IFComp 2009 review: The Ascot by Duncan Bowsman
- Game mechanics discussed
To me the problem with CYOA is that the range of options that the author can choose as choices at any point during the game is huge. There’s only a small subset of all the options players might want to do that can be presented as an option. (In contrast, IF with a parser allows at least trying anything within the verb-noun(-second noun) structure, even if the freedom of action is often or always just an illusion.) This is what often annoys me — I might want to try doing something, but it’s not offered as a choice. I get the feeling that there’s something wrong with the game design since there’s no clear reason to why the thing I want to do isn’t given as a choice.
Then there’s The Ascot. The only choices at any point are YES or NO. The rules have changed: the set of every conceivable action has been reduced to two, and both of them are always available for the player to choose. This is like the CYOA equivalent of haiku poetry. In contrast to “regular” CYOA described above I’m not wanting anything more because nothing else is included in the overarching rules of the game.
So, I’m not a big fan of CYOA but I’m a big fan of CYOA haiku. Even better, the Ascot has the same kind of off the wall humor that I’m quite fond of. How can you say no when someone asks, “Wujalykan ASCOT?”