Sopoforic Agents in Childhood

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Voices

Posted by Tracy Poff on September 13, 2007

Voices – An Interactive Romance, by Aris Katsaris, is a short game that was entered in SmoochieComp and was a finalist for best story in Xyzzy Awards 2001.

You play as St. Michael (although I think it was not revealed just who you are until the end), and your commands direct Jhenette to act. It was quite clear to me that Jhenette was Joan of Arc; a French peasant girl who hears voices and thinks them divine? Who else could it have been? So I was intrigued by the game.

There aren’t any puzzles, and there’s not really much chance to change anything that happens. You may choose whether to speak to Pierre in the first scene, although this doesn’t affect the story. Between scenes, the game switches to a conversation between various parties (God, the devil, St. Michael, Pierre), and your choices affect the outcome or the game. The scenes themselves are totally scripted–you continue talking or waiting until the scene is over, and then move to the intermission and thence to the next scene, until the game ends.

This lack of choice in how the game plays out might have been annoying in some games, but in this game it is not just fitting but necessary; as I understood it, the point of the game was that the characters had no choice: their action or inaction was beyond their control. I think this worked quite well.

So: three scenes, three conversations, and then the ending. It’s short enough that you can easily play it through several times to see all the endings, although they differ little.

The question, then: is it a good game? Perhaps. It’s amusing, anyway, and short enough that it’s no great loss if you don’t like it. It’s worth a try.

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