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Janey's Diary Reviews
Reviewed by A. Bomire
This is the second game written by BBBen, the winner of my 2004 mini-comp. It is a prequel to his first game: "The Sleep Over", which in itself is a prelude to his series: "Crossworlds". So, it is a prequel to a prelude, if that makes any sense. It is a really short game exploring the events spelled out in Janey's diary, which you (as the player) find in "The Sleep Over". The game is written in the past tense, as if it is something you are reading in a diary. This is an interesting effect, and kind of refreshing.
There is really only one puzzle in this game, and it doesn't make a lot of sense. It isn't really a puzzle, actually. It is just something you do that moves the game along. At the time you come across it, it is the only thing to do, so you do it, and then some other things happen. The rest of the game is pretty straight forward, with the descriptions and dialogue telling you where to go and what to do next.
There were a couple of typos in the game that I noticed, nothing major. Two things that were kind of annoying were the doors. There are two in the game, but neither is listed in the room description where they are located. Each is important as you are expected to interact with them, and you can "x door" and other things, so they aren't the completely invisible objects you run across in some games. I just wish they had been listed in the room description. In this game, and BBBen's previous game, the "kiss" command doesn't work. Instead you use "make out with". This would be annoying, but BBBen outlines the problem and the solution in his README, something I wish other authors would do when problems like this arise.
The sex is okay in this game. There are a couple of good scenes, coupled with some small, short descriptions of interactions between the girls. Unfortunately, the scenes are repeated, such that "Debbie rub lin's tits" gives the same result as "lin rub debbie's tits", which makes a short game seem even shorter. But, the longer scenes are well written, which go a long way to make up for the other shortcomings.
This short game has the feeling of an author still stretching his writing legs. Fortunately, BBBen's later works are much better.
Reviewed by A. Ninny
What I most like about Janey's Diary is that you really feel like you're reading the diary of a teenage girl. The game is written in first-person from Janey's perspective, like a diary would be, and the language has a teenage coming-of-age-innocence feel to it. The game's default on-screen font (Lucida Handwriting) is a flowy affair that is as reminiscent as possible of a girl's handwriting (but unfortunately lacks the open-circle dots over the i's and little hearts all over it).
The game is a lightweight sex romp. Debbie has taken it upon herself to school Janey in sex, and Lin is along for the ride - so the action is entirely made up of a lesbian three-way. Janey's wonder at being exposed to the new sensations is palpable as she tries to explain her reactions in her diary. The sex throughout is light and fun but not terribly satisfying. There are almost no technical frustrations or interruptions when it comes to keeping the action moving along. The only things that I really missed were the lack of descriptions of everyone's body parts, that most sex acts weren't reversible, and that the characters wouldn't rub their own tits or asses.
As I indicated, the sex is lighthearted in character, but is still fairly rich in detail and well-written. I wanted more things, though, like toys to play with and more oral sex, but as BBBen even said, Janey's Diary is mild and not too hardcore. I also wished for more reversible commands - in most cases "A lick B's tits" is equivalent to "B lick A's tits" - and this makes it seem like BBBen was taking shortcuts.
There were no major bugs, grammar or spelling errors in Janey's Diary but that doesn't mean it was technically clean. Its main problems are lack of anatomical vocabulary (cannot examine any character's body parts, including my own), and in several instances we are supposed to know things are there when they aren't mentioned (the door to Janey's mother's bedroom and the front door are examples). I also wished the standard 'nothing special' disclaimer could have been replaced with something more diary-like, such as 'Nothing about that interests me."
Janey's Diary doesn't have any puzzles, and game play is easy and continuous.
BBBen mentions several times in Janey's Diary that it is a prequel to the 'Normville' series, and that the characters will be back for more adventures. Janey's Diary does, I feel, serve as a good advertisement for those games.
For a short, lightweight little game, I feel that Janey's Diary works pretty well, and this is a testament to the author's writing skills in making the most with a limited palate. But the palate is limited because BBBen arbitrarily decided it should be, and as a whole, the game is only marginally satisfying, which leads me to give it a marginal grade.
Reviewed by Christopher Cole
This was an interesting idea, though I'm not convinced it worked. This very short game is a diary entry which tells the story of what happened when Janey's friends Debbie and Lin came over (as discovered by the PC when he read the diary in the game "Sleep Over"). Instead of just reading about it, you get to play Janey during the lesbian sexual experimentation.
I can see what BBBen was going for, and he's a good writer, but unfortunately the game itself doesn't ring true for me. That's a difficult thing to say when we're talking AIF, but I don't mean so much the story, as the layout of the game itself. In the readme, BBBen suggests it might be good to play "Sleep Over" first even though this is a prelude to that game. It is a prelude yes, but I think it's vitally important that you play "Sleep Over" first or you may not have any idea what is happening. I think this is because the story is sort of vague (which works in terms of this being a diary entry, but not in terms of being a well rounded, understandable story), and the NPCs are not very layered (again probably assuming you've already met them in "Sleep Over").
If you've played "Sleep Over", then the gameplay will make sense to you. If you haven't, you won't really know what's going on which could cause some serious problems in playability. The puzzles in this game are obvious, but at the same time not obvious. This mostly has to do with things I'll be addressing in the technical section of the game. The opening puzzle requires you to do something in the kitchen even though there is no hint whatsoever that you want to do this thing, other than the object is there.
The sex is very well written. It is the strongest point in the game and perhaps the one reason to play the game. Unfortunately it is not varied, but BBBen does mention this in his readme so there's no reason to complain since you should know it going into the game.
There are numerous glitches in the game. There are doors which are important to proceeding in the story that are not described in the room descriptions. It took me a while to realize I had to do things with these doors because I didn't know they were there.
On the other side of things, numerous items are described in room descriptions that aren't in the room (beds, toilets, showers, cabinets, carpets, etc).
There is a 'talk to' command in this game which is vital to forwarding the plot, but I didn't see this command explained anywhere (in the game or in the readme), and since the default in ADRIFT is 'ask NPC about THING', I needed to use the readme walkthrough to know what to do.
I feel that BBBen is one of the better 'new' AIF authors out there and his games are worth playing. I'm hoping he writes some new games, getting away from the characters/story established in his first games. He is a good writer, and that's what saves this particular game.
All in all, BBBen's writing saves this game and I think you should play it. However, I strongly suggest you play "Sleep Over" first, then perhaps this game, followed by the Crossworlds series. You can easily skip this game and still get the full story from BBBen's series of games.
Reviews should be considered copyrighted by their respective authors.
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