A Wolf in Autumn: Finely Built Nightmare & Dreamscape

David Szymanski is an auteur game developer whose games share a distinctly weird flair. Having now played all four of his games—Fingerbones, The Moon Sliver, The Music Machine and A Wolf in Autumn—I’ve gained a better idea of what he is about as a developer.

A Szymanski game is an interactive short narrative dealing with dark subjects, rolled out in a nonlinear fashion and often leaving much to player interpretation. Thematically they are concerned with death, pain, family and survival. One might describe the quintessential Szymanski experience as Lynchian. In point of fact all Szymanski’s games lack save features to make the player complete each game in one sitting, a nod to David Lynch’s films lacking scene selection in their DVD iterations.

This is to say, I know where Syzmanski is coming from now. I know what to expect and can hone my expectations accordingly. My review of The Music Machine lacked this understanding and operates more as a beginner’s reaction to Syzmanski’s work. This review of A Wolf in Autumn stems from a mind much more seasoned to the weirdness and horror of Syzmanski’s game worlds.

Read the rest here.

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About Bryan Cebulski

Historian, critic, author. Undercover queer. Aspiring P&C adventure protagonist. Collects bad habits like Jessica Rabbit.
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