Interactive Fiction Review: Graveyard Shift At The Riverview Motel (2022, Seb Pines)

In Graveyard Shift At The Riverview Motel, you have what might be the worst job in the world.

You work the graveyard shift at the Riverview Motel.  The Riverview was once a quality establishment but it has since fallen on hard times.  You can spend your shift sitting at the front desk or you can go outside and smoke a cigarette.  If you get bored, you can step into the employee hallway and, moving the pictures on the wall aside, you can take a look in each of the six rooms and the people who are staying there.

Inside each room, a different story is playing out.  Which story you get involved in depends on how involved you want to get.  If you want to spend your entire shift sitting at the front desk, you can do that.  You’ll get hints about some of the strange things happening in the motel but you won’t be under any obligation to pursue them.  If you want to spend all of your time focusing on one room, you can do that as well.  If you want to go from room to room and catch snippets of all of the stories playing out at once, you can do that too.  It’s all up to you how involved you get.

Graveyard Shift at the Riverview Motel is an interactive text adventure, designed using Twine.  Because of the game’s format, it can be played several times and it rewards player who have the patience to do multiple walkthroughs.  The writing is clever and the sense of humor is acidic.  It captures the feeling of being at work and looking for anything to possibly distract from actually having to do your job.  I spent a few months working the graveyard shift to help pay for college and this game brought back some memories.  All of the stories that occur in the motel pay tribute to classic horror films and they all end in a properly macabre fashion.  One of my favorite aspects of the game was how blasé the desk clerk remained, regardless of what sort of strange things he was witnessing.  It doesn’t matter how many people die as long as you can clock out when your shift is over.

There is a learning curve with the game.  Several turns make up a minute in game time and, unfortunately, if you stay in one location (like the front desk or the parking lot) for that entire minute, then the same description is repeated over and over again until the next minute begins.  So, if you’re in the front lobby and a man storms in and says something strange, remaining in the lobby means that same action will seemingly happen over and over again.  When this first occurred, I thought the game itself was freezing on me and I nearly stopped playing.  Eventually, I realized what the problem was and, after a while, I just made sure to keep walking from location to location until the next minute began.  I think this is something that could be fixed whenever the game is updated and I hope it will be because it was really the only problem I had with this playing experience.

Play Graveyard Shift at the Riverview Motel.

One response to “Interactive Fiction Review: Graveyard Shift At The Riverview Motel (2022, Seb Pines)

  1. Pingback: Lisa Marie’s Week In Review: 5/30/22 — 6/5/22 | Through the Shattered Lens

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