Alone in the Park


A potential hero is going through his everyday life when he’s given a note. If he finds 9 pieces of a map, he can piece them together to find a treasure. While that sounds like a standard game storyline, in this case you have to add in about 300 tons of self-aware snark and dry sarcastic humor to describe the story here.

You play as a nameless protagonist who gets a note asking if he is “tired of sitting inside playing video games all day.” He thinks the note writer has been spying on him, because the description is so accurate. So he accepts the challenge and heads to the local park where he sets out to find the map pieces, blindly wandering about the park with no direction whatsoever.

Along the way you meet several characters, such as the treehugger who is chained to a tree, the extreme rock climber and the businessman who is fishing for a little more than trout. Each connected to a map piece in their own way. They each send you on a quest to accomplish various tasks, or they stand in your way for some other reason.

In the gameplay, it's is a very standard and self-aware adventure game. The narrator is very sarcastic and dry while maintaining that self-centered perspective common to so many videogame protagonists. Everything that happens is described through the narrator’s own words, even down to the help text for the various buttons. This consistency really helps maintain the game’s steadily dry and sarcastic tone.

Talking Points: How well does the story being self-aware deflect it’s standardness? Does the sarcastic protagonist work for you? Is he too negative? Mechanically, this game is very simple; does this put more on the story to be entertaining?

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Self-aware snark and dry, sarcastic humor? I am intrigued.

So I guess I'm the only one who played this. At any rate:

You might want to change your pronouns. The protagonist is most definitely female. Grab the stray apostrophe while you're at it.

I don't know if I'd call the story self-aware, to be honest. It's very "real world", with the exception of the huge dilation of time in which the story takes place (I must have been in the park something like three months to finish the game). But with the exception of a main character who likes video games, there's not a lot of meta self-referencing or anything like that.

I'm not sure about the protagonist. Every character in the game is an archetype pushed to the extreme, so I had hoped for a slightly more normal and nuanced main character to balance that out. As it's written, though, the MC is pretty hyper-stereotypical herself (with, I suppose, the exception of being female). I did get a bit of a vibe that the narrator is supposed to be a little unreliable, but nothing serious — certainly no shadows of Lolita here. Some of it was funny, but most of the snark was just mean. The epilogue, in particular, had me shaking my head.

Maybe that's it, though? Maybe the MC is supposed to feel balanced, if we're all crazy gamers ourselves? I sure hope that's not the case.

At any rate, I do think the mechanics of the game put a lot more on the story, but not due to simplicity as much as bugginess and poor game design. The interface is slow and cumbersome, and bugged out for me on more than one occasion. The map is excruciating to traverse, especially after the game bugs (yet) again and you lose 5 of your quick-travel locations. Things would work one time and not the next (following the bird of prey, anyone?). To that end, yeah, the story had a lot to make up for. Unfortunately, I don't think it managed to do so.

Nice little time waster, I enjoyed the mechanics and didn't have any bugs or missing stuff

I played for over forty-five minutes, but then part of the "completed" map disappeared and the same fragment cannot be used again. I have a feeling this means the game can never be finished.

A few of the lines are chuckle-worthy, but many seem to either be trying too hard and/or (as Miarchist writes) are simply mean. Also, the developer needs to increase the travel speed if we players must wander vaguely while searching for collect-them-all objects. The simple mechanics aren't an issue for me: it's the incredibly slow pace of the mechanics. It would have taken great writing to redeem the bugs and pace - and it wasn't there.

I have a feeling this means the game can never be finished.

I actually finished the game so it can be done. Again, I did not have anything disappear though.

Enjoyable game, I liked the way some of the mechanics worked.