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IF COMP 2004 - Blue Sky

Game #30: Blue Sky, by Hans Fugal
Played On: 10/21/04 (2:45 PM to 3:25 PM)
Unofficial Score: 8.0 (no skew)

     I haven't been to Santa Fe, but I have the impression the author has, and was inspired to write "Blue Sky" after the visit. Then again, it could just be convincingly descriptive fiction. While I doubt the author really led a camel down the streets of Santa Fe, sold an abandoned piece of turquoise, or snuck into St. Francis Cathedral disguised as a friar, I wonder if the story was inspired by real events?

     "Blue Sky" is descriptive and very well written. The puzzles aren't difficult (although I did need a hint one time when I couldn't find the tour group). It isn't a long game, either. The story is simple. As a tourist, you overslept and missed your tour. You simply have to track down the group to finish the game (I did so with 9 out of 10 points, leaving me curious about the point I missed). The purpose of the game, by my reasoning, isn't even to finish it (although that is, of course, the goal). The journey is the reward, I think. Through the protagonist's eyes and the author's expressiveness, you (as the player) get a short vacation in scenic Santa Fe.

     The game is solid, with very few problems. The most substantial is probably that you can drop the ticket inside the chapel, and unless you immediately UNDO (because you are limited to one at a time), you can't return. Why, you may ask, would a person even try that? I won't answer. The sentence "...touring Santa Fe with." ends with a preposition (that's probably a nit-pick -- perhaps I've watched "B&B Do America" once too often). The sentence "You are after all a tourist" should end in a period, and it should be within the parenthesis. In the chapel, the benches and the altar are unimplemented scenery. The word "beautiful" is missing its first "u". And... that's about it.

     To predict where "Blue Sky" will place in the competition, I'd have to say, about midway. It's a solid game, a little on the short side, kind of wedged in between several games with more involving storylines (on the high side) and several games that are too difficult, frustrating, or buggy (on the low side).

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