Spring Thing

By: Jeff Schomay
Engine: Elm Narrative Engine
Playtime: 15min
Link: http://www.springthing.net/2019/play

Darkness is a short parable about finding hope and kindness all while showcasing the Elm Narrative Engine.

First off, the level of interactivity was just right and the story remained engaging throughout. The story is written in such a way that, as the player, you feel compelled to make logical conclusions when choosing which link you should pick rather than brute forcing the story. I like the reuse of links and found this piece to be aesthetically pleasing- the monochrome text and background literally highlighting the main themes in the story.

At times I did find the writing to be a bit heavy handed. Particularly near the end once the woman in the picture had been revealed. The first two choices in the “darkness” hinted that there was a lesson to be learned, and once they passed the message became quite clear- though it was told rather than shown. The final choice then provided the reader with the chance to act on this revelation. There appeared to be a good and bad choice, yet the endings do not reflect this. What I perceived to be the “bad” ending felt like it was more finished, yet rushed; while the “good” left me satisfied with the story but feeling like it was unfinished.

The story is not earth-shattering but does drive the author’s message home. The highlight for me was the reuse of specific words to drive the story forward- something that I would like to try experimenting with in my own work. Darkness is an interesting example of how we can tell stories in games and I look forward to seeing more stories being told in Elm.

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