[IF Comp 2010] One Eye Open

(WARNING! Before I continue with this review, I would like to warn readers that the game I’m about to review contains textual descriptions of graphic violence, as well as adult language and other themes which may not be suitable for younger players.)

Horror themes are one of the more commonplace ones in the video game community, and interactive fiction is no exception.  I’ve played quite a few myself, some of which are pretty scary, while some are only scary in terms of their quality.  But I must say, One Eye Open by Colin Sandel and Carloyn VanEseltine, is a game that truly sets a new standard for the horror genre in the interactive fiction community.

The game sets you in the role of a test subject at a laboratory involving ESP and things of that nature.  What starts as another ordinary day on the job slowly starts to fall apart as things seem to change around you into something that looks like a spinoff of Konami’s Silent Hill. The further in you go, the darker it gets and the more becomes revealed.  It’s things like this that really make the game so gripping: It’s getting scarier by every moment, yet at the same time you find something new and you want to keep going to see what else will happen.

The general room descriptions and event details are rather large, but this is expected to be something from a game like this.  This isn’t something for your everyday IF game player, nor is it a game for the kiddies.  If this were an actual video game, odds are it would definitely get an M rating from the ESRB.  Some of the room descriptions actually have some graphic details to them, but they’re written in well so they fit with the atmosphere better.  Even minute things like senses of smell are included, making the game feel like you’re there.

Two notable tidbits for the game include the ability to use your ESP as a way of looking for hints, as well as archiving clues in a notebook so you can keep up with what’s happening as well as have a way of looking for clues in what you’ve gained.  This, combined with a gripping story and a mature theme makes One Eye Open a game that truly sets a new precedent for interactive fiction with a horror genre.


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