“A Blue Like No Other” shows a frustrated writer’s creativity trying to break through as she deals with the mundane text of writing an online grammar primer.

Gameplay: The game is presented as an online course in English grammar. The player progresses by clicking on certain words in the sample text in each chapter. Those texts begin as simple filler, but the guide’s author builds an elaborate fantasy story in subsequent chapters. Those words to find mostly relate to the chapter’s lesson in some way (e.g., they’re prepositions in the chapter on prepositions), but that conceit is dropped by the last chapter, where the sample text is unnecessarily long, and the words to find are arbitrary. The game also contains a series of email conversations expressing scorn from the primer’s editor about the writer’s inability to produce simple text.

It could be a strong setup, but there’s little for the player to do. The text isn’t interesting to read; finding the given words in the text is simultaneously tedious and trivial; and there’s no deeper story or characterization of the writer or editors to explore. 4/10.

Mechanics: There’s little interactivity in the game, and two of the chapters are repeated. (Maybe that’s supposed to indicate how little investment the sample text writer had in her work, but it’s still annoying to the player.) The idea behind it isn’t bad, but actually playing the game doesn’t add much to its premise. 3/10.

Presentation: Neither the desultory sample text nor the in-game writer’s more verbose stories are particularly compelling to read. There are some misspellings in the text (“unlikily”, “seclection”) that I don’t think can be attributed to the in-game writer’s inattentiveness. Clicking on certain words in a single body of text is not interesting for the player; answering reading comprehension questions from more frequent but shorter texts (with the setup, for example, of having the sample text’s author aggressively soliciting feedback on her work), or even just going through grammar exercises that require a bit of thought, would make the experience more satisfying. 3/10.

You might be interested in this game if: You’re a frustrated writer.

Score: 3

2 thoughts on “A Blue Like No Other, by Dan Cox

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