Galatea by Emily Short

Emily Short's description:

A conversation with a work of art. "47. Galatea. White Thasos marble. Non-commissioned work by the late Pygmalion of Cyprus. (The artist has since committed suicide.) Originally not an animate. The waking of this piece from its natural state remains unexplained."

Galatea is my first released foray into interactive fiction. It is a single conversation with a single character, which can end any of a number of ways depending on the player's decisions. Despite its age, I continue to get strong reactions to it in my email inbox on a fairly regular basis. Some people love it; some people find it annoying or distressing.

Galatea has what I call a multilinear plot: unlike traditional IF, it has no single path to victory. Instead there are a large number of endings, some more satisfactory than others, of which many could be considered "win" states. It takes only a few minutes of play to arrive at an ending, but considerably longer to find all of them.

The game also takes an ambitious approach to NPC (non-player character) conversation, both in terms of volume (Galatea has many hundreds of things to say) and complexity (she keeps track of the state of conversation and reacts differently according to what has already been said and done).
Information in this game listing is copyright Michael R. Bacon, Eriorg, Emily Boegheim, Emily Short, Edward Lacey, is taken from IFDB, and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.
Review by Tundealion
19 Jun 2020
Played this game years ago before I made an account. The commands were confusing but the story was excellent!

Review by Thecatofallcats
28 May 2020
Confusing and very rough. I can't even say "Hi". I have to say "Hello." I can't ask what age she is, or anything of the like. All I can do is spam phrases and hope she understands.

Review by Rose Hale
14 Mar 2019
I thought I'd give this a try for fun and ended up getting sucked in for about an hour. The ending I got was pretty satisfying, and I liked figuring out what to say to continue the conversation, it makes you think.

Review by mick green
02 Feb 2019
I gave this five stars because it's the first IF I've played that made me care about conversing with a character in a meaningful way. I always like it when story unfolds through dialogue as well. You have to ASK about or Tell about so its quite simple - listen to what she says and pick up on key words. There are nice little goals that flash up for future plays and an interesting development. I suppose what's happening in the game in many ways is what's happening in reality - your talking to a work of art. To enjoy it you need to feel empathy and be intrigued by her story. Now I shut up.

Review by WarriorsSN
27 Jun 2018
I was lost. I did not know what i was doing and just kept speaking randomly. Galatea also said random things so i need help if i were to rate this game higher. for me, i just didn't understand, but i think it COULD have been a great game. it was just very confusing for me. help!

Review by Disrupta
21 Jun 2018
This IF is remarkably phenomenal! I had a deep conversation with Galatea that offered me great insight on her creator and her thoughts of him. Her responses to your own flowed seamlessly with your interaction with the world and character. I think the writing for this is very well done, and I commend the creator on their philosophy and characters. I have seen several different routes and I must say, each one is golden.

Review by CheerfulMusical
21 Jun 2018
This game was amazing! I've played it multiple times to see the different endings I could find, and each time I played.... I was surprised and impressed with the story...!!

Beautiful Writing style, great detail, just an overall fantastic game!! Definitely worth the time.

Review by airshipcity
16 Jun 2018
Perhaps my forever favorite IF in the world. Emily Short is a true genius of IF whose every work pushes the boundaries of the genre, and Galatea especially is an intriguing maze of conversations, careful listening, patience, and interpersonal engagement that feels deeply intimate and surprisingly intuitive. Whenever you think you've got this game figured out, you discover a path or order of actions you hadn't considered yet, and find yourself on a wildly different adventure that continues to spin a web of possibility. The game encourages exploration and creativity in your commands and your questions, reacting to a wild array of keywords and letting you approach subjects from many different angles; where other games have you guessing wildly for what will allow you to progress, Galatea is a one-room sandbox beyond simple description. Truly a must-play for anyone who enjoys IF, and for anyone who thinks text adventures sound boring and straightforward.

Review by By Crom
15 Apr 2018
I love Emily Short's IF. Very creative, though sometimes it's hard to know what commands would work. I'm glad she provided a help command to give clues.

Review by deadroses
23 Feb 2018
trash im deleting

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Written by
Emily Short
External Link
Published 2000
Listing added 12 Jan 2014

IFDB listing