Spring Thing 2009 - Notes on "The Milk of Paradise"

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Michael Neal Tenuis

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May 3, 2009, 1:54:38 PM5/3/09
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The Milk of Paradise, by Josh Graboff
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In one line: It's an ambitious but too short narrative game.

This one has a strongly characterised parser voice. I liked that,
although it might possibly become annoying in a longer game. A nitpick:
In typical IF player style, I tried to SING and JUMP, and encountered
the Inform default messages, which didn't really fit in.

I also found it somewhat inappropriate, considering the story's mood,
that the default score display in the status line was left in, even
though there were no points to be gained.

There were some other issues that more beta-testing might have fixed:
- no ABOUT, INFO, HELP, HINTS, INSTRUCTIONS (probably not necessary for
a short game, but generally considered desirable)
- it seems that only three of the six poets in the book of verses are
implemented
- several typos and it's/its mistakes.
- more descriptions for the senses other than sight would be cool.

It is not quite clear in the beginning what one is supposed to
accomplish, but then the player is railroaded. The author offers two
drastically different endings. That's good, but does not quite make up
for the railroading.

I would have liked to see more of the surroundings. After all, the poem
that is cited in the game's title speaks of
"twice five miles of fertile ground
With walls and towers were girdled round"
(okay, okay, that would be asking too much).

The setting is interesting and exotic and the writing evocative. I felt
engaged and drawn into the place, the story and the character.

The main problem is that the game is too short. Probably it was intended
like that, as a vignette, but still... there would have been room for
more NPCs, and at least one of the endings leaves room for a much larger
game.

I rank it third among the four Spring Thing 2009 games, closely behind
"The Realm of Obsidian". Obsidian was longer and delivered more fun,
while "The Milk of Paradise" had a setting and style that absorbed me more.

Just for fun, here's a lighter treatment of the subject matter by a
legendary German troupe:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W_esCf2GSTI

"Er zeugte sieben Kinder in einer Nacht,
und ueber seine Feinde hat er nur gelacht"
(freely translated to make it rhyme:
"He fathered seven children in one night,
His enemies trembled before his might")


Regards,
Michael

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