IF Comp 2012: Body Bargain (Amanda Lange)

Body Bargain is a parser-based game of medical horror, featuring a wide variety of possible outcomes. As usual, the jump will be followed by non-spoilery comments; then if I have anything spoilery to say, there will be spoiler space. The fact that I am reviewing it at all indicates that there are beta-testers.

I have really mixed feelings about this one. On the one hand, as far as I was able to get myself to play, it was decently implemented. Judging from the walkthrough there were a large number of different possible outcomes, depending on which sides you decide to take in the story, and which fell out of different combinations of actions. I like that kind of design. And thematically, it touches on some non-trivial issues, to do with the ways that people use or abuse, feel at home in or rebel against their bodies. Those are important and interesting topics.

The thing is — maybe I’m just Flinchy McFlincherson, maybe I’m relying too heavily on mealtimes to play these games because of an otherwise busy schedule — but this is not the first game this comp where the goriness of what I was being asked to do simply turned my stomach. Body Bargain places the protagonist in a clinic that does severe body modifications and part-replacements. To that end, asks the player to participate, repeatedly, in dismembering other characters with scalpels and saws. It’s detailed and it’s horrific. There’s blood and bone and flayed skin and detached body parts, described at length, over and over again. This goriness isn’t some sort of incidental element in one scene that you could kind of skim past quickly in order to get back to playing. It’s the point of the game.

Anyway, I thought it was interesting enough that I did type in a couple of the walkthroughs to see what secrets the game had in store, while trying to attend as little as possible to the arm-removals and peeling people’s skin off in strips and so forth. A gore-horror fan would probably have a fantastic time with this thing. (And if you did like it, I recommend you try One Eye Open from a couple years back, which is also medical-ish horror with a very bushy structure and lots of possible outcomes.)

But oh, man, it’s really not to my tastes. I’m still feeling a smidge nauseated as I type this.

One thought on “IF Comp 2012: Body Bargain (Amanda Lange)

  1. Pingback: IF Comp 2012 Final Roundup and Thoughts | Emily Short's Interactive Storytelling

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