Sterling City

a Modern by ninjapitka

Commended by mizal on 5/24/2020 5:46:08 AM

Player Rating6.21/8

"Too few ratings to be ranked"
based on 25 ratings since 05/16/2020
played 455 times (finished 26)

Story Difficulty5/8

"run through the jungle"

Play Length5/8

"Not going to lose any sleep"

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.
She offers everything a man could want. Sterling City, an unsteady lover, but a lover nonetheless, filled with gunfire, liberal women, and elevator dings! One day her embrace is warm, and the next, it's the cold shoulder and couch for you, baby. Best to get out while the going's good. Author's Note: Contest entry for IWT 13: The Resurrection.

Player Comments

This is fantastic.

This is a storygame dripping in personality. Starting off with a whiskey-drinking private eye at the strip club was a classic, almost cliched way to start the story, but it had just enough self-awareness to make it really endearing (I really loved the elaborate metaphors as to what Sterling City is).

Another really cool thing you did was not tying this to any particular era. It was reminiscent of like, 80s crime movies, but also classic pulpy detective fiction. Not tying this to a particular era (like having a Soviet-themed vigilante, people using computers, a Dave Chappelle reference, and having one of the viewpoint characters be such an archetypal 30s tough guy) almost makes the whole work feel like it's about a "city out of time", or something like that.

Your use of characters was really clever. I think it was a really solid decision to have Hugh be the only first person narrator, because every great noir antihero needs that internal monologue.

I got the ending with the vigilante superheroes beating the shit out of Trevor, and at first I thought it was a bit of an anticlimax; then, I realized it's a really clever way to end the game. It's not really a storygame about any one person, it's about a rotten ass city.

This is one of the most creative and charming storygames I've read recently. Thanks for the entertainment.
-- hetero_malk on 6/27/2020 5:20:19 AM with a score of 0
I loved the style of this. All the "this is sterling, baby." and the wittiness was awesome. It really made me feel like I was in some Noir/ Frank Sinatra inspired environment. I could really get a feel for the background and what I expected it to look like. At this point in time, I didn't go through all of the paths but I'm sure I will after I write this. I ended up finishing on Holt's escape.

I liked how it flowed from character to character, it was like Sterling itself was the main character and these are all supporting roles to make it what it is. I am just curious as to why Hugh was the only one who was in the first person? Maybe I missed something or it was just his own unique thing you wanted to do.

I was honestly walking into this thinking it was gonna be some big played up gangster-gambling-casino cliche. I was sorely mistaken. I loved the metaphors of the law and Sterling and all these different elements that make this story so great.

Overall, its a great story and I'm glad to have it recommended to me to read. You may not like the characters and you may not like the the paths you take but Sterling City is like a fine scarlet-haired woman waiting for you to give in to your desires and take her to the back room. Unfortunately for you, she's just as dangerous as she is innocent looking because after all she's Sterling City, baby.
-- DireRyse on 5/27/2020 4:29:59 AM with a score of 0
Sterling City: pretty darn good.

I am finding it inexplicably difficult to put my thoughts about this story into words; I've been sitting and staring at "Comment on Sterling City" for about fifteen minutes. Ninja has a style of writing that is seemingly effortless. The storylines themselves are fine, twisting and converging in a sleek way that suits the setting for this story perfectly, but the real draw at least for me is the personality and swagger this story possesses.

It's similar in that aspect to TechNOIR, although in this story it's taken to an even higher degree. Ninja pumps out lines like:

“Did you prep the ‘patient’ for surgery?” one asks with a gender neutral sounding voice. You know, like it could be a fruitcake man or a lifelong smoking woman.

with shocking frequency, and it makes for a really entertaining read. I did enjoy the Shaw/human experimentation path a little bit better, I liked the horror elements and you do well to really make Shaw feel like a good dude that just happened to grow up in Sterling City.

Oddly enough, the greatest strength of this story is part of my only complaint. The certain quippy nature of the writing doesn't feel like it subsides very much when the story gets more serious, and sometimes when switching between perspectives it can be difficult to tell due to the style you use.

Obviously, I still gave it a 7/8. So, you can see how much that impacted my overall opinion of the story. Awesome work.
-- TheChef on 5/21/2020 3:42:08 PM with a score of 0
Pretty good. The writing style was very noir, and the use of metaphors showed that. The perspective changes and branching paths which furthered those perspectives reminded me of Sin City. It wasn't really about any one character, it was about the city as a setting. Only real problem I had was, I guess, a bit of lack of "focus" on any one character, I suppose? The perspectives were switching pretty frequently, mostly without warning, so you couldn't really attach. I feel like that was intentional, though.

7/8. It hit all the right notes.
-- Tim36D on 11/8/2020 1:21:16 PM with a score of 0
Talk about underrated gems: as I write this, the player rating for "Sterling City" is sitting at 5.51, a good 1.5 - 2 points below what it deserves. Maybe my 8/8 will give it a boost.

This storygame isn't for everyone. The grim, unsavory characters, the constantly shifting points of view, the various episodic subplots are bound to confuse many readers and turn them off.

But the characters! The settings! The path that I read was beyond Noir, and more into "Pulp Fiction" territory. Each POV character was deftly drawn, and each locale was richly described. This is truly good writing.

As a storygame, there seem to be enough branches to give this a good re-read value, seemingly more than the 22k word-count would imply. The story (or stories) are dark, and they might make you despair the species. But this is certainly a better story than the middling rating might lead you to believe.
-- Bill_Ingersoll on 7/14/2020 5:55:22 PM with a score of 0
Review written as I read through the story.
The narrators personality really seems to shine through on the first couple of pages, along with the kind of place they are living in. It's nice to get a decent idea of the setting and the tone from the start.

Both the first guy in the bar and Danny seem to both have distinct views of the city. The one similar thing being how much they seem to like the place. The interaction between the Senator and Danny was pretty funny.

I can't believe the guards are named Turbo and Bear. That's almost as bad as naming an orc Tumble.

Oh shit, and now you have two POV characters who are probably going to be at odds with each other. I've always found that stuff interesting. I see this has one of the most realistic interpretations of what would happen if "Go Kill Things Man" ran into "Honored Janitor"

They always make the janitor or gardener or whatever and try to stop the protagonist or whoever with hand waving and "you can't be here." It's refreshing to see the more likely event where the low level peasant having job man would just shrug and say "Huh? Guess it was nothing."

"and doesn’t scrape the splinters from his disposable chopsticks." I generally avoid people like that as well. Also I hope you weren't about to just insult Heinekens good name smh

"The empty chamber of my beloved gets filled with six more tokens of my love. I’m not a selfish man. Time to share my love with others" Is this supposed to be a metaphor for "pervert in trench coat does the big blast on unsuspecting people?"
Will lick his own balls againToday at 9:05 PM
“I’m willing to be this isn’t a place men simply wander into.” >bet

Shit man, and things just took a turn. And on Lar's choosing I decided to select the option to slay dirty dan....let's try the other option, shall we?

Wait...Rachel is a superhero!? :0 Fear not! The Red Hurricane is here! (swooshes cape). Despite how that may all sound this is legit enjoyment at finding a band of "superheroes" in this story.

"the gay angel in front of him." I really hope that was done on purpose lmao

Just started reading Holts thing, and I get the feeling this is going to end terribly for him. Also the fact that he seems to think he charmed Rachel was hilarious, as I didn't get that sense reading it from her pov.

“I’m surprised,” Holt says. “Dancing with a beautiful woman is always enjoyable, sister or no.” I'm convinced this character was inspired by Darkspawn now.

"They might as well be lapping at his balls." A self made man would lick his own balls, I should know.

If you’re looking for access to actual rooms, you need one of these.” He flashes a solid black card.

“That’ll do,” Holt says, driving his knee into the man’s stomach quickly following up with a left hook to the temple.
Well done, hotel employee.

I didnt think the playing dead thing would go well, had a funny punchline lol

Lol the mutual screwing over of the bad guy is good.

Now for something written post reading.

I'm not too fussy about my standards for what counts as a 5/8, 7/8, 8/8 etc. But this was very entertaining, and had minimal errors, and as I mentioned earlier the switching POVs were cool, but they were also done well. It was nice seeing how the characters backstories intertwined. Well. at least some of them seemed to.

It really gets multiple views of how people in this story think about the city, and everyone else as well as their relative position in this society. Well done, I really enjoyed this story. 7/8
-- corgi213 on 6/27/2020 9:22:45 PM with a score of 0
Really enjoyed the horror elements in Sterling City especially in the human experimentation branch. The style of the writing gives the storygame a lot of personality, which makes it an interesting read.
-- Acratios on 5/25/2020 3:00:38 AM with a score of 0
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