Another IF Comp review, following my format for this comp. There is a cut, then any spoiler-free comments I have, and then spoiler space, and then more detailed feedback that assumes the reader has tried the game.
But first, we have some obligatory filler to try to make sure that the RSS summary does not accidentally contain any review. Filler, filler, la la la…
Okay. Here we go.
Actually, I don’t have much of a non-spoilery nature to say about this. It’s unusual, in that it’s using game format to do something other than entertain; so if your question from the non-spoilery part of the review is “is this a fun thing to play?” then the answer is no. But that’s not what the author was trying to achieve.
On to the spoilers, then:
The use of IF to demonstrate what life is like from someone else’s point of view for pedagogical rather than fictional reasons is an interesting idea. It ties in a bit with some of the work on teaching history via IF that high school teachers and college professors have been contacting me about recently. The pieces of educational IF of this kind that I’ve seen so far are mostly student projects in which the student is challenged to write about (and therefore to research thoroughly) a setting and the attitudes of the people who would live in it.
“Freedom” takes that same kind of idea — IF as insight into other ways of seeing and being in the world — in a new direction. It’s a clever concept, and particularly well-suited for interactive text; it would be harder to get the same effect in a graphical work.
I also applaud the author’s courage in pursuing that goal.
What’s unfortunate is that the implementation didn’t convey as much as (I think) it was intended to, because most of my interactions weren’t actually all that awful. More rigorous handling of the grocery store scene (I managed to check out without getting in too much trouble, which may have been a bug) and writing that went into more depth about what this condition is actually like, and you might have something pretty compelling on your hands.