The Hanging of Jordan Nickler

Player Rating4.08/8

"Too few ratings to be ranked"
based on 22 ratings since 08/18/2019
played 161 times (finished 21)

Story Difficulty6/8

"wandering through the desert"

Play Length3/8

"A nice jog down the driveway"

Maturity Level6/8

"I'll need to see some identification"
Some material may be inappropriate for persons under age 16. If this were a movie, it would probably between PG-13 and R.
A hanging, a missing child, and a rotten smell lingers over a certain town.

A short storygame that takes place roughly in 19th century North America. 3 different endings.

Made for mizal's Lone Hero Contest.

PS: Apparently, the Wild West had gun control. Nice.

Player Comments

I so wanted to like this story, because in the first few pages I noticed an above-average ability to set a scene and introduce some characters. There were flaws, yes, but the opening scenes were better than I expected. From my read-through, the scene with the pharmacist was the stand-out passage.

But even in the best of times I was not able to follow the story. I could not grasp the relationship between the characters, or what some people were doing. Why didn't I want to go toward my brother? Why was he on the gallows throwing a baseball at the hangman?

In the second and third acts, it became clear that the author became more interested in the coding than in telling the story. There was the pointless usage of items; pages with 5 or 6 options to click on, but only one that advances the story; and then one page with the identical choice listed four times, leading to the same ending as far as I could tell.

I was not motivated to go back and re-read the story, because it was evident the story had evaporated after the first few pages. And a lone hero? I have no idea. I assume the 2nd POV character was intended to fill that role, but who knows. In the phase of the story all I was doing was walking around, with finally the option to kill somebody... or let them live. Who or why, I'll never know.

As for the letter: this is just a narrative framing device that was added after-the-fact. All it accomplishes is to further confuse the reader, because there are so many points of view, but so little information to go on.

There is probably a really good story (and a clever game) in its infancy here, but in its current version I had to rate it a 3/8. That was mostly just to recognize the effort that went into the scripting and whatnot, which is more than what some other people did. Otherwise, the story is unintelligible, in my opinion.
-- Bill_Ingersoll on 8/20/2019 10:05:40 PM with a score of 0
I couldn't make head or tails of the narrative here. The multiple perspectives without clear transition or any context made me unable to gain any sympathy for, or any sense of the events of this story.

I assume a careful reread would make that clearer. Work has been put into this story, and I assume there is a clever story behind it.

However, the writing is such that I didn't want to read it again. Practically every sentence contained some microlevel error like missing commas ("Keep the cap it might protect you better than it will me"); weird tenses ("Keep the cap it might protect you better than it will me."); verb misuse ("I was standing on the dusty ground on which lied dozens of other leather soles") or serious sentence awkwardness ("Lifeless, if you didn't know it you'd think he's dead.") This stuff is hard, no question. But I want to seriously recommend working on basic sentence structure--particularly learning how to write additive and cumulative sentences. It will make your prose so much better.
-- Gower on 8/20/2019 7:39:51 PM with a score of 0

So, this was a somewhat confusing story. It was written in the style of a letter, but only for some parts it seems. There are also at least two perspectives from what I could tell, indicated by the pages having different colored background.

The first perspective is of a young boy named Art who watches the hanging of a body (Jordan Nickler) in the town square. His brother winds up throwing a baseball at the hangman and we just kind of leave him and walk around town for a bit. The characters are all rather interesting and the town is pretty detailed and well described. When we go home, it seems our brother hasn't come home and we don't know where he is.

Then it cuts to the second perspective. It seems this character is a bounty hunter or something who means to investigate the hanging. I think. It's honestly not totally clear why we're there to be honest. It seems to me like Art wanted us to come? Maybe? Anyways, after some investigating we hear the mine outside of town exploded and the only survivor is Art's missing brother. But Jordan Nickler is in there too. And we have the option to kill him. So Art's brother isn't the only survivor? After getting them out of the tunnel we wind up back at the courthouse and produce our findings to the sheriff. Some of the options seemed confusing, like the character knew things the player didn't. After giving over the evidence we find out the letter we're apparently reading was from Art Aston, Bounty Hunter. But I thought Art Aston was the kid from the first part.

As you can see it was pretty confusing. I read through the story a few more times, picking through the different options and I still can't really figure out whats going on. I understand that Jordan Nickler faked his own death but thats about as much as I got. I also suffered from the same problem as DerPrussen where I really am not sure whose perspective I'm reading from in the end, if the bad guy got away, or really what got resolved.

This was, however, an interesting read. I liked the characters in it and felt like you did a pretty good job creating a western "feel". The spelling and grammar were also very good, however there were a few times you capitalized the first two letters of a word (i.e. THere). I did think that this was an interesting if very confusing story. Good work Jacoder23.
-- TurnipBandit on 8/19/2019 3:49:03 PM with a score of 0
The reviews before me have covered basically everything regarding the confusing perspective and distracting technical errors. I'd like to expand a bit on Bill's comment about character.

I consider either character or setting to be the most important aspect of a story. It is possible to succeed based on these two alone - as a character study or an exploration of the time and place you've constructed. This is because, these two elements ultimately provide the meat of any story, by inciting either an emotional or logical response from the reader. Not the plot, or prose, or theme/message. That being said, over-emphasis on either of these two elements will always limit you in some way - which is why the other aspects are necessary for a well-rounded approach.

This storygame had the potential to be interesting and engaging. But it failed because it neglected character, setting and prose. The creative decision to use multiple POVs muddled up the plot - which was also lacking due to the aforementioned problems. Over-emphasis was placed on perhaps the least important part of the storygame, which was the coding. Unless this was meant to be primarily a showcase for scripting (which it wasn't, or at least this wasn't evident), I'd reconsider the amount of time taken away from everything else. For these reasons, this storygame did not become anything more than potential.

A solution would be to approach the planning stage with character, character motivation (goals etc.), and a realised setting in mind. By that, I'm talking about writing down exactly everything you want your initial character/setting to be. This will be prone to change, of course, but without that clear vision you're going to lack purpose and direction.

Writing's hard, but don't be discouraged! It's important to keep from comparing your beginning to someone else's middle, and discouraging yourself. Hopefully this has been a formative experience. Thank you for putting yourself out there!
-- Ozoni on 9/26/2019 3:40:53 AM with a score of 0
So in this story you control a total of at least three people and it gets a bit disorienting. Especially since it's all supposed to be a letter too. While all of this is happening you're also trying to sort out a mystery. I have no idea who I ended the story as or if the bad guy got justice, or even if I was the bad guy.

It got a little convoluted along the way. I'll need to give it a few more runs to figure things out.

Grammar and spelling wise things went well with this story.
-- DerPrussen on 8/18/2019 11:13:35 PM with a score of 0
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