Player Comments on The Cottage and the '73 Rallye

First I want to say I'm impressed. I've always found that horror is a very hard catagory to write for. In fact of the ones on the site, I'd say the only one harder is romance. The readers know that they are going into this to be scared, and as a result you have to try a lot harder to creep them out. You can't even use cheap tricks like jumpscares or creepy images to scare the reader. You have to paint the atomosphere in the readers mind and scare them that way.

I think this story convey's horror really well. The atmosphere is spot on, and I felt on edge while reading it. It's all about suspense and tension, and this story builds that really well. This story impressed me because I'm used to feeling on the edge of my seat often, and this story acomplished that. I didn't go in expecting anything spectacular, but I was wrong. This story is great.

The writing was really great too, and is a major asset in favor of the story. I was imerssed from the onset. I like your style of writing, and there were a few lines that made me cringe, it is still really good.

The characters feel kind of flat. They were sort of intresting, but I wouldn't say I cared too much about the parents at all. Emma I did though, and that's good.

The branching was pretty good also. There were a decent number of endings, and they were all pretty good, I didn't notice until I read mizal's comment that Emma is never confirmed dead in any of them, so that was a nice touch.

In conclusion this story is great. It has great writing, and I hope you write more stories, since you have a skill for imerssing the reading into the story really well. All in all this is a really high 6, and it might even be a seven if improved upon or if I reread it in the future.

-- MicroPen on 7/26/2020 12:23:45 AM with a score of 0
Good horror is rare on the site. Half of what's in that category doesn't even really qualify beyond containing classic horror trappings (vampires, zombies etc), and a lot of it suffers from sloppy or amateurish writing. So to begin with I'm really pleased with this one just for being a strong addition to a category that's otherwise somewhat lacking here.

As far as the writing goes it really is quite good. The first couple of pages drew me and I enjoyed all the attention to detail woven into the way the POV character sees their surroundings. Raindrops on the car window and the sort of blandly pleasant normality of it all as they travel further and further down this lonely road. There's a lot of good imagery and sense of style all throughout this, and once the horror elements took over they were sufficiently disturbing.

Although near the beginning there was a hiccup with the pacing I believe, with the grandpa just immediately warning the protag off from the shed with warnings about the supernatural. It felt like a step was skipped there--and in hindsight the details of that whispered conversation over the dinner table didn't even make a lot of sense when you look at what was actually going on. Made me wonder if the plot had been fully developed in the author's mind that early in the story. Either way, another small scene or two of buildup would've gone a long way.

Other cons would be the almost non existent branching. This is a big one unfortunately when you're writing a story in this format. The majority of the 'choices' just gave an extra scene before moving you along to the same page the other choice was leading to anyway. There was only one proper branch in the entire story that didn't lead immediately to an ending. While I realize the contest deadline was a factor, and this doesn't do anything to take away from the actual writing quality, the was the main place the story suffered.

Aside from that there was the handling of the family. They felt a bit generic, which isn't the end of the world, but it felt like the author also ran out of ideas for what to do with them when the action got to a certain point and just kind of shoved them offscreen. It felt like a missed opportunity for the father especially, since surely he might have had some inkling of weirdness with his mom or some kind of notably stronger reaction to all this even if he'd been oblivious or in denial.

But ultimately none of that detracted from the story itself, which had a likeable protagonist, an awesome badass old grandpa, cool as heck car and was genuinely creeping me out in places. Most noticeably when you were interrupted from watching the video. (And as for the question posed of whether VHS tapes existed in 1973....well my own grandpa had home video on 8mm film from years before that, that he later was able to have transferred over to VHS tapes for preservation...never did film an exorcism though. As far as I know.)

Horror is not a genre I often seek out, so I can't speak to whatever cliches might be here aside from what I've mentioned about the rest of the family seeming so generic. Not that I believe every story element has to be (or even can be) completely original, and to be fair the twisting of the innocent and familiar is a big part of what makes horror work in the first place.

In fact one of the elements that really made this work was how familiar the grandparents were to me. Everything from that long gravel road full of potholes to the board on the backwall covered in tools (did each of the tools have its own painted silhouette on the board so he always knew exactly where it went?) to the twin bed covered in quilts and all those tiny embroidered pillows in the room with the ancient was getting eerie. My brain kept substituting areas of my grandparents' house and the upstairs guest room my brother and I or my cousins and I had spent so many summer weekends at as a backdrop to the story's action.


I guess one more nitpick I have is that the demon and its abilities, while scary, did start to border on the Hollywood ridiculous a couple of times. I would have liked a more defined limit and set of rules to its power. Since it was supposed to have been dealt with by both the grandpa and Father Mark in the past, it couldn't have been a total unknown. (And it was a bit disappointing how Father Mark went down like such a bitch, and really did nothing effective the whole story. His section with his arrival and everything felt a little rushed.) There also was no trigger that I could identify that suddenly caused it to surface...while at the same time conversations such as the one with the gas station attendant would imply it had been running amok and wasn't tied to Susan or the table at all. (Why WAS touching the table a catalyst, by the way? Seems like it would've made more sense for the demon to hate that thing, and all this time the grandpa was hanging out in the shed and treating it like a haven, pretty much right on top of it... Adding to that, the protag being a generally decent person with no old trauma to latch onto seems like it would've made him a weaker or at least more resistant host...I'm still a little fuzzy on how all that worked.)

Little details like the fact Emma wasn't confirmed dead in any ending makes me wonder if more was planned to the mystery or epilogue here.

Anyway, I suppose I've rambled enough. I liked this story a whole lot, and doing a less literal take on the theme made it stand out. Just a shame there wasn't much branching. The POV switching that's been mentioned in other comments, well it's a little unusual, but never confusing at any point and it did establish the grandpa as more of a main character, so I'm just chalking it up to artistic license.

-- mizal on 7/10/2020 6:15:29 PM with a score of 0
Are you kidding me? I mean are you actually kidding me? Are you just completely and utterly fucking retarded? What the fuck is wrong with you? … Flounder! The Little Mermaid’s fish friend is Flounder! Rating this game 1/8 for your completely unacceptable lack of knowledge on Disney trivia. Hang your head in shame!

Other than that, the writing was great and the story was engaging. I usually find that horror elements in CYS style games are very difficult to pull off, but you did a great job. Didn’t really have much to do with the jungle theme, but can’t really fault the story on that. Could definitely have done with a few more branching options, but then I guess you have to pace yourself pretty carefully when there’s a deadline.

All in all, really good game… But I just can’t forgive the protagonist for not remembering who Flounder is. >.<
-- Avery_Moore on 7/6/2020 11:07:04 AM with a score of 0
I have differing thoughts about this story. Some elements of the storygame are great, while others fall a bit short. If anyone's skimming the comments before reading, just know that you won't regret reading this story.

So, let's start with that. The story. It's pretty stereotypical, really. It starts with a journey into an obviously insidious forest -- err, jungle. That's the hard part with horror, though. Simply tagging a story with the horror genre puts expectations in everyone's mind. I wonder if this storygame would have higher ratings if it were published as a modern adventure. Anyway, due to the genre, it's pretty clear a haunting or something bad is going to happen. It removes some of the suspense, since you're expecting it to happen, but that doesn't mean it doesn't catch you by surprise. Getting a b0ner after killing your parents certainly wasn't expected.

Let's move onto the characters. Like my first paragraph states, some are really good and some aren't. Same thing with the characters. The grandfather is the shining start with the Challenger Rallye as a close second, oddly enough. It's a car, and it has more character that most of the cast lol. The other characters, besides the grandfather, serve as NPC types, only serving to further the plot along without contributing much. They're background noise in the story overall. That's not to say they're bland. Each has a quirky trait and individual mannerisms, but they don't do much on their own.

Unlike the stereotypical story and characters, the writing itself is quite good. It rises far above the setting of the storygame. It's very Stephen King-ish, using "the sweet style" often to spruce up different sections, which would be left forgotten on their own. In fact, a lot of the text format is exactly what King does. Take this example from "It." The sentence in parenthesis is italicized.

"What if
(oh stop it Beverly he's your FATHER and FATHERS don't kill DAUGHTERS)
he lost control, then?

The author does that sort of thing in the story. It's not a mistake with formatting. I like it. It throws the reader off balance during horrific sections, like the way a movie would use tilted camera angles.

I finally settled on rating a 6/8, although I was this close (I'm holding my thumb and forefinger closely together) to rating it a 7. Ultimately, I decided on a 6 because the story itself is limiting and generic. The writing is the strongest part of the storygame, held in check by an uninteresting setting. As far as the horror genre goes, it's a quality piece. The writing itself is truly the shining star here, other than the grandfather and his bitchin' car, of course.
-- ninjapitka on 7/3/2020 5:30:19 PM with a score of 0
This is an exciting, scary, and suspenseful story with good writing. It made my stomach clench in some places which is great for a story game because I'm not the kind of person who really is affected by fiction or scary movies unless there is a loud sound. It wasn't two linear, and I thought the pacing added a lot. In addition, I liked the way you integrated the jungle concept. However, there were a few problems; some sentences seemed like they were broken or something and this didn't make sense. Also, sometimes it went from the thoughts of one person to another and this was confusing. Also, without giving to many spoilers, I felt like father mark and/or the grandfather should have known what happened to the grandmother because of what they said about this happening before. I also feel like since this had happened before, she would have done a similar seen as the seen with father Mark and the protagonist where she became a child and said the things she said. This would have allowed everyone involved especially the Grandfather to know what had happened to her and it would have given her the opportunity to feed off their anguish. The last problem is I would have liked to know what happened to the protagonist during that 10 years after the event. Something I think would be good is a prequel where we could play as the grandfather, handling her daemon in the past, learning about how he met father Mark, how he fights the daemon, maybe a part at the end where we get to see what made the Grandmother remember what happened to her, ETC. I would also like to see a sequel where maybe the protagonist gets clean and sober and learns to fight other daemons so other people don't have to go through what he went through; you could combine these two challenges into a really great story game.
-- Future1 on 7/1/2020 2:06:03 PM with a score of 0
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