Player Comments on The Cliff
I rated this one a 4/8, but I think I'm being generous. Very little of this story made logical sense, with just about everyone jumping off that cliff at the drop of a hat.
And then there is the fact that this "storygame" has only one actual choice.
Emma was a mildly interesting character, but while I can deal with the lesbian romance, the marriage between two foster sisters is a plot hole wide than the state of Alaska. And really, why is everyone so depressed? The story skips along to all these major life events (and multiple suicides) without investing in any effort whatsoever in coherent character motivations.
There are plenty of paraplegics in the world, therefore I can't buy that Val's father would see his only option as suicide -- even if he was involved in the accident that killed the rest of the family. So what, is grief is so important that he'd rather kill himself than live with his one remaining child?
Emma's suicide was equally premature. Suck it up, buttercup; you are hardly the first spouse to be cheated on. Being a lesbian doesn't make your case any more special or tragic.
Liam's suicide was just... a means to an end game link. Really, he was just afraid of being happy?
So why didn't Val jump off the cliff? Emma's mother should jump next, because she burned supper last Tuesday. And then Emma's father, because he was only mentioned once in the story, and not in a flattering way. Maybe the puppy wants to jump last, because no one adopted it. Do you see where this is going? This story isn't a compelling drama; it's just a bunch of cartoon lemmings, doing what lemmings do.
on 9/17/2019 10:54:16 PM with a score of 0
It’s always interesting to see a first-person perspective in a CYOA, and I felt the personal voice here really shone through and was effective.
Yeah, it started pretty sad, but I think it could have been pulled off better. I never got to develop a relationship with the mother or the brother, which left me sort of indifferent to their deaths. The father’s death, while written well, also felt a bit meaningless as I only spent a couple of pages with him before he died.
I did call it that Emma and Val would develop some lesbian relationship as the cliché ‘that was when I first saw her’ was used. Then there was the whole ‘that’s a stupid rule’ thing and her eyes were also described a lot more than how you would describe a friend, or sisters’ eyes- credit to the author for the personal voice used there.
Now, I really did have an issue with this relationship. They’re sisters! When someone is adopted, they’re part of the family- Jan even said it herself “we’re your family”. Marrying siblings is not a normal thing. Making out that it’s okay and normal, just because Val is adopted, is saying that the adopted kid is not really a part of the family. Having this shown in the story got to me a bit. Sure, have the relationship, just don’t make them siblings. I didn’t really think that was necessary to the story at all. They could have easily been neighbours, or just friends (before they started dating).
They also married what I felt was a bit on the younger side of normal, considering they couldn’t even legally drink yet. Also weird was how she became ‘exclusive’ with Liam even though she was married. I would’ve thought Liam would’ve realised that long before they were actually official, especially since it’s mentioned multiple times how it’s a small town.
Ignoring that weirdness, Emma was a really well-developed character and I felt that I understood her best, even better than the protagonist (as they seemed to make erratic decisions, while Emma had a degree of consistency).
I really liked how Emma admitted her feeling on the same cliff where Val lost her father. It felt symbolic- the place where Val lost her father and her old life, ended up becoming the place where she started to get over his death and meet new people and develop relationships and learn to love again.
It appears that there isn’t much choice involved in the story until the end where you could choose to call Liam or not. This was mildly disappointing, as I felt the story could have been developed a lot further than it was. I also wouldn’t have minded less massive time jumps- felt odd when Val and Emma were suddenly married and then the next page, Val cheats on Emma.
Overall, there was a good standard of writing throughout the entire story and it moved along pretty fast. I strongly suspect that this was a rushed-out story, as all the right concepts are in place but there is just some rather odd things going on which ultimately lowered my rating for the story.
on 8/13/2019 4:37:03 AM with a score of 0
It seems Val has the worst luck in the world... Either that or she needs to move away from the goddamn cliff! Lol. The story moved very quickly. It took me about 12 min to get through the entire thing. I was glad it was fast-paced because it meant the reader mostly experienced the big events in Val’s life. That being said, there seemed to be a lot of gaps in the scenes that the story didn’t address.
There were only a handful of characters: Val, Jen, Emma, Liam, and Brian (Val’s father). I liked Jen and Emma, but didn’t feel any positive emotion towards the other characters due to inconsistency and foolish action.
Val, Brian, and, (to a lesser degree) Liam acted inconsistent or made dumb decisions which didn’t connect me to their characters. To be fair, we can say Val inherited that tendency from her Father and blame the bastard for not having rational thought processes. Someone should throw him off a cliff, oh wait... For example in Brian’s suicide note, he writes that he loves Val more than anything, but he also can’t afford to live without Val’s mother and brother. Make up your mind, dude! You’d think if he loves Val more than anything, he’d stay alive to raise her. Val had the same line of reasoning later on: “I loved her (Emma), I truly did, but what was the worst that could happen if I called Liam? I needed someone.” You have a wife, lady! You claim to love her! The worst thing that could happen is that you break her heart and run that bitch straight to the cliff. Poor genetics if you ask me. Liam just sort of killed himself out of nowhere due to “inner demons”. I can’t recall any mention to his inner struggle in the story (maybe it’s there, I don’t know), but it seems more like a lazy way to offer a sacrifice to the almighty Cliff Lord. Besides committing suicide, Liam was ok.
Now to the superior gene pool: Jen and Emma. Jen was the first person to show kindness to the main character. It was apparent that she had a good heart and the best interest of her children in mind. The same couldn’t be said for her homophobic husband. I thought Jen might be the one who opposed Emma and Val together, but she recognized they were good together. Usually someone who homeschools their kid has a more closed-mind, dare I say conservative, worldview of the “L” word (lesbians), so that was a nice surprise. Emma is a genuine character who was more proactive than Val: a true go-getter. Or should I say, “Go get her”? Ba dum tiss. If she wanted to do something, she went for it. The ending where she finds out that Val betrayed her showed that she was the one who had actual feelings for her wife. Val claimed she loved Emma, but then slept around. When Emma found out about the betrayal, she killed herself. I think Emma’s love clearly outshined Val’s which is consistent with the character portrayal. Emma’s character was genuine and true in her actions while Val’s were inconsistent and didn’t always make the smartest choice.
A few things that stuck out to me:
- The opening scene mentions “holding a letter in her hand clutched with every fiber of her being” (or something like that). It’d be more effective to leave out one or the other. It’s a bit awkward since every fiber of your being isn’t in your hand.
- The spacing started out distracting, but eventually I got used to it.
- The line “…smell of salt water filled my mind” stuck out as weird. Filled your nose maybe?
- There are a lot of commas out of place.
- You used the metaphor “holding my grief like a bag of bricks on my back”. I get the image you’re trying to display, but as far as I know, people don’t carry bags of bricks on their backs. They use wheelbarrows or some easier way since bricks are goddamn heavy as shit.
- My favorite line in the entire story: “I was a little desperate for attention and Greg was supplying it by the bottle.” I thought it was a great line and fit perfectly in the setting.
- The opening page has the line “nobody ever went here (the cliff) except for those that never went back home.” A few pages later, you visit the same place and you make it back home. Plus, that happened 12 years earlier.
I found this storygame to be entertaining, which says a lot for the writing since it’s a topic I usually avoid. I give it a 3/8 for the story pace and engaging writing, but its lack of consistency, player choice, and formatting (spacing and grammar) ultimately swayed my verdict to the lower end.
on 12/11/2018 6:22:20 PM with a score of 0
Clearly a fair amount of effort went into this. The result was a good little story. Sometimes felt a little too much like it was sad for sadness sake but oh well.
on 11/18/2020 11:43:41 PM with a score of 0
I like it but I didn't someone always dies, and I don't like being gay. Ewwwww I'm a girl I'll like a sexy ass boy l, not a another girl like me. It never even told me how Emma found out I was with Greg. I'm sorry I really don't like it.
*Also I had the same experience, with my dad. My dad was in the army and he died, now my mom is about to get married on April 23. I'm so excited can't wait!
— Lizzie on 3/23/2019 2:56:38 PM with a score of 0
It was a pretty good story, held my attention while I was reading it. However, is there a way to get a good ending? I've only played this story twice already, and I only got the ending where Liam killed himself and the ending where Emma left me. Maybe there is a good ending, and I just have to play through the story again. But good story, overall!
— ILLUMINATI on 6/19/2018 11:57:16 AM with a score of 0
Quick, simple, intro, but I guess that works. Interesting first page. I like the imagery on the first page, that worked well. It took me a second to get the full picture of the protagonist and the setting, but it will worked well and I’m ready for adventure. The extra spacing between the paragraphs was a little annoying, but that’s a pretty small thing.
The story was generally nice, but the lack of choices was sort of obvious. I’m not a fan of the completely fake choices where you are required to select the choices, in any order you want, before you continue on the main story unless those choices have some kind of an effect. In this case it looks like a completely linear story.
It was a little jarring to move from the wedding to the bar scene. I don’t know what happened to make that happen or why the main character was there. It seems like there must have been something drastic that happened, but I didn’t see it. At least I got a choice, but that appeared to be the only actual option available in the entire story.
I will say you certainly hit the target for the contest, better than any other stories I’ve read for this contest. It was very much a sad story, but I felt like there were some pieces missing. I liked the idea and the development and think there is a good deal of potential here with a little more expansion and information. Thank you for sharing the story with us on the site.
on 6/2/2018 11:19:21 PM with a score of 0
Despite being rushed and sloppy, I liked it, Orange. You had a consistent dialogue error that was particularly flagrant.
Incorrect story excerpt:
Emma looked at her in confusion, "what do you mean you know?"
Emma looked at her in confusion, "What do you mean you know?"
You actually hit the contest theme, and the story was generally entertaining. Very impressive for a last minute story.
on 6/1/2018 9:35:05 PM with a score of 0