through every single path, lost in this writing.

It was, by all means, interactive, and it is clear that effort was put into this work; it shows. I couldn't pinpoint any grammar or spelling errors, and even the word choice was flawless.

Even the emotion conveyed didn't stray from each path. All in all, this is a truly good work. Just about perfect, if such a thing exists.
-- castorgreatpoetguy on 10/13/2019 6:31:56 PM with a score of 0
Okay seriously, how does a Gower keep turning out quality storygames so quickly? Written from the same character’s point of view as Kelly Unicornstrider and Private Game for Natalie, Sabbatical Report Presentation starts off innocent and normal, and quickly descends into a darker and creepier tone. Gower writes the characterized version of himself so well, to the point that the line between truth and lore begins to blend. I really enjoyed reading yet another of Gower’s amazing works, and I’m very excited for whatever he puts out next.
-- C6H8O6 on 10/11/2019 12:44:24 PM with a score of 1
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