Player Comments on A Graveyard Smash
I liked this one quite well. It exists right at the threshold where I can't decided between two scores. That will be decided once I explore the game more and learn more about its endings. I found three, and I think the author has done something a little clever. The cleverness though seems to be a substitute for real fledged out endings, which is a shame. Something which started so well should hardly be cobbled together in the end with shortcuts.
The dialogue was, I think, quite well written, and the characters were made distinct from one another using the dialogue. It's a lot easier to recommend a story when that's one of its strengths. The conversations in the first few pages actually take up a considerable percentage of the overall reading time. The story is much too short I'm afraid, to deliver on these characters. There has been clear care and attention paid to content and intent of every sentence.
The narrative beats don't play out reasonably enough for me. We are given some details as to how this happened, or at least why, but the rules of the world are left practically blank, and the central issues are hardly addressed. This is only one good chapter in a great book. The core issues aren't resolved and the characters usually end up quite the same as we found them. The obstacles before them were not suitably difficult to overcome.
A story is interesting usually because it changes the life and/or world of the characters within it, but these events have the ability to pass like the seasons, despite how incredible they are. I want so much more out of a story where I am haunting someone dear to me as described. What a smashing story idea.
It looks to me like you have five or six characters the author should be writing about more extensively to make this a stunning CYS. As it is, its a shadow of what it could be. Still, it leaves one hungry, and imaginative. These are good things! The writers voice is excellent here, and it's easy for the reader to fall right into such a well defined atmosphere.
on 7/5/2022 2:03:02 AM with a score of 0
General Recommendation: Highly recommended. A short fun game, particularly notable for the skill with which it is writing.
Preview: Can you help your parents pass on to the afterlife?
Well, I really liked this game. However, there’s a strong chance that I liked it simply because its humor and writing style appeals specifically to me, and others might not have quite as positive a reaction.
Firstly, this story's greatest strength is simply the writing. It has an interesting plot and interesting characters, but it's the writing itself that really make these elements work their best. The interactions between the characters, and the narrator's thought process feel very natural and organic, something many games struggle with.
This story is absolutely dripping in atmosphere and character—fitting, for a story told on halloween. The narrator’s voice shines through from page one. Everything he says, does, and thinks further characterizes him. I’ve got a clear sense of his personality from page one, and he remains consistent throughout the story. Not only does his narration say a lot about him, it does an excellent job setting the story’s tone.
People who’ve read all of my reviews (if so, why?) will know that I’m a big fan of seeing the CYOA format used in creative ways. This story certainly does that, using the format to seperate the player and narrator to tell an original story. I always like to see a frame story done well, particularly a branching one.
Another thing I want to praise is the way background information is delivered, such as in the conversation between Emily and Harry on the way to the graveyard. The story of their parent’s death is delivered through dialogue, in a way that feels natural and unforced, and serves to simultaneously characterize the speakers.
I also want to praise the way the story handles humor. The humor is subtle and often character-based or dialogue-based. It adds to the story without calling attention to itself or distracting. I won’t say this story does humor better than other games, because it doesn’t. But it does have a different style of humor than many other games on this site, and it happens to be a style that I subjectively like more.
The only real complaint I have about this game is its length and complexity. It seems short, feels like it ends abruptly, and the resolution seems too simple for the setup—it explicitly doesn’t answer all the questions raised, and leaves the reader still wondering about certain elements. It would have been cool to see some of these intriguing ideas addressed with greater detail, clarity, and scope. That said, when my only complaint is “I want more”, that may as well be a compliment.
-Good intro. Within the first 3 or 4 lines, I already have a basic sense of the three characters.
-Lol: “If anyone asks, I’m etermined to claim it’s a political commentary about humanity.”
-The second-hand storytelling here is well done, communicating the story easily, but also making it sound like a natural and unforced conversation.
-This is original, I’ve got to say. The first page has already demonstrated writing skill, and introduced a plotline I’ve never read anything like before. Promising. I’m intrigued and invested.
-Damn! Now we’ve got a unique framing device! Taking unique advantage of the CYOA format to do original storytelling! Sweet!
-These characters are on so many drugs I’m frankly not surprised they’re seeing ghosts.
-I’m not entirely sure I buy the explanation that the siblings’ grief is what’s keeping the ghosts here. After all, everyone mourns their relatives. But I can accept that it’s being used as a device to set up the story. That, or a clue.
-The priest seems more trustworthy, but I not sure I trust him to act in Harry’s parent’s best interest. Psychic it is.
-Sweet, riddle contest! EDIT: I’m not sure why the correct answer was the correct answer. Technically, many of the things listed as answers could fit the bill. EDIT: No wait, this is actually really clever. The answer changes depending on which path you took to get there. It’s a personal answer, not an objective one. That's a really nice touch.
-The ending feels a little abrupt.
-The priest’s dialogue seems a little stilted, though that may be deilberate.
-Lol, “The power of christ compells you.”
-I actually really like that one of the endings is just “get therapy” and it instantly solves all your problems in an extremely anticlimactic manner. My first thought on hearing that the parents were stuck because of the children’s grief was that they needed to emotionally move on to fix it, and it’s amusing to know that actually worked. It also makes sense that not much attention is devoted to this path—an uneventful journey to emotional maturity doesn’t make for interesting storytelling. The ending with Natalie is similar.
-Lol. Something’s hopping in the state of Denmark.
“Affect”, not “effect.”
Mastery of Language:
Very good. The sentences flow together naturally, facilitating an ease of reading, and quickly drawing the reader in.
You’re particularly good at dialogue language. It sounds natural and unforced.
I’m reminded of the quote “If you do everything right, people won’t be sure you’ve done anything at all.” This is quite true of mastery of language. Poor language is noticable and obvious, calling attentino to itself. Good language is smooth and quick, and instead of pulling the reader out of the story to focus on the words, it instead smoothly pulls them into the narrative so they almost don’t notice what they’re actually reading. This story does that well.
In sum: This is a story that feels like it’s mastered the principle of show-don’t-tell. It shows where it needs to, and tells where it needs to, and overall communicates very well with the reader.
Player options/Fair choice:
Particularly good, there’s a lot of branching in this story, so each choice is for the most part fully fleshed out.
I failed the riddle contest a few times, and then got the ending where the psychic helps your parents pass on (via the “visit the graveyard tonight” route).
CONCLUSION: 7/8. This is a bit to short and leaves a few too many unanswered questions for an 8/8 rating, but I quite enjoyed it.
on 7/3/2022 9:58:40 AM with a score of 0