[IFComp 2012] Sunday Afternoon

I start Sunday afternoon (on a Monday afternoon) and the writing style is immediately familiar to me. The game is by Virgil Hilts and the game lists the author as a pseudonym.

I’m an almost-ten year old who is stuck inside on a warm Sunday afternoon and it turns out that Aunt Emma and Uncle Stephen are old-timey hoarders! Dun dun dun. I’m stuck reading a sermon on 1 Chronicles 6:1-15, and by the passage (yeah, I looked it up – what a nerd), it becomes very clear that I need to break free of this oppressive, yet well-meaning household:

The sons of Levi: Gershon, Kohath and Merari. The sons of Kohath: Amram, Izhar, Hebron and Uzziel. The children of Amram: Aaron, Moses and Miriam. The sons of Aaron: Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar. Eleazar was the father of Phinehas, Phinehas the father of Abishua, Abishua the father of Bukki, Bukki the father of Uzzi, Uzzi the father of Zerahiah, Zerahiah the father of Meraioth, Meraioth the father of Amariah, Amariah the father of Ahitub, Ahitub the father of Zadok, Zadok the father of Ahimaaz, Ahimaaz the father of Azariah, Azariah the father of Johanan, 10 Johanan the father of Azariah (it was he who served as priest in the temple Solomon built in Jerusalem), 11 Azariah the father of Amariah, Amariah the father of Ahitub, 12 Ahitub the father of Zadok, Zadok the father of Shallum, 13 Shallum the father of Hilkiah, Hilkiah the father of Azariah, 14 Azariah the father of Seraiah, and Seraiah the father of Jozadak.

After I distract Aunt Emma for the third time, I flash-forward to 1916, where it’s clear I’m now in the very war Aunt Emma was hoping I’d never see. I am loving this exchange between a war buddy and myself:

Anderson shakes his head.  “I can’t believe she’d fall for that a third time.  What kind of a weak-minded aunt did you have, Conrad?”

“You’re the ones who can’t figure it out,” you reply.  “So she’ll keep falling for the same stunt until you do.”

Don’t mind us, we’re just playing IF.

I like that I’m really one of the 1916 war buddies, trying to play an IF game. Too cool. I also really enjoy the quotes that pop up with each ornament’s second look. I love that I can ask Emma about anything as well:

>ask emma about lese majeste
“Lèse majesté, dear.  Really, you should apply yourself more to your French pronunciation.”

>ask emma about lèse majesté
Aunt Emma approves of your pronunciation, but has nothing useful to say on the subject.

Alright, Auntie Em. Je comprends.

It took me a little while to figure out how to get out of the “Crumbs! She’s caught me out again!” loop, but after that the game wasn’t too difficult. I did have to rely on the hints to put together the scrub brush and the flue.

I must say, even though I’m out of the house, I don’t know the end to the story. I tried to listen to the conversation Auntie Em & Uncle Stephen were having in the study, but I couldn’t:

>l at flue
There’s the flue, which is shared with Uncle Stephen’s study.  You remember the sweep saying that this was highly irregular, although maybe he was just miffed that he had one less chimney to clean and be paid for.  It’s currently open, and if you listen hard you can hear Uncle Stephen and Aunt Emma talking in the study.
>listen hard
I only understood you as far as wanting to listen.
>listen
You hear nothing unexpected.
>listen to conversation
You can’t see any such thing.
>listen to study
You can’t see any such thing.
>listen to emma
You can’t see any such thing.

So, I guess I don’t get to hear about Konstanza and Stephen and (I’m assuming) their illicit love affair? But why was he paying his lover John?? Also, what about this?

>look at photograph
A small unit of soldiers poses in front of an elephant.  You recognise a much-younger Morris as one of the soldiers; the others are strangers, though one looks vaguely familiar for reasons you can’t quite determine.>l at men
Morris when he was young.  You suppose the others must be his regiment mates.  That one vaguely-familiar soldier … he looks a little like Mother, now you think about it.  He must be some sort of relative; though if so, it is a mystery why the photograph is here and not among Aunt Emma’s collection of souvenirs.

So, grandfather was a friend of Morris? But why isn’t the photograph on the mantel? Too bad I couldn’t ask anyone about any of that. As soon as I cover Aunt Em & Uncle Stephen with soot, they leave to change and the game prompts me to just leave the house.

I must say I was most disappointed that there was never a flash-forward again (unless I missed it). I would have liked, at the very least, some sort of recognition that my new war buddies got the end and what it all meant to us in the trenches. When I simply left the house, and that was it, I felt a bit cheated there wasn’t any more to this game. It’s well-written and fun, but wasn’t there a bigger story here than just getting out of the house? And why couldn’t I hear any more of it?

7/10

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