Interactive Fiction: The Novelist

The Novelist is the fifth piece of interaction fiction I’ve played, after Dear Esther, The Stanley Parable, Gone Home, and Depression Quest.

The game is not as beautiful as Esther, not as subversive as Stanley, not as political as Home, and not as spartan as Depression. Rather, it strives for realism and universality. In The Novelist you play a disembodied spirit capable of reading the minds, and impacting the choices of three characters: a novelist, his wife, and their child.

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The entire game takes place within a house. Additionally, information is limited. For instance, is the novelist’s goal of writing the novel simply self-actualization nonsense (which implies one set of choices) or the only hope of a family for income (which implies a dramatically different set). How accurate is your ability t read minds, and how much veracity do the thoughts of the family have? These questions are unanswered and, largely, unaddressed.

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Many reviewers noted they cried during the game (See Rock, Paper, Shotgun‘s review). Perhaps I’ve listened to many hours of Dave Ramsey, but I interpreted the opening scenario as a looming economic and relationship disaster, and proceeded accordingly. Without spoiling the ending, if you consider the advise of Penelope Trunk, I achieved a happy outcome for all involved.

I played The Novelist in the Steam Edition on my Surface Pro.

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