The Silver Gauntlets

Oh, this is a PDF gamebook. Given our access to computation and the automation of this sort of thing, I wonder why this was done as a PDF and not, y'know, made with Choicescript or something. But I remember Simon Christiansen entering a PDF one year, and it working out surprisingly well, largely because it twisted the format to an unusual end. But, near as I can tell, this doesn't dip into the same well: it's a PDF gamebook played straight.

Well, yes, I guess technically Interactive Fiction includes actual print-on-paper gamebooks. And if we accepted Christiansen's "Trapped in Time" back in 2013, we should accept this. All right. But there was a point to Christiansen's choice of format, something that couldn't be emulated by doing it electronically. "The Silver Gauntlets" doesn't have the same excuse, so the question remains: why wasn't this made with some kind of scripting language to automate the battles and handle all the if-else situations? Especially considering all the spells and equipment ... there's a bit of stuff to deal with here, and scrolling back and forth on a PDF reader is far from ideal.

I also found the writing ... kind of mediocre. It's on the level of most fanfiction: well-meaning, but with countless little irritations in the form of awkward stylistic choices and unnatural dialogue. Nothing so bad that I could go off on a rant--I didn't see any instances of "was sat", and the one instance of calling someone "a female" could be justified by the speaker not being human--but a lot of stuff I found just a little bit "off" in ways I can't always articulate. It all adds up to something I just want to skim quickly, but the format demands my attention and won't let me.

The story seems okay, though. It borrows a bit from the Biblical nephilim and the Grimm Fairy Tale, "The Girl Without Hands"; you could even wind up without hands yourself, depending on one early choice. The basic framework of the game seems good. It's the fleshing out with words and the implementation that wants work.

If this were breakfast, it would be plain oatmeal, no honey, no sugar, no salt; with a mug of milk on the side. Too plain and maybe a little hard to swallow, but it'll fill you up if you can get through it all ... I personally couldn't. Getting the basic shape of your breakfast just isn't enough.