IFRO

My wife was afraid of the dark... then she saw me naked and now she's afraid of the light.
Rodney Dangerfield


Login | Register


Username:
Password:

Who is Online

We have 673 registered Members.

There are no Members online.

There are 8 Guests online.

8 Stars IFReview Rating Floatpoint

IFReviewed by Victor Gijsbers on 2007-03-29 05:53 

Game Profile

Author
Emily Short

Idiom
English

Authoring System
Glulx

Release Year
2006

IFR Overall Rating
8 Stars IFR Overall Rating
Separator
Floatpoint is a very ambitious game. It is also a good game, a really good game, but not quite good enough to live up to its own ambitions. Playing it will give you both enjoyment and a sense of how hard it will be to write a game that does do what Floatpoint attempts.

Almost everything about Floatpoint is good. The story is interesting (though short) , the interactivity is real, the setting is detailed and well-conceived, the puzzles are easy (which makes them effective pacing-devices), the NPCs are few but convincing (though not too deep) and the implementation is perfect. For a game that feels essentially as a short story, there is a lot of content here, most of which will help you understand the backstory better even if it is not necessary to finishin the games. (I especially loved the oranges.)

So, where does it break down? Floatpoint essentially works up to a single moral choice that gives the game its meaning and purpose. Now, in order to make a moral choice interesting, you must make it concrete. (This is why moral philosophy is so barren, and moral fiction so abundant.) Only by showing its relevance to real people and real events can the choice become meaningful. And it here that Floatpoint does not succeed, although it tries: as a player, I don't feel involved, I don't feel that I can make this choice, because I feel that I do not know and understand enough to be qualified to make a decision.

Floatpoint is a short story that should have been a novel. Giving enough exposition to all the elements of the moral dilemma (the alien civilization, the disease, and so forth) would have required many more scenes than the game currently contains. We should have played the protagonist back on earth; we should have experienced the plague; we should have known people who are dying; and so forth. But creating a novel-sized interactive fiction--well, I don't think anyone has ever done that yet. In my opinion, Floatpoint shows why we will have to do that. It shows us the limitations of the current paradigm, and that is a great thing to do.

If I rate this game 8/10, it is only because I envisage greater games that will follow in its wake. Compared to the current body of IF, it deserves a 9/10.

Victor Gijsbers Profile

Name Victor Gijsbers
Gender Male