Screenshots: The Library of Last Resort

Posted filed under Projects.

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Screenshots is a regular feature by Simon Groth, highlighting a project, app, or other resource of interest.

The Library of Last Resort
by Matt Finch

The Library of Last Resort is a ruse.

You’d be forgiven at first for thinking this is a standard text-based branching-narrative game, a multiple-choice point-and-click that harks back to thousands of works across the web and earlier to those ubiquitous children’s books from the 70s and 80s.

(Not sure what books I mean? Turn to page 32).

Gameplay and strategic navigation are not my forte, but despite getting lost on more than one occasion, I was able to delve deeper into the story, exploring its setting and absorbing the philosophies that inform its design. The Library of Last Resort charms and intrigues in equal measures, unfolding in an organic and almost accidental way: whims lead to questions that coalesce into mysteries that draw you further in.

But story and simple interactivity proves merely an entrée into something far more profound when The Library of Last Resort essentially rejects its own premise, breaks out from the screen, and demands you interact with the real world. Getting to the end of this game means visiting some unexpected places while contemplating the nature of play, narrative, and reality itself. That it manages to do this while never losing its sense of escapism and fun makes it all the more remarkable.

Simon Groth is a writer and editor whose works include Infinite Blue (with Darren Groth) and Hunted Down and Other Tales (with Marcus Clarke). He currently completing work on Ex Libris, a novel where every copy contains a unique order of chapters.

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