Peter Berman likes to talk about how he loves Detective in spite of (or
perhaps because of) its flaws as a game, because (I guess) of some wacky untried
innocence. August is not so incompetent a production as Detective, but it is
plagued with the sorts of flaws that ordinarily make me roll my eyes and quit --
spelling, punctuation, line spacing errors, incorrectly listed exits, a
relentless turgidity and purplitude of prose. And my first response was, "Damn,
this is going to get panned. Damn."
Because, you see, I loved it unjustifiably. Unpolished in the extreme,
lacking in many basic respects, but what it missed in craft it made up -- for
me, in the moment that I played it -- in its passionate enthusiasm. There were
glimpses, between the shoddy pasteboard backdrops the set, of some grand vistas
of fantasy: deep-rooted trees, an old and terrible city, strong sorrows, great
revenge. And the end pleased and grieved me, and so did the characters -- not
the actual NPCs who moved about in shadow, hardly to be interacted with, but the
characters they represented, of whom they were recognizable avatars the same way
that a plastic spork is recognizably descended of the Platonic spoon.
Do I wax silly? Yes. Does this game invite that? Yes. Generally I am in favor
of some refinement of programming skill and some self-restraint in the writing,
but it's possible to go way way the other way and come with something curiously
Now, Matt: go thou and fix the bugs, 'kay?