Day of the Dead--One Soul's All Souls Procession

Player Rating5.65/8

"Too few ratings to be ranked"
based on 27 ratings since 12/06/2019
played 58 times (finished 8)

Story Difficulty4/8

"march in the swamp"

Play Length2/8

"So short yo' momma thought it was a recipe"

Maturity Level5/8

"aren't you a little too old to be trick or treating"
Some material may be inappropriate for persons under age 13. If this were a movie, it would probably be PG-13.

Day of the Dead Skull

Matthew Mercia had never believed in the Day of the Dead the way his mother did. He didn't get excited to wake up on November second to celebrate the lives of relatives who had passed--until he was one of those relatives. Now he can only wake up on the day of the dead, so he only has tonight to walk among the living. How did I die? Who killed me? Why? These questions may just keep Matthew from celebrating this Dia de Muertos.

Authors Note:

This story was written in four hours for Ectocomp 2019 with 4,500 words, 7 unique endings, and one epilogue. It is based on the All Souls Procession Weekend in Tuscon Arizona. No additional knowledge is needed to read the story, but if you want more information on anything look up the event! 

Edited on 12/06/19: the tense switch on the first page was fixed. Everything else was left the way it was for the contest.

Image from: http://clipart-library.com/day-of-the-dead-clipart.html

Player Comments

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD.

I thought that this was an excellent story, especially considering that it was only written in four hours! Does that include the time spent revising/editing? Crafting a tale with consistent characterization of the protagonist and such a wide diversity of endings in such a short time is a very impressive feat, and for that I congratulate you.

I thought the writing was excellent. Most of the sentences flowed very well, and the overall narrative gripped my attention. Unlike most story-games, I read through all the endings in this one, because I really wanted to grasp the full picture.

The introduction to your story was well-done. I love how your opening passages (including the description of the narrator’s feelings of claustrophobia, and that moving around is hard) foreshadow that they are buried in a coffin. I also loved how the protagonist initially described feelings of disdain for their mother’s beliefs, before realizing that they were dead themselves, and their mother was correct all along.

I liked how one of the endings had an epilogue associated with it. Ironically, I didn’t think that this was truly the ‘best ending’ in the game. Although the police found the culprit in this ending (or rather, he found the police and confessed), he still poisoned several of the children, beforehand. I liked the ending “The Office” better, which revealed less information but in which none of the kids died.

Though I could tell this story was obviously thoroughly revised/edited, I did still spot a few grammar mistakes, throughout. For example, in the sentence “Everyone knows that death is the end, you may become nutrients for the grass…” you should have a semicolon after ‘end’ instead of a comma. The same principle applies for the following sentence, after the word ‘today’: “We only get one day now, today, the rest of the year we spend in the ground.” In this third sentence, you should have a comma after the word ‘light’: “Without a body, you feel extremely light making the task trivial”. Finally, in the following excerpt, you should have two extra commas, one after ‘turning’ and one after ‘namesake’: “Turning you come face to face with your late grandfather and namesake Matthew Garcia.” I also noticed that your page “The Office” had a different font than the rest of the story.

Regarding your epilogue – I liked how whether or not the possession failed depended on your choices in the beginning of the story. I also liked how the narrator started to get their own personality confused with that of the culprit.

I felt that the antagonist's motivations could have been explained better. He was upset about someone he cared about being murdered, so now he decided to hurt children in a similar fashion to achieve some sort of "poetic justice"? Poetic justice is when good characters are rewarded for their kind actions, and evildoers are ultimately punished. That doesn't really fit the man's actions, here.

At one point during the final scene, you write the following: “That’s you, the boy in the picture is you… It wasn’t you--why you need to remind yourself that is beyond you.” (Note that the ellipses are included to indicate not all of the author’s initial writing is included in the quotation.) Based on the context of this scene, the word ‘you’ in the first sentence refers to the narrator, whereas the word ‘you’ in the second sentence refers to the culprit – the protagonist is trying to remind themselves that they didn’t commit the crime. This isn’t really clear, and I would consider altering the text slightly to explain it.

Overall, I really liked this story. You should keep up the good work. 6/8.
-- Reader82 on 12/21/2019 4:08:09 PM with a score of 0
I definitely enjoyed this story. To think this was written in four hours is astounding to me, on account of you stating that you wrote it in roughly 3 and edited in 1. This story would be good enough without the fact that it was written in 4 hours, though with that fact it makes the story exponentially more impressive. I read this in roughly ten to fifteen minutes, and that is with ever ending, so there is no excuse for you, the dumbass who reads reviews before the story, to not just go and read this story. Right now. Like for real go do that.

One thing I love about this story is the concept. I love the whole idea of being dead, and only rising up once a year. It is explained in such detail in the first paragraph too. I also like searching for your killer. The killer feels like a real person with his own motivations, and while they are insane, that just makes it better because I can see a person doing this. It wraps up good too and that brings me to my next point.

It is grounded. It knows what it wants to explore. I’ve said this in a lot of my reviews already, though being able to cover something so thoroughly in so few words never ceases to astonish me. This story is about a boy who was killed and while he is a spirt he stops the killer. That is it, no more, no less. What this does is it lets you hyper focus on this concept, and makes a short, focused, and if done well an amazing storygame.

I did like the branching. As I stated I got every ending and it branched fairly well. Every choice you make matters and all paths are roughly the same length. I have stated that time cave works great in these types of grounded stories, and this is no exception.

In conclusion this is a great game, that was written and edited in no more than 4 hours! Even without that it would have been great, though that makes it excellent. I almost want to give it a 7 because of that, though I can’t quite do that.

6 out of 8
-- MicroPen on 11/5/2019 9:29:53 PM with a score of 0
For something so short, really well balanced as a story, with an excellent twist at the end. Quite impressive for 4 hours work! Good job
-- Anthony on 4/23/2020 2:47:41 PM with a score of 0
*SPOILERS*

For a 2/8 length, there's a lot here. An actual plot with good writing, so nice. I liked it a lot.

The premise was unique and done very well. It was a little confusing at some times, but I figured it out after not much effort. It moves fast and sometimes I think too fast, but with 4 hours to write it, that's understandable. It's an interesting take on the afterlife and someone poisoning kids on Halloween.

The choices offered allow for flexibility of the player and also are choices that someone might realistically make. It deals with the supernatural, but nothing is implausible here. I really enjoyed the way that each choice will essentially take you down a completely different path to a different ending. It makes for a replayable, overall enjoyable storygame.

The writing itself is really good excepting a few spelling errors in the story. I don't know if the four hours included your revision time, but anyway a few things slipped through. They're not super noticeable in the story and fortunately don't subtract much from the reading experience.

6/8
-- Megumeme on 1/2/2020 5:22:43 PM with a score of 0
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD.

I thought that this was an excellent story, especially considering that it was only written in four hours! Does that include the time spent revising/editing? Crafting a tale with consistent characterization of the protagonist and such a wide diversity of endings in such a short time is a very impressive feat, and for that I congratulate you.

I thought the writing was excellent. Most of the sentences flowed very well, and the overall narrative gripped my attention. Unlike most story-games, I read through all the endings in this one, because I really wanted to grasp the full picture.

The introduction to your story was well-done. I love how your opening passages (including the description of the narrator’s feelings of claustrophobia, and that moving around is hard) foreshadow that they are buried in a coffin. I also loved how the protagonist initially described feelings of disdain for their mother’s beliefs, before realizing that they were dead themselves, and their mother was correct all along.

I liked how one of the endings had an epilogue associated with it. Ironically, I didn’t think that this was truly the ‘best ending’ in the game. Although the police found the culprit in this ending (or rather, he found the police and confessed), he still poisoned several of the children, beforehand. I liked the ending “The Office” better, which revealed less information but in which none of the kids died.

Though I could tell this story was obviously thoroughly revised/edited, I did still spot a few grammar mistakes, throughout. For example, in the sentences “Everyone knows that death is the end, you may become nutrients for the grass…” you should have a semicolon after ‘end’ instead of a comma. The same principle applies for the following sentence, after the word ‘body’: “Without a body, you feel extremely light making the task trivial”, and this sentence, after the word ‘today’: “We only get one day now, today, the rest of the year we spend in the ground.” Finally, in the following sentence, you should have two extra commas, one after ‘turning’ and one after ‘namesake’: “Turning you come face to face with your late grandfather and namesake Matthew Garcia.” I also noticed that your page “The Office” had a different font than the rest of the story.

Regarding your epilogue – I liked how whether or not the possession failed depended on your choices in the beginning of the story. I also liked how the narrator started to get their own personality confused with that of the culprit.

At one point during the final scene, you write the following: “That’s you, the boy in the picture is you… It wasn’t you--why you need to remind yourself that is beyond you.” (Note that the ellipses are included to indicate not all of the author’s initial writing is included in the quotation.) Based on the context of this scene, the word ‘you’ in the first sentence refers to the narrator, whereas the word ‘you’ in the second sentence refers to the culprit – the protagonist is trying to remind themselves that they didn’t commit the crime. This isn’t really clear, and I would consider altering the text slightly to explain it.

Overall, I really liked this story. You should keep up the good work. 6/8.
-- Reader82 on 12/21/2019 6:23:08 AM with a score of 0
This was really well done. There's a lot of content for something written in a small time-frame. Yeah, the change from 1st to 2nd person almost dissuaded me from continuing to read, but the style and interesting characteristics of the MC and his parents kept me going. I'm glad I kept going.
-- ninjapitka on 10/30/2019 10:40:33 AM with a score of 0
This is certainly an enjoyable story for its length, and well written given that it was crammed into 4 hours' writing time. The central story was compelling, and the main character was interesting. There was a POV shift from 1st person to 2nd on the first page, and I was unsure of the "mechanics" of being a ghost from time to time. For instance, my costume can't pass through the wall, but the folder with the manifesto can; and what is the reaction to the sight of all that candy getting ripped out of the kids' hands by an invisible force?

But that's just me being me. I enjoyed this story.
-- Bill_Ingersoll on 10/29/2019 4:11:05 PM with a score of 0
It is incredible what you have achieved in four hours both in quality and in quantity. the feelings of the character are really well expressed, and the mystery about how the character dies and the persecution makes the game dynamic and a thrill to read. Maybe I miss more a certain opportunity to not care about how we die and go more to the cause havoc. But that probably conflicts with the style of narrative.
-- poison_mara on 10/27/2019 8:07:52 PM with a score of 0
This is a quick, atmosopheric, and engaging cave of time style game. Yeah, it's short (written in four hours as it was) but in that time, Shadowdrake has managed to pack in tons of atmosphere and a few surprisingly emotional gut punches in some of the endings. There's sorrow, insanity, the confusion of the recently dead, and a bit of mystery to deal with.

The game will be about three or four clicks long, and the choices make a lot of sense and offer sudden and satisfying endings. You could hardly do more with a cave of time in four hours--the setup is excellent, and I cared about the main character's predicament right from the first page. An original way to approach the Ectocomp prompt. I happily read through all of the endings and wished there were more.
-- Gower on 10/27/2019 7:46:02 PM with a score of 0
The setting is the day of the dead and your among the deceased. The author detailed facts of the day of the dead and it's rituals, that I personally didn't know. (which may not be saying much) However, it was clear the author most likely is of Mexican descent as the story illustrated knowledge of the culture. If the I am mistaken about the author's background, then bravo on the research done for the story. The small details made it a page turner. I wanted to start over and read the next path, and did so more than once. However, the story did begin in the 1st person and I believe if I recall correctly it switched to the 3rd person. Minor grammar issues. The story tells of a 15 year old who woke one morning dead. It takes you on a search for how you died and who killed you. It could be a bit longer, and more detailed in some of the scenes, but the plot itself is well thought out and could expand into a very interesting read. Thanks for sharing it here. I enjoyed it. M.
-- oraclemache on 10/27/2019 5:18:41 AM with a score of 0
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