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4 Stars IFReview Rating Sparrow's Song

IFReviewed by Emily Short on 2006-08-01 04:12 

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J. D. Berry


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IFR Overall Rating
4 Stars IFR Overall Rating
This failed for me, I think, for reasons that amount almost to a philosophical difference: the love here is presented as a force that descends on you externally, compelling and irresistable, and the game keeps telling you that you feel it, but it conveys little of the reality of that.

There are, you note, two prongs to this complaint. One is a matter of IF technique: be really careful if you're going to tell me what I feel, and in particular if you're going to make those imposed feelings the central motivation of the game, because I-the-player may not share the knee-weakened swoonery of the player character, especially when it's directed at an NPC with whom I've never had a chance to interact.

Two is more a question of the nature of the beast -- romantic feeling, love, the elusive quality that was supposed to be the uniting feature of these games. We got a number of takes on it: 1981's nasty obsession, Bantam's retrospective longing, a sort of playful desire in the Kissing Bandit, etc. One of the reasons, I think, that August worked well for me is that it centers upon the real adjustment of your feelings about a real person, and thus for all the difficulties of implementation it gets at the core of something important and affecting. Change is usually more interesting than static states, and coming to terms with someone on a deep level more interesting than running after them on a shallow one.

So I guess what I'm getting at here is that I don't believe in the kind of love shown in Sparrow, the kind that falls on you like an anvil from heaven and leaves you without history or choices or motives. I was more interested in the PC's former girlfriend than in his new love -- she was there, there was some tension, I wanted to know what had happened with her -- and in the light of the essential mutual ignorance of the PC and his beloved, I found the ending not entirely satisfactory.

    Emily Short Profile

    IFReviewer Rating
    10 Stars IFReviewer Overall Rating

    Name Emily Short
    Gender Female