Elvis At The Beauty Contest
Commended by BerkaZerka on 4/5/2020 1:35:08 PM
, #17 for
Played 1,301 times (finished 50)
"No possible way to lose"
"A nice jog down the driveway"
"Appropriate for all ages"
Stories with this maturity level will not, by design, have any potentially objectionable content. An example of a type story with this rating would be a quiz on mathematics.
Seriously this game won't be made without @mizal support editing and asking for a children game.
This story is written in a delightful style. Not only is there excellent use of descriptive language but the flow and balance of the writing is also quite nice. The characters are colorfully described, not only in their appearance, but in the way they move and speak as well. The parts of this story are pretty well integrated. We are treated to characters that can feel immediately familiar and lovable. This is a perfectly good children’s story.
The editing is really clean. I think I read every page and I only noticed four errors, and a minor issue where a certain sequence dead ends the game. The four errors were also very small: a missed period after "Mr." - a tense shift - an “s” left off then end of “sits” on the page “The Tale” - and I don’t remember the other. None of these errors get in the way of enjoying the story. What caught me more off guard were low frequency words like stiletto that few young children would know.
While Dr. Seuss has lately come under fire, this reminded me of a childhood favorite, The Sneetches. It’s a really strong example of this subject matter presented for children. Parables are more effective when they frame the circumstances such that the audience can draw the conclusion for themselves. That isn’t exactly what is done in 'Elvis at the Beauty Contest,' but it’s close. At the very end of 'The Sneetches' the readers are told what the Sneetches learned and the kids nod their heads and say, “Finally!” If you enjoyed this story and you haven’t read The Sneetches (or watched the animated version), make sure you check that gem out.
I commented earlier about how integrated the story felt, but there is one oddity. Our main rooster Elvis, when we meet this affable fellow, doesn’t seem aware of societal norms he’s breaking, which is weird considering he’s been a rooster his whole life and lived in the same society. He is being naive rather than brave. The pacing is also very strange. The kittens are right that the story ends suddenly, and it’s jarring. The original obstacle that Elvis is trying to overcome becomes suddenly irrelevant. A villain arrives and is undone in an instant. Our naive hero doesn’t so much as lift a feather in response. He becomes a passive bystander in the world.
Neither Elvis nor the reader have any real agency. All the choices in the game come to nothing as the game ends identically no matter what you do. Even the path to get there offers far fewer real choices than we are lead to believe. There are plenty of places where your choice makes very little, if any, difference even on the next page. I should add here that the end perked my interest. There are some subtleties here that are definitely good. Will we be treated with more? I hope so.
on 3/31/2021 3:52:12 AM with a score of 0
This genuinely felt like a kids story. I could really see my parents having read something like this to me as a small child. It has a certain sweet quality about it, something about the style of the prose, that really helps create that bedtime story feel. That, and the talking animals, another detail I enjoyed.
Although it has the style of a children book, this story seems to have a little more depth to it than, say, Franklin or The Berenstain Bears. The world feels like it has a life of its own. There are some interesting details sprinkled throughout that hint at other events going on in the world, like the debris from a storm has recently passed through, or the new literacy program for chickens who can't read. You even managed to establish the presence of a social hierarchy and tumultuous political climate in the form of the quickly eroding social norms of the animals. I can easily tell that the chickens and raccoons are near the bottom of the hierarchy, and the peacocks are closer to the top.
This type of world building can be kind of a double edged sword, however. There were a few things that I felt weren't quite explained well enough, though I'm quite sure an explanation exists. I'm not quite sure what to make of the friendship necklaces, for one. They're never quite explained, so far as I could tell, even though they are quite central to the plot. And what was that bit about the kitten's mother being involved in some kind of resistance? It seemed to come out of nowhere. The plot may have benefited from a little more time spent on subjects like these. (There's also the chance I accidentally skipped over something, which I feel like I may have done with the friendship necklaces specifically).
On a completely unrelated note, I noticed something interesting about the way you handled point of view. There is no singular character controlled by the player. Sometimes we make a choice for the kittens, sometimes for the raccoon detective, and sometimes for Elvis. I wasn't quite sure what to make of this at first, as I haven't seen this sort of thing done very often. I kept going back and fourth as to whether I thought it was a creative style decision, or a strange quirk that needed to be fixed. But as the story progressed, I stopped noticing it, making it less of an issue. Looking back, it makes some sense that it would be this way, as the raccoon lady is the one telling the story, and could pretty much tell it however she wanted.
Of course, no matter how the story plays out, it always ends the same. This seems appropriate for a children's story, as most of them want to see a happy ending instead of all the other unhappy ones that usually show up in CYOA's. But then, I wouldn't exactly call this a traditional happily ever after. Elvis never does win the beauty contest, after all. I actually think I like it more this way though, because it's not what I was expecting. But then, I guess the ending isn't exactly a sad one either. Elvis goes on to have what I can only assume to be a happy life, and another chicken eventually does win the beauty contest. This may not be the best possible ending, but it is still a happy one. I don't know if a little kid would see it that way, but I certianly liked it.
All in all, this was a nice, wholesome story. I'd show it to my own kids, if I had any. and they'd probably love it. Well done on this one, I hope to read more of your work soon.
on 4/14/2020 3:12:09 AM with a score of 0
This is my favorite of Mara's games. It's a bit more understated than some of her larger, wild settings, but I actually like that about this game. The writing style is steadier, and it spends all of its time telling a clear story with interesting choice, and doesn't spend time on wacky stylistic froufou which doesn't add to the story. I like that about this story. It describes, it sets the scene, and it gives me real choices.
I can tell a lot of time was spent polishing this one, both in terms of having some items in there (nicely handled) but also in terms of the writing. It's a good story. I want more like this one.
on 4/1/2022 9:19:17 PM with a score of 0
I got friendship necklaces!
on 1/27/2022 5:19:34 PM with a score of 0
I liked the story! :3 there is also inventory, which is pretty cool.
— Bliss on 1/9/2022 8:58:55 PM with a score of 0
This is amazing! especially for younger ages.
Love the work keep it up!
on 12/6/2021 3:04:51 PM with a score of 0
That was such a beautiful story. I really thought it was incredibly wise when you said that "violence only draws attention away from the real issues". I never thought of it that way.
I just wanted to let you know that on the '"Of course." Elvis answers delighted to help.' page in line eight, 'he' was written twice.
Thanks so much!
— John Chang on 11/5/2021 7:49:14 PM with a score of 0
I love this story! It teaches small children about the effects of prejudice without being preachy.
— Reader on 10/25/2021 1:18:12 AM with a score of 0
Nicely done, quite the wholesome tale.
It's interesting to see all the different items and references to the stuff that happens around.
good work, Mara.
on 12/10/2020 1:09:42 PM with a score of 0
This was absolutely amazing, a good take on a fairytale.
First of all, the characters were amazing. Madame Raccoon and Elvis have a strong bond and you can see that during the story. All the other characters too, even Felix, were excellent.
Second of all, the plot. The way it was set up--Madame Raccoon telling a tale--was amazing.
An epic tale, really liked this, thank you for making this!
on 9/30/2020 9:53:39 AM with a score of 0
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