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#88496 - 02/19/03 12:10 AM Ceremony of Innocence
Bryansmom Offline
Addicted Boomer

Registered: 02/18/02
Posts: 1522
Loc: Indiana
Ceremony of Innocence
Windows 95/Macintosh CD-Rom by Real World MultiMedia Ltd., 1997

System Req. for Windows: Pentium, Microsoft Windows 95, 16 Mb RAM, 16-bit color, 640x480 resolution, CD-ROM drive, Quicktime 2.1 (included), RSX and DirectX (included), Soundblaster 16 or compatible sound card, headphones or speakers. I could not load this game on Win XP, but played it without a single problem on my computer with Win 95.

I thought I would write a review of this amazing CD-Rom. It isn't an adventure game in the truest sense, but it is an adventure of the mind and it tells a story, so I feel it deserves to be reviewed in case someone sees it and wonders about it.

The story is based on the trilogy of the fictional letters and postcards from Griffin and Sabine by Nick Bantock. You can tell the game is special right away because the box is unusual. It is a square box, red and black with the image of half a yellow sun and half a blue moon on the front. The front of the box shows a mask and a boy climbing and words, handwritten and typed. The back of the box shows screen shots from the game and this description: "Immerse yourself in a mysterious interactive love story, told through the intense correspondence between Griffin, a young artist from London and Sabine, his enigmatic South Sea Island muse. The twisting narrative sweeps you through a series of sensationally dark and humorous interactive riddles and compelling film sequences contained within 75 letters and postcards. More than two hours of original soundtrack enhances the story with a haunting dance of voice, imagery and music. The journey through Ceremony of Innocence is an intensely personal experience -- each participant will have a unique emotional response to the haunting relationship of Griffin and Sabine." I wish I had written that description myself. In fact, I wish I had written the entire game, or the book trilogy. When you open the box to start your adventure, you find a plain black interior on one side with a recessed square that holds a jewel case, and the recess has a tab that you pull to get the jewel case out of the box. I found that choice interesting, because it is a sort of illustration for the concept of the game. The game consists of 75 letters and postcards that represent correspondence between a man and a woman, separated by land and ocean. To access each of these cards and letters, you have to activate them, and that reminds me of the tab that must be pulled to receive the jewel case in the first place, and the fact that you have to remove the CD from the jewel case to access the information inside.....you get the picture. If you are looking for difficult puzzles to open the letters and cards, you will be disappointed. The triggers aren't made to frustrate or distract you from the story that is being told. They are meant to highlight a theme contained within the trigger, or to evoke an emotion or just pure pleasure in watching the beauty or darkness of the message unfold.

When the letters and cards are opened or activated, they are read aloud by Paul McGann (Griffin), Isabella Rossellini (Sabine) and Ben Kingsley (another character later in the story--I don't want to spoil anything!). As I listened, I couldn't believe how perfect the choices were for the voice actors. I've never really noticed Paul McGann before, but his haunting rich voice with delicious English accent was enough to make me scurry to the computer to look up everything he has done, so that I can hear that voice again!

You might be wondering what the purpose of this game is, and all I can say is that it is just for enjoyment. Have you ever had the urge to read a letter or diary that someone has written? Wouldn't it be even more enjoyable to not only see the letter, but to also hear the author read it, hear the emotion in his or her voice? There is a mystery about this couple and as each letter or card is opened (with its stunning art work) the mystery has twists and turns that have to be interpreted and absorbed. I've only played it once and I'm not sure I've gotten even half of what the pictures might have represented, or why the words were presented to me in a particular way.

If you like to look at beautiful things, listen to enchanting voices and read books just for the pleasure of it, then I can heartily recommend this haunting adventure/game/experience. I don't think you will be disappointed.

-Beth
_________________________
What lies behind you and what lies before you are tiny matters compared to what lies within you.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson

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#88497 - 02/19/03 01:01 AM Re: Ceremony of Innocence
Mad Online   content
True Blue Boomer

Registered: 11/21/00
Posts: 23303
Loc: United Kingdom
Hi.

I really enjoyed this "game" and found it VERY addictive rolleyes

Nice review, thanks laugh

Cheers.

Mad wave
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#88498 - 02/19/03 09:03 AM Re: Ceremony of Innocence
gatorlaw Offline
Adept Boomer

Registered: 11/01/99
Posts: 10308
I really enjoyed this interactive adventure. In fact I now have all the books that are the source of material for the game. Great series.

I am so glad to see your review of this game. You are right about even the presentation (box and such) sets the tone for what is to follow. I do think this has a lot of replay value as there are so many things to discover or uncover about the postcards and such.

EDIT:

I was at Borders and found a book that is the total collection. It has all the postcards in the book - like a scrap book. You can open the envelopes and pull things out. It is so enthralling. I got one for my Mom last Christmas and of course - one for myself smile

Like going through an old trunk in an attic and finding all these letters from a long ago time and world.

Had to come back and add a link to the Griffin and Sabine site. Griffin & Sabine

It is such a magical series of books. smile

Laura
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#88499 - 04/07/03 02:24 AM Re: Ceremony of Innocence
maryc64 Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 11/11/02
Posts: 821
Loc: SNOHOMISH, WA
I am not clear. Do you see cut-scenes or great scenery during the dialogues/monologues? Is this a rare game? Do you consider the visual parts beautiful? I believe you said so. Is it reality or alternate reality based? Sorry if my questions are basic. Where can I get this? Can one still purchase it? Guess I need to do searches.
Belong to GTZ. Just need to re-activate account as I got abusive emailer out of Belgium. Beware of the Dr. there.
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maryc64

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#88500 - 04/29/03 11:13 PM Re: Ceremony of Innocence
Bryansmom Offline
Addicted Boomer

Registered: 02/18/02
Posts: 1522
Loc: Indiana
Hi, Mary
The make up of the game is really different, so it is a little hard to visualize unless you see it in person. The game is based on letters and postcards that are sent between two people (and later a third person sends a couple of them). You will see the postcard or letter on the screen, and usually the letters are in envelopes. You have to figure out how to "activate" the postcard, open the envelope or open the letter. Sometimes there is a little animation going on in the postcard or letter before you open it, and there is usually beautiful music that fits the mood. Often, the music is sort of pacific island in nature. Sometimes it reminds you more of England. The animation may be a little bird on a stamp flapping its wings or a little drawing of a person climbing, or maybe the finger of a man on a postcard could be tapping. You have to use your cursor to explore the postcard or envelope, maybe sweeping the cursor all of the way to the side of the screen to get the postcard to turn over, maybe dragging something from one place to another on the card, maybe nudging something until it works. Then the animation will come alive and you will see the full animation, and after that the postcard or letter will look normal (usually, unless it has a special touch of an animation still going on). When the postcard is activated and then looks normal, the character will begin speaking, but you never see the actual characters; you just hear their beautiful, perfect-for-the-character voices. There are never actually movies of the actors. Sometimes there are little animated images that pass across the screen. The reward for figuring out how to open or activate the postcard is hearing the letter read (and you get to see the letter or postcard and its handwriting or typing, too). Sometimes when the character is reading the letter, the writing will move or be arranged in an artistic way. I hope this isn't confusing you more, but it is hard to describe. It isn't so much a game as an interactive story with artwork.
I noticed that sometimes people do list this game on the Trading Post here on Gameboomers; in fact, one is there now. I'm sorry I didn't write earlier, but I just realized someone posted in this thread!!
Happy gaming,
Beth
_________________________
What lies behind you and what lies before you are tiny matters compared to what lies within you.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson

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#88501 - 04/30/03 05:13 AM Re: Ceremony of Innocence
Betje Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 08/30/02
Posts: 334
Loc: the Netherlands
Mary, there's a lovely demo of the game on-line. You can download the first two cards at:

http://realworld.on.net/rwmm/ceremony/

Beth, so far the author has produced five books featuring Griffin and Sabine. smile Lots of info and great stuff at http://www.nickbantock.com/

Betje
_________________________
The beaded curtain slams shut behind you. There's no turning back now...

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#88502 - 05/15/03 07:03 AM Re: Ceremony of Innocence
Jude Offline
Addicted Boomer

Registered: 07/01/00
Posts: 1082
Loc: E Sussex UK
Great review of a treasure of a game. Wish there were more "experiences" like this out there.
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