Photopia (pc game)
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Quirky and compelling experience
The interactive fiction genre is one with several acknowledged classics out there, like the Zork games or The Lurking Horror. Photopia is an independently produced addition which manages to create something a little unusual and which offers a few neat variations on established conventions. The game is text-only so if you are looking for something with plenty of visual flash, then you might as well move on now but if you want something original and quite compelling, then read on. In contrast to most such adventures, Photopia is made up of a series of short narratives which are at first seemingly unconnected in terms of plot and character but which are eventually revealed to be intertwined in clever and subtle ways, not least of which is the notion of colour, which provides an overarching theme. The individual stories are nicely diverse and will see players/readers venturing into space to land on Mars, teaching others about astronomy or simply travelling along a road at high speed in the company of their best friend. This might not sound overly exciting, but the stories are well written, sometimes touching or gently humorous but which all display a light touch and more than a hint of quirkiness to them. If you enjoy traditional short stories which much show these kinds of ideas, then there will be much to enjoy here. However, those interested in puzzles as seen in most interactive fiction will be disappointed as they are not to be found. Instead, there is simply a collection of fine examples of the art of storytelling which makes it hard to recommend this as a game, but which is highly compelling nonetheless.