The House at the End of Rosewood Street

In this game, you're this guy whose principal job appears to be that of general handyman for the residents of a suburban street. You pick up the newspapers each morning and deliver them to the individual residents; there will be one or two additional chores, which are fairly easily dealt with, and that's about it for gameplay. In that sense, it's really quite boring. It's the same series of repeated actions every day for a week, and the annoying thing about the map is that it is rather unnecessarily large. Rather than express the street as a single column of locations with the doors of each residence on either side, it is split into three -- the right, the left and the middle -- and to top it all off, there is yet another location, each residence's front yard, between the traversible street and the front door itself.

To be fair, it turns out that there is in fact a reason for splitting the street into right and left: the appearance of Elizabeth's house in the mid-game doesn't work without it; but my point still stands that there are more rooms than necessary, and therefore more repeated commands than necessary. If Glenn's house is north of Abigail's, I should be able to get directly to Glenn's front door by going north from Abigail's. I should not have to return to the street, go north, and then enter Glenn's front yard. Especially since I have to do this same thing six or seven times a day over the course of a week.

The other annoyance is that the letter L, which most people use as an abbreviation for "look", now means "go left". It is very annoying to be sent to a different room each time I simply want another description of my location. I suppose it's the sort of change that wouldn't matter if I were new to IF, but I'm an old fogey and old habits die very hard.

The story itself, meanwhile, is rather a bit deeper than is at first apparent. I suspect that there's some sort of connection with the ongoing newspaper stories; or else I am in fact working through some sort of dreamscape, and the residents Elizabeth and Caius represent opposing forces. The dreams in between each day are clearly meant to be significant, though I have yet to determine how. As best I can make out, I'm actually in a coma, this is strange life is all part of my struggle to wake up...?

Speaking of Caius and Elizabeth, the appearance of Elizabeth's house in the middle of the week was a bit of a surprise moment for me. I suppose the tedium of the daily newspaper delivery did serve a purpose: it made me so used to a fixed set of movements that I found myself knocking on her door and giving her a paper before I even realised that this was a new character. Caius, meanwhile, was appropriately creepy. The game stresses that the protagonist is attracted to him, but I cannot help but feel that this attraction is somehow artificial, that it is the result of some sort of evil voodoo magic on Caius's part. The business with the mirror -- that's not something new; I think it would be improved with some better interaction with the other residents. I think the author has a clear picture of who these characters are, and what they represent, but it's not really coming across, even though they are, in many ways, entirely defined by their individual quirks. I'm so anxious to get the newspaper delivery over and done with, that I don't care to talk much with them ... and, beyond requests for services and so on, there's not much interaction otherwise.

I suppose it will all become clearer after a few more iterations of the week -- that is, trying new things if I can, trying to do things differently -- but the general gameplay, the stuff that cannot be avoided, is all so tedious that once is enough and I don't care to try again for the mere possibility of something new.

Breakfast is toast, a whole rack of it, with butter. Orange pekoe tea, no sugar, no milk.