(none) Quintin Stone - Interactive Fiction Review
Interactive Fiction
Role-playing Games

Blue Chairs

Author: Chris Klimas
Language: z-code
Score: 10

A wild, surreal ride through reflection, regret, and redemption.

Comparisons to Plotkin's So Far are probably inevitable. While that game has the player travelling to realms that feel quite alien, Blue Chairs manages to feel even more surreal by freely mixing the peculiar with the mundane, producing an atmosphere all the more bizarre due to its contrasts. The end result has a sort of Twin Peaks vibe to it. I for one loved the writing in Blue Chairs. And it fits the story perfectly. Thankfully, I felt motivated at nearly every step of the way, so the game never really left me floundering for what to do next.

There were only a couple of technical issues that I encountered. First, there ended up being two blue keys in my inventory, one of them being ornate. Disambiguation was a problem, as there was no distinct way to reference the non-ornate key when the game asked me which I meant. The other issue involved the bank vault door, which can apparently be put into an unopenable state if you turn the dial to a wrong number. (I think the author said that there was a way to reset the dial, but I haven't been able to locate that newsgroup post.)

I had great fun with this game. The action did slow down a bit in the Mini-Mart, as I found myself turning to the hints a bit more. This was related to the problem I encountered with the vault door, as described above. Still, that whole section reminded me of the narcotized sequences in Max Payne, where you run through a series of drug-warped rooms depicting events from your memories. Some complained that this section was a maze, which is just silly to me. There are a lot of rooms, but the exits are plainly visible and the rooms are all different. It's confusing, yes, just not at all difficult to map. Finally, there are multiple endings and the one I prefer I found to be immensely satisfying. The only letdown afterwards was the lack of author's notes afterwards.

Final score: 10

High point:
I would have to say the "run through the snow" ending. It still gets to me when I go back and re-read the transcript.

Low point:
Aww, no author's notes?
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