Player Comments on Saoirse

Well after becoming addicted to a certain brand of Irish whiskey (Proper Twelve if you're wondering), it’s only fitting that Saoirse should appear on the Storygames in Need list. Strap yerself in laddy, this is going to be a bumpy one.

Instantly, I am reminded of my high school English class (which is ironic for this story). Basic hooks to draw the readers into stories include action, outbursts, surprises, questions, quotes, and a few others. Saoirse starts off with a very interesting, thought-provoking quote. "We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars." Not being Irish or even remotely aware of the cultural history, it’s an interesting statement to say “only an Irishman would understand subjugation”. In context, it seems to be relating the Irish to the English. The English are starkly contrasted against the Irish in regards to “muck”, “gutters”, and “common”. Actually on second thought, the statement may be hyperbole to show emphasis. I guess either way, it paints a picture of the Irishman and is a glimpse into the historical struggle of the Irish.

I am a big fan of including optional history links. I think it’s a tremendous use of the CYOA format, especially with the site’s online formatting. After all, you can’t include optional pages in a real book. And let’s be honest, no one reads prologues in novels. Give me necessary background history organically, include optional in-depth lore (history in this case), and don’t burden me with any of it. Saoirse does this wonderfully.

The biggest flaws I’ve seen in Edutainments are in poor immersion and just flat out boring writing. Saoirse does not succumb to such things. From the opening page, I’m sold on the backstory for the main character I’m playing as and brought into a time period of conflict. The urgency and suddenness of being thrust into war, along with the conflicting viewpoints of the family put me into a “can’t set the book down” state. I had to find out what was going to happen next.

I have nothing but good things to say about Saoirse. The writing quality was excellent, engaging, and without errors (besides the first page). It keeps the educational aspect of the Edutainment, while not disregarding the entertainment part. This is one of the best stories in the category and I recommend for anyone looking to read an Edutainment.
-- ninjapitka on 6/7/2019 12:22:41 PM with a score of 0
A fantastic story. Both highly engaging, and informative.

The writing was engaging and the story striking right from the start. The opening page firmly establishes both the tensions plaguing the nation and the more personal conflicts concerning duty and freedom that each individual is dealing with. This excellent practice of exploring both personal and national ideals continues throughout the story. Along with this, the dialogue and narrative tone allows the reader to empathise with/warm to the family; they are presented as a typically strong and essentially loving family (hopefully the average reader will be able to identify with this) who together long for justice and peace.
I thought the newspaper was also a very nice touch, and good way to introduce some background information. Even these sections were not tedious or long-winded, but rather I was pleasantly surprised and impressed with their brevity and precision.

The story was genuinely educational, and I certainly learned a huge amount (of Irish history if nothing else) from reading it. This is an area of history that you will never hear spoken of at school here in England. This is not because there is embarassment over some of the actions of the British Empire (although there certainly is - notably in India), but because the serious ramifications of this conflict are still unfolding, and there still is a lot of tension. So seeing it all from an Irish perspective was truly enlightening, and gives rise to much philosophical thought. I wonder how many British people know that the things we despise the Nazis for doing to Jews during the second world war were no worse than what we ourselves had done/were doing to the Irish. It goes to show that nationality makes no contribution towards the potential for unspeakable wickedness that people have.

I also appreciated how well the horrors of war were brought to life in the "Great War" path. Even the somewhat random deaths helped create the impression that you as a soldier had almost no control over your own fate. In a world raining mortar shells and singing with lead rounds, only probability dictates your success in the face of the chattering monstrosities before you. The death by drowning in mud was also a good touch (or rather an accurate one; pretty horrible.)
The only problem with this section was that it seemed a little rushed (or rather it was quite short - which is completely understandable), and that the deaths of your comrades were rather meaningless (they felt impersonal), as you were given no introduction to the other members of your unit. I felt a little time getting to know and warm to them would have been effective. That said, I simultaneously believe that this somewhat detached viewing of so much death, carnage and destruction accurately portrays the indiscriminate, all-consuming nature of war, and the nameless anonymity of so many of it's hapless victims.

The overall structure of the story was absolutely spot-on. Not only was it of great length, but there were also many different paths, weaving their way through to converge at chapter-like intersections. This allowed for great variation and yet efficient use of space.

The personal element of the whole tale was something I loved. There is a beautiful sense of community, family, and fervent patriotism present throughout the whole story (such as when you meet up again with your family at intervals) - by the end I practically felt half Irish myself! That means something quite special was going on with the story-telling - but not in fairy-tale like manner. Even the potential conflicts with Joseph and his own ideals (you are allowed to side with or against him) drive home the gravity and desperate sadness of the situation. The writing was emotionally 'appealing' (in a powerful, not soppy sense.)

Many philosophical questions were raised throughout the work. Moral philosophy in particular, but also questions concerning duty, loyalty, fraternity, equality, liberty and so forth (some parallels to the French revolution then.) There were some incredible passages particularly at the end but also in other places that I think are brilliantly written. One such example that I just had to include: [Every man is] just doing what he thinks is right. At the end of it, that's all anybody ever does, be it the Hun aiming down his rifle, the IRA man crouching in the bushes, the Brit patrolling the streets, the Free State soldier attacking the Four Courts or the anti-Treaty fighter firing his revolver." I think this is an excellent example of how thought-provoking this story is. It pushes the idea that there is ultimately no "good" or "evil" faction - only moral or immoral men. I loved this.

I was overwhelmed by the sheer number of errors in the writing. Spelling mistakes, inconsistent tenses, wrong name use, even variable errors (paragraphs accidentally appearing when they shouldn't have for a particular path), almost every type of mistake imaginable was present, and in great quantities. Now this doesn't render it unreadable as the writer is clearly competent at speaking English. Basically it just hasn't been proofread or edited. I began cataloguing the errors, but soon stopped when I realised that there was at least one on almost every page. It's a shame because it really did interrupt the reading experience in some cases.
Along a similar vein, there were sections of the story that didn't really flow. There were sentences that read very awkwardly, which I stumbled/fumbled/bumbled my way through, but the basic impression I got was that parts of this had been writing at around four o'clock in the morning. Some expressions were sloppy with repeated word use in the same sentence. This slightly ruined some parts.
Some sentences were too long, e.g. the opening sentence in "Hundred Year Anniversary" page, I think it was. Readability is important, so while not technically a "problem", such sentences should be discouraged.

One final problem, is that the story got a little repetitive in areas. For example, as a pro-treaty irishman fighting against the IRA, you would be involved in conflict after conflict which got a bit monotonous by the attack at Bandon (which was thankfully the last one.) It would have been better to have had more "character" choices such as shoot/don't shoot Joseph (although they should not all be as dramatic as that - or it wouldn't seem so shocking) rather than just choosing between different battle tactics so often.

Overall highly recommended. 7/8 ignoring spelling mistakes.
-- llImperatorll on 1/19/2018 12:17:01 PM with a score of 0
This was a good one. I have just a few points that I'd like to make.

1. The first and last pages were excellent, but for different reasons. The first page was written extraordinarily well, and twas what motivated me to get through all of the backgrounds. (A point I'll speak about later) The last page Was perhaps the most touching part in the entire thing, or at least of what I read thus far. Everything in between was good, (great grammar, flow, etc.) but I don't think it was great. IT was enjoyable to read, but it wasn't the story's strong suit.

2. The characters were solid. I know a ton of them were real people and there wasn't really much you could do with that, but still, I only really ended up caring about what happened to my family. (And somewhat Michael Collins, but that's aside the point.) Thus, I followed Joseph with whatever decision he made, because I didn't want to end up killing him later on. Put simply, my character's family is what helped me immerse myself, and while I haven't read the Great War path, I doubt if I'll have anywhere near the same emotional attachment as when I followed Joseph wherever he went.

3. Despite all of this, there is one thing that makes all of this work. Quantity. The sheer amount of words really makes this story, and in nearly every aspect too. The story isn't about you playing as a character and trying to survive, rather, it's about experiencing the lives of the Irish in this trying time. The simple amount of different perspectives to be played really helped make the story what it is. The sheer length and amount of events to experience made the ending just that much sweeter. The longer time spent playing, the more sweet the ending gets.

4. The beginning of the story is where I imagine people might have the most trouble. I don't know about everyone else, but whenever there's a background link, I feel an obligation to read it. Because of this, the first page, and all of the links therein, is a daunting task. Obviously you needed to provide history, so that we'd know what was even going, but I guess that is simply the difficult part of making a story like this work. which kinda brings me to my next point...

5. This point is pretty nitpicky, but I found myself forgetting a lot of the background information, so I'd end up going back to read through it whenever it pertained to the plot. A journal like item might fix this, but it is a small detail. Just something to think about.

All in all, I really liked this. This is a near perfect story game in my eyes, for nearly everything was done right in the game. That being said, the nature of the story game is simply one that is a little less appreciated among the general populous I love history, therefore I liked it. Those who don't like history are inevitably going to like it less.

Either way, congratulations on a job well done. This is a great story made even better knowing that it was contest entry with time constraints.
-- EbonVasilis on 1/10/2018 1:25:31 AM with a score of 0
Was a damn good read. Great story, as well as a good lesson about the Irish Fight for Independence. The only issue I had was the occasional grammar error. Other than that, it's worth a read whether you're into Irish history or not.
-- JankenSpank on 8/9/2019 12:26:50 PM with a score of 0
A period piece that will take you on an emotional ride and show you a time and place where someone just looking out for their family would fight against their nations government. You'll get a choice of which armies to fight for and try to get by making the best of a bad situation. Give this story a try and fight for Saoirse.
-- DerPrussen on 6/2/2019 8:36:58 PM with a score of 0
I really loved this story. It kept me engaged the entire time I read it, and I also learned a lot about Irish independence. Would recommend to anyone.
-- Zealot on 5/23/2019 2:04:09 PM with a score of 0
The factions were a bit confusing, as where the amount of character, and there were lots of spelling mistake. Other than that fan-fucking-tastic game 6/8
-- Lurkinator on 5/22/2019 4:28:05 PM with a score of 0
This was really, really good. I learned a ton from this, and I'm probably going to come back and play all the different ways through. I would say this is one of the best storygames on the site

But sometimes there would only be 2 or 3 words starting a sentence, and it would go to the next paragraph, and I would be left wondering what would have been said. I hope you wrote everything you meant to write!
-- mammothe on 7/30/2018 4:15:01 PM with a score of 0
what can I say? I loved everything about it. it was passionate
beautiful and had a great ending I don't even have words.
-- delta on 5/1/2018 8:22:00 PM with a score of 0
I learnt more about the war here then in History class. :)

Bloody brilliant.
-- Jimmy Carr on 4/26/2018 6:49:44 AM with a score of 0
So fucking good. Well done my friend!
-- Nazhfa on 3/9/2018 10:57:46 AM with a score of 0
7/8. I think there were some grammar mistakes... but great overall!
Here's a minor mistake I found:
"That's the last things you hear, as the world grows dark."
-- MR_TELLTALE on 2/9/2018 8:24:56 PM with a score of 0
Fantastically well-written and presumably researched, educational, informative, and personal. A few errors--either grammatical or some scripting problem, which occasionally broke immersion, but it was easy to settle back in again. Memorable characters, and everything one could want from an Edutainment game. Well done.
-- MagmaArmor0 on 2/1/2018 8:23:24 PM with a score of 0
It was okay but I thought this was going to be about the potato famine. You should write about that by the way. (But don't make it so long!)

How do you say the title?
-- CastIron on 1/22/2018 9:10:52 AM with a score of 0
Certainly a damn good story. It was well written, and I enjoyed the characters and the plot thoroughly. One of the things I like about it is that it tells of all the intricacies and gray areas of war and conflict. Especially one fought between countrymen, and it is done in a way that really makes you think about the consequences of your actions and how they would affect other people.

All I can really say to sum it up is good fucking job dude.
-- corgi213 on 1/19/2018 11:26:25 PM with a score of 0
This is an amazing story! Kudos to you sir!
-- Anon on 1/13/2018 5:40:53 PM with a score of 0
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