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Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007
:siren: :toot: :siren: Week CCC: Letís Make a Void! :siren: :toot: :siren:

For three hundred weeks, Thunderdome has lovingly served the Void by recounting highly true and accurate tales from the world-famous Voidmart megastore. Occasionally other stories are told, but I think we all know Thunderdome is at its finest as a vehicle for Voidmart. As CEO, I am pleased to provide yet another thrilling opportunity for you, my Voidlings, to once more celebrate the indefatigably celebratable megastore of our hearts.

This week, you are going to write stories in shared fictional world of Voidmart!

What is Voidmart?

Voidmart is an improbably large superstore that sells goods ranging from diapers to guns to exotic lifeforms. The average customer will, in their lifetime, only explore a fraction of Voidmart's extensive sales floor. It's known for having the most loyal and happy employees, or else. :) :) :)

A bit about the setting

This is pretty much the same as the previous two Voidweeks:


Voidmart is huge. It puts all other megastores to shame in both size and range of products offered.

For a big-box store, it's not actually very boxy. In fact, its roof is oddly dome-shaped. Fluorescent lights hang from beams that criss-cross above the many, many aisles.

There are cameras everywhere, and security is top notch. Still, there are spots where even the all-seeing eye of loss prevention cannot look.

Management lurks in a foreboding office at the top of a dark flight of stairs. I'm not too fussed about where in particular those stairs are located in the store.

Voidmart's in-house coffee brand is called Golden Bean. A Golden Bean cafe is located near the front of the store, so customers can energize themselves and shop longer.


Job descriptions

In previous years, I, your beloved CEO, have gorgeously assigned each of you a role within the idyllic, egalitarian hierarchy of Voidmart. This time, however, Iím letting you choose your own role, department, or customer archetype. The only restriction is that the majority of your story must take place inside Voidmart or on Voidmart grounds.

You might choose to be a customer, an employee, a member of senior staff, or perhaps even an infiltrator from a rival company! Rrrr! There is no restriction on genre; Voidmart is huge enough to encompass everything from paranormal romance to sci-fi to realism. (However, even the Voidmart CEO has the taste and sense to ban goon erotica from the aisles.)


While it is perfectly acceptable to work independently this week, you are encouraged to collaborate with your fellow Voidlings! This can be done in big or small groups, via IRC, email, PM, Google Docs, or whatever platform youíre most comfortable with. Please keep in mind that your story must stand on its own, even if you use people or events from other writersí stories. The winner will be the person who writes the best piece, regardless of whether or not they collaborated.

If you are looking for people to work with, consider hopping onto #Thunderdome on SynIRC and asking around.

We here at Voidmart value the autonomy and integrity of our employees and will never ever infiltrate your collaborative groups!



In celebration of Voidmartís recent acquisition of Monty Hallís soul, we are giving YOU, dear Voidlings, the chance to go home with a fabulous flash rule! If you would like a shot at an incredible prize, simply choose one of the three doors:

Your prizes* will be revealed on Thursday. Participation in this aspect of the week is optional. You are welcome to simply write Voidmart vanilla. All contributions honor the Void! However, the senior staff has hand-selected some of the finest spontaneous specimens available for those who wish to add a dash of daring to their odes to the oligarchy.

*May not contain actual prizes

This week is all weird, what do I get if I win??

The winner of this week gets a prize! The winner of week 299 judges week 301.

No erotica, no screeds, no google docs, no poetry, no bullshit.

Please clock in by: 23:59:59PM US Pacific time on May 4th, 2018
Please have your work completed by: 23:59:59PM US Pacific time on May 6th, 2018
Please write no more than: 1200 words
Your judges are: Sitting Here, Kaishai, TBA
Loyal Employees:

Sitting Here fucked around with this message at 02:11 on May 3, 2018


Oct 20, 2011

Lovely night, no?
Grimey Drawer
In and hit me with what's behind this door:

Jan 27, 2006
Voidmart weeks churn out gluts of inane shittrash, what's wrong with you people?

In with door #1

Jay W. Friks
Oct 4, 2016

Got Out.
Grimey Drawer

Role: Customer
Department: Costume Store
Customer Archetype: Lost/looking for exit.

I'll take what's behind Door #1

Mar 7, 2006

"So you Jesus?"

"And you black?"

"Nigga prove it!"

And so Black Jesus turned water into a bucket of chicken. And He saw that it was good.


Apr 21, 2010

Deceitful and black-hearted, perhaps we are. But we would never go against the Code. Well, perhaps for good reasons. But mostly never.
In, door #2

May 7, 2005

Clocking in and requesting door 3 please thank you

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

Door 3, in me

Nov 24, 2006

Grimey Drawer
I don't suppose I could buy my own door there and have it be door 4.

Edit: This is what I have in mind.

RandomPauI fucked around with this message at 22:04 on Apr 30, 2018

Oct 30, 2003
In, but don't tell my manager

Gimme door 2.

Apr 11, 2012
In, door one.

Dr. Kloctopussy
Apr 22, 2003

"It's DIE!"
Walking in, but never out, through door #3

Sep 7, 2011

Seven for beauty that blossoms and dies

In, with door #3

Dec 30, 2011

I wanna sing one for the cars
That are right now headed silent down the highway
And it's dark and there is nobody driving And something has got to give

In, and I'll brave Door #2

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007
:twisted: More details about the door prizes will be forthcoming later! :twisted:

In the meantime, if you would like an instant flash rule, I will be handing out different Voidmart products that you can use to inspire or enhance your story. You can take this flashrule in addition to a door OR instead of a door (and as always you can choose to not take any of the flashrule options).

The product should probably be important to your story in some way, but if you can somehow pull off using the product as inspiration only, godspeed.

Sep 7, 2011

Seven for beauty that blossoms and dies

I would like to serve the void by taking a fine and elegant Voidmart Product flash rule.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007

cptn_dr posted:

I would like to serve the void by taking a fine and elegant Voidmart Product flash rule.

New, from Voidmart, it's...

Nihilittles: The macabre baby doll!

Nov 15, 2012

What will you say when
your child asks:
why did you fail Thunderdome?
:siren: Videogame Week Crits :siren:

Hello thank you for writing here are the crits please don't ban me well bye

Ashes Ė Freakie
Right so this was a very solid story. Iíve heard from multiple people more familiar with your work that this was a significant improvement for you personally. So donít take losing your duel as meaning that this was in any way bad. It was just very, very straightforward. Like I was reading the after-action report to a fetch quest that happens in the setting of Diablo, the video game.

When youíre new to writing, your first job is learn to write a straightforward story well. So good on you for doing that, but eventually you want to transcend that goal and give your stories more: more heart, more character, more unique settings. Something that makes people think back at what you wrote and go, ďOh yeah, remember that story where [...]. That was cool.Ē But itís hard. I still canít really do it.

The fight didnít make much sense to me, like I still have notes written down about how I expected her to die when the massive demon of ultra death slammed her into the wall but in hindsight he was kind of a pushover wasnít he. Having her deal with the demon in a more unique way, in a way that maybe only she could do, because of the kind of person she is, that might have been one good opportunity to show us more about the character we are reading about.

I didnít get the significance of the figure at the end. Other than that I think most of the problems you had here will go away with enough writing practice.

Time Flies Like a Bullet Ė Thranguy
It was probably unfair to give this to you since Max Payne is one of my all-time favorite games and I love noir stories so you couldnít have much hosed this up short of writing ďMax Payne sucks lolĒ three hundred times in a row. I think the idea you had was well executed, the writing was very much like the kind of thing youíd get out of Max Payne, but that being said, I think you ended up borrowing ideas more heavily from your source game than most others did, so I went away not sure if I havenít read some weird kind of Max Payne ripoff after all. Maybe you felt boxed in because I gave you a game that was so story-driven.

90% of the story happens in retrospect which usually means youíve written a bad thing but in this case you tried to tie it together with the whole bullet travel thing, so at least you give him a reason to reminisce about his Raymond Chandler novel of a life. It puts your story in this weird place where reading it feels fine but then youíre at the end and you realize itís just been a whole load of hoopla because not much is actually happening and to be quite honest the flashbacks arenít really worth it either with how generic everything is. The ending is in the same boat: he makes a choice, itís tragic, heís a cool guy. But then I take a step back and think, wait, this doesnít actually resolve anything. So the more I analyze this the more I come away from it thinking this was actually a mixed bag and youíre just really good at writing in a noir tone.

Indistinguishable Ė Fumblemouse
Like a true round of Space Station 13 this began very promising and then, instantly and without warning, imploded into a flaming mess of plasma farts. And itís a shame because this started really, really strong. You took just the right things out of your prompt and added just the right weird poo poo of your own. The wizardís hangup with technology is funny, and the entire intro scene has great pacing and inside jokes that even work from the outside.

Then comes the scene transition, and you start explaining your jokes, and you cut away from when the wizard explains whatís going on just so you can be ďOk so hereís what the wizard saidĒ and do it in a flashback 5 minutes after the fact and the whole thing could probably just be replaced with an audio recording of a balloon slowly and noisily deflating. Itís still okay but next to your brilliant intro it reads amateurish, like youíve run out of time so instead of solving your storytelling problems by introducing even more cool new ideas or working with the good poo poo that was already there you slapped some band-aid on the whole thing and cruised it into the harbor just before it could sink. Honk.

The Effects of Stressors on the Creativity Displayed in Simple Logic Problems Ė Apophenium
Donít have much to say about this because itís pretty much a one-trick pony story about a man descending into madness. It wasnít offensive, but if you want to write about someone losing their sanity, it has to be plausible. You donít just wake up and, whoops, now youíre suddenly crazy. Itís a downward spiral. You start having weird hangups, and then your brain connects these dots to other weird poo poo in unexpected ways and what Iím saying is, if you want to write a story about a dude going apeshit there has to be buildup before he finally snaps or it doesnít feel earned. Youíve missed a whole bunch of beats there.

Maybe this would work better if I got a feeling for why his evaluation matters so much to him in the beginning, understand what kind of person he is. Without that itís just missing something. Stories about people going insane for the sake of going insane are plentiful and in low demand.

The Rightful Heir Ė BabyRyoga
This hurts me personally because the writing here is actually pretty good but you waste it on all this I donít know what the gently caress hokey pokey bullshit. Like whatís the point of the story? Is it about the experiment? Then why do I never find out what the experiment is? Is it about the personal dynamics of research teams? Then why are none of these people interesting, and why is there no protagonist? I feel like maybe this was supposed to be a comedy story, except there is no story, and nothing makes sense. Obviously youíre not supposed to explain your setting at me, but it needs to make sense from the lense through which I see it, which is the story you tell. And all Iím seeing here is a bunch of eggheads going ďZeta Delta Zeta DeltaĒ while a teenage kid gets eaten by a monster for some reason. Then THE ADMIRAL marches in and spits at people. The End.

Like how did they even get the monster out there if they didnít have clearance to make monsters that big. How is that not loving with the scientific process of whatever experiment they are conducting to completely break with protocol? How is that experiment supposed to work anyway if itís two teams trying to one-up each other by breaking the rules? And why are the handlers teenagers?

Honestly it feels like you were just trying to take the piss out of Pokemon but didnít know how.

Call of Duty Ė big scary monsters
Looking back at it I remember this being confusing in part, which explains why my notes say ďWhatĒ a bunch of times. Like by the end it makes sense, but until then itís such a rollercoaster because at first itís just about Aslak crashing in the arctic desert or whatever and the writing is cool as hell but then heís suddenly alluding to him running from someone and suddenly he mentions trolls and Iím like, what setting is this??? And then thereís elves and finally itís like, ok, I get it. But itís a bit too late and I donít know if the story wouldnít have worked better if youíd been more upfront about Aslak being a Santa Claus hostage. I mean I liked this as a story of a guy crashing and almost freezing to death and the shift to weird fantasy poo poo made it jarring.

I didnít know how to rate this then and I donít know now. Itís decently written, but needs editing. The ending is clever, but the story starts making sense too late. It kinda works, but that feels like more an accident than the crash you had in the beginning.

Phoenix Sonata Ė Kaishai
This story is peak Kaishai. Beautifully written, you know how to do fantasy and I wouldnít be surprised to read something like this in an anthology novel. Iím not sure how I feel about that though since thatís more or less your thing and I donít feel like you tried to push the envelope here. You did what you do best, and you did it flawlessly, as you often do. That being said Iíve read stories from you, where I donít really get whatís going on underneath all the esoteric language. This was a very clear piece with a concise narrative and if nothing else I applaud you for knowing your audience. Also itís not like this had no ideas. The whole idea of how the phoenix interacts with the ghosts that haunt its living space is pretty dope and leads to a very interesting conflict at the end. Ironically, your characters are more likeable and human than a lot of other stories that werenít about ghosts and mythical creatures managed this week.

I think the one actual flaw was the appearance of the human. It felt rushed, a forced plot beat at the last possible second. I didnít like how the phoenix immediately knew it was a human because apparently a single breeze indicated the presence of a human more than just hearing their footsteps or doors being opened, because wind is not a thing in a decrepit ruin. And wouldnít you know it the phoenix is only seconds away from retirement too oh no I mean come on now

Other than that you pretty much did your thing and wrote a beautiful and haunted piece with a good amount of weight behind it. This was a good week too so make this notch in your writing feather a particularly deep one.

This is so loving badass. The language is punchy, the idea is original, I mean a story about aliens who capture a resistance fighter to learn the human language one ominous word at a time, thatís pretty neat for a concept and thatís the kind of chutzpah we need around here. This had edges, and grit, and I loved it for that.

Even with how much I ended up liking the week, I am a man with a very short attention span, so take it as a big compliment when I say that I read this, attentively, from start to finish. It just had that kind of language and drive that keeps you wanting to read on. It was fresh. The way you tied in the flashbacks was clever, and the usage was subtle. It kept me interested.

The one thing we all had a problem with was the ending. It reads like sheís managed to free herself but then somehow slipped back into her restraints. None of us were sure why. The going theory was that she wasnít confident that she could escape right now, but that she would sit there biding her time. Fair enough, but it didnít translate over to us. Also we werenít sure how your prompt tied into this except for maybe saying sheís trapped in castle, which is a bit thin if you donít mind me saying.

I still absolutely love this and now that I think about it this is a good example of how to write a vignette.

Rage Quit, Restart Ė The Saddest Rhino
So this is about one of the rats from Bad Rats discovering that heís in Bad Rats. You dullard! Didnít you read the prompt? This is a rhetorical question. I know you didnít because you told me.

Now the first problem with fanfic here is that the way you wrote it apparently depends a lot on knowing how the actual game works, because I donít, and it confused me for a while because it reads like the rats are supposed to kill the cat and the player tries to do it by placing a rat whose only skill is to blow itself up underneath the bomb. Like literally nothing they do ever leads to anything else than them blowing themselves up so wtf kinda game is this supposed to be?

Ignoring that, I guess the whole idea of one of the rats meeting its copy and then coming to an epiphany is okay, although I think they freaked out a little bit too quickly for playing pieces who seem to have been indoctrinated in some way. The idea of going the Third Way and just refusing to act is also okay, although I donít understand how a video game figure who takes input from the player would do that. But then Iím obviously overthinking the mechanics. So letís take this at face value and just say, okay, the whole moment of both of them waking up and dealing with their realizations in different ways is interesting. But then the game just restarts. So what power does the invisible player in the background have after all? He can respawn the figures but not control them? gently caress, this is so weird.

Whatever man itís your fanfic they donít pay me to figure this poo poo out

Same Ė flerp
This was very heartfelt but in a week that had space wizards and phoenixes falling in love with ghosts a small scene from a romantic tragedy is just not cutting it. For what itís worth, if this was supposed to be some kind of writing practice then I think you did well enough. The characters feel human and thereís a kind of subtle dramatic undercurrent running through the whole piece that elevates it beyond what from most other domers would just be two talking heads.

This could be cooler if it wouldnít just be one small scene that exists in a vacuum. You donít always need to write full-blown stories for TD but I do think whatís there needs to have some kind of punchline and itís that lack of maybe just one more beat that, in my opinion, keeps this from being really good. Because without any more context I canít do more than to vaguely guess at the circumstances in which these characters interact with each other, so it doesnít really tell me much. Again, as just writing, this was okay, but as a piece of fiction, itís lacking.

Also I donít understand how this connects to Minesweeper on more than a metaphysical level.

The Die Is Cast Ė Uranium Phoenix
This could have been cool if youíd not gotten bogged down in worldbuilding details and instead focused on one or two core ideas and made those plausible and built the story around that. Because as it is, itís not very interesting and doesnít make any sense. Why are there pain receptors, and why are they only turning them off mid-battle? How are the elite just randomly starting to sacrifice hundreds/thousands of the worker class, and that same worker class watches these fights and apparently theyíre just like ďAyyup, sweet.Ē And whereís the meat of the story? If youíre being really strict here the actual plot only happens in scenes of Pharah and Reinhardt verbally disagreeing at each other and then thereís some mediocre action scenes inbetween.

So next time ditch the extraneous details and give me a person with a problem that I can relate to before you start wanking me to the sounds of scifi pewpew mumbojumbo. Who are these people and why do they feel the way they feel? Show me what they do about it. Make me feel it too. Then I will care about your world, and as an added bonus, you can make it a much simpler one, that makes more sense and has more of a point.

Also lol: ďWell Iím starting the rebellionĒ

Infinite spin Ė sebmojo
I wasnít quite sure what this was until the end, and i admit it gave me laugh but I wonder if it was worth it, as I always do with stories where every single thing makes more sense on a second read-through. It also doesnít explain how Barry seemingly knows everyone in the house but nobody knows him. So the whole thing was very confusing, and while it was interesting I think you cheated and made your prose do the heavy lifting until poo poo started hitting the fan in the last third of the story, which, ironically, is also where it starts making sense.

The whole thing is pretty crazy and somehow youíre one of the few people here who can write cool and interesting poo poo even if itís not heartfelt at all but just kinda bizarre and stupid. I guess that makes you the master of Thunderdome Absurdism or something. Anyway, you won your duel, but you didnít really take many risks save for obviously starting to write at the last possible moment like the beautiful slacker that you are.

Brothers and Sisters Ė Dr. Kloctopussy
I actually liked this better than sebmojoís story at first, but then I did some thinking and realized that you mostly just got a lot of goodwill because your interpretation of Tetris was so cool. But then you get to the actual story and where sebmojo writes a thing that takes the time it needs to show what is going on and how everyone reacts and what the ramifications are, your plot obviously runs out of space at the halfway mark and then you try to jam in her being guilty about her brother, but also sheís always kind of been jealous about him, and then thereís a magical knife that somehow finds your siblings if you give it your own blood and a magical darkness where I guess everyone who sinks into the mud somehow disappears to despite them being trapped in their houses, and then itís literally just a bunch of darkness and she also has the choice to kill her brother at the end and doesnít do it and woooo Iím getting a little dizzy here gimme a second

So I guess if I could narrow my critique down to one thing it would be a lack of focus. Thereís too much happening, thereís too many themes and as a result most of it comes out undercooked. The search at the end is particularly disappointing, I think the part where she goes into the darkness and looks for her brother is one of the shortest parts of the entire story, when it could be its whole entire thing filled with cool ideas!

This would have seriously needed like five hundred to a thousand more words to really play with all the concepts you had here, words you didnít have, so you should have cut some stuff out. But then that would have most likely had to be the beginning, which you obviously couldnít throw out because thatís where the cool tetris poo poo happens. So I guess youíve written yourself into a corner. On the bright side, that, too, is a metaphor for Tetris.

Opuntia Ė Bad Seafood
I felt about this much the same way I felt about flerpís entry. For as well-written was this was, it wasnít a story, which is fine, but it also didnít have the context to really make sense for me as a single open-ended scene thingy. I guess the whole point here is how heís supposed to be the one sheís waiting for, but I donít know how they relate to each other, why she doesnít recognize him or why he doesnít make himself known if he goes through the effort of visiting her. If the answers are there, they are too subtle. So I end up taking nothing away from this. Itís nice while it lasts, but it could have been more.

But you also said you didnít have the time to write so this is definitely more than okay for maybe being rushed.

For All The Cows Ė Siddhartha Glutamate
I pushed hard for this go get an HM but there are only so many of those to go around and I guess it was just one of those Thunderdome Cabal Tributary Weeks. The other judges mostly complained about how silly of a concept it is to have violin playing cows, to which I say, well thatís the loving point, you are literally like the guys in the story who go like ďHa ha look at that bovine mendicant trying to play the violin with hooves, I say! Hooves!Ē and then they stand there and have stupid looks on their faces and their monocles pop out.

It was a cute story, and I personally thought you nailed the dynamic between the father and the son. It was simple and a bit on the nose but I still thought it was touching. That being said, you could have worked with the fact that they are cows, specifically, because for the purposes of your plot it could be almost any other animal and would work just as well.

And Oh God please never ever again end a story with ďThe moral of this story, by the way, in case you didnít catch it you loving idiot, was: [...]Ē

Might have HMíd in a weaker week, alas, vegans on the jury

Codenames Ė Chairchucker
I think youíd like to pretend that you wrote a stupid little thing with poop jokes in it because I gave you a bad prompt but the truth is I gave you a bad prompt because I had a feeling you were going to write a stupid little thing anyway and I wanted to test you (you failed).

I mean this wasnít bad, but it was pretty dumb, like you wrote the whole thing in the forums comment box, which I think Iíve said before about one of your stories so maybe stop doing that or at least not make it so obvious

No Reason to Try Ė Fuubi
So Iím reading through this and I think my original results post already gave you all the crit I can muster for this, like I literally have no idea what the gently caress is going on. Itís not even like you rushed yourself to submit your story in time since you missed the deadline by a comfortable margin, so why not complete the thing and put it up as a redemption. Iím sorry but I really donít understand this and ironically I donít think you tried particularly hard.

Apr 21, 2010

Deceitful and black-hearted, perhaps we are. But we would never go against the Code. Well, perhaps for good reasons. But mostly never.
Put some product placement up in here.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007

Thranguy posted:

Put some product placement up in here.

New, from Voidmart, it's...

Scuffle Cherries: Cherries dipped in the finest sentient chocolate that hates you!

Apr 7, 2013

Clocking in, what am I selling today boss?

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007

Captain_Person posted:

Clocking in, what am I selling today boss?

New, from Voidmart, it's...

Unisex T-shirt, color: Voidblackô [DO NOT WASH]

Jan 23, 2004

college kids ain't shit

Fun Shoe
Results for Week 299:

Bad News First:

We had a hard time deciding which of these two stories should either lose or DM. On one hand, Antivehicularís The Things We Do For Hardware had guts. Trying to tell a story through a speechÖ and a not very good one at that, was a risk. A risk that didnít pan out, but hey risks are nice. On the other hand Deltasquidís The Tale of Howe three Youthes have greatly mysordered Theymself in Gloucester (1317) had an inherently flawed premise, bothersome voice, and an odd lack of polish.

In the endÖ Deltasquid DMs and Antivehicular Loses. The speech was not good, and the audience reactions did not feel earned. This didnít resemble a story, which could be forgivable if what it did represent was something special but it failed to capture the interest of the judges.

On to more positive mattersÖ

Captain Personís The Most Magical Night Of Your Life had a good hook, a fun twist on an old standard, good moments of humor, solid voice, and a pretty drat satisfying story all things considered. Thus, it is our one HM of the week.

But taking down the crown is sparksbloomís Corporeality. This story captured pretty much exactly what I wanted out of this week. When the story hits, it hits hard and even though this may as well be a post on e/n, itís told so effectively that it succeeds. Well done sparksbloom, you smell like teen spirit.

Now, forget about all of this until week 301, and throw yourself into the void!

Chili fucked around with this message at 04:28 on May 1, 2018

Dec 30, 2011

I wanna sing one for the cars
That are right now headed silent down the highway
And it's dark and there is nobody driving And something has got to give

Well, now that I've learned important lessons about how badly I can write and how ashamed my parents should be of me: screw it, give me a Voidmart product flash rule. What could possibly go wrong?

May 3, 2003

Who wants to live


College Slice
In, with Door #2 and a Voidmart Product, please!

Uranium Phoenix
Jun 20, 2007


Yeah in, door 2, voidmart product, the works

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007
New, from Voidmart, it's...

Antivehicular posted:

Well, now that I've learned important lessons about how badly I can write and how ashamed my parents should be of me: screw it, give me a Voidmart product flash rule. What could possibly go wrong?

Straight 'n Narrow Ethical Walking Boots!

Hawklad posted:

In, with Door #2 and a Voidmart Product, please!

Fisherís Price Haunted Learning Laptop: For kids!

Uranium Phoenix posted:

Yeah in, door 2, voidmart product, the works

P.R.O.T.E.I.N.: A substance!

Uranium Phoenix
Jun 20, 2007


Aqua Teen Thunder Force: Week #299 CRITS!
The stories this week were mostly between servicable and medicore. There was nothing particularly offensive or stellar. A big common flaws stood out, though. Many stories lacked a clear focus. They didn't seem to really reveal the conflict at their core until the end (and even then it was often unclear), which led to the rest of the story feeling aimless. Certainly, it made the endings unsatisfying. Does the protagonist learn something? Change? Is the story about a relationship growing, or one breaking and being restored? I think if stories had paused to answer those questions, they would have gained a lot. Or maybe, like so many teens, your story was just misunderstood.
Alright, enough preaching. CRITS!!

Apparitional Experience
Good hook with sparse but charcterizing details. Does banal teen stuff, which is, uh, a lot of this week. It's got okay tension, foreshadowing, but all seems a bit convienient and I dunno if the ending feels all that satisfying since, like, what has Gemma learned or accomplished? Gotten peer respect, I guess, a bit. The prose is good, it has a story shape, but is overall just servicable.
Rating: 5.5

Pupa Rise
We have an alternate universe where people are bugs, or maybe kids are people but adults are bugs? Well, that or they're food. So, it's about adults being literally different than teens, but it's not quite clear what the true nature of this society is. I like Emmet deciding to be with family at the end. It was an interesting premise, and was a lot more ambitious than some of the stories this week. It suffers from a few typos and what felt like a lack of focus. Is it a horror story? A dystopia, where the act of resistance is important? A relationship story? Accepting death or change? There's themes to choose from, but it didn't feel like the story narrowed in on one. Ultimately, the characters don't do much, which leaves the story feeling lethargic.
Rating: 5.0

There's some nice descriptions that give me a visual. The hook sort of threw me, and it took a bit before I actually understood the setting. You go for a rather serious take on Merpires, which, uh, is going to be a bit challenging. Also I think I would have been even more confused if I hadn't been in irc when they were brought up. It seems trope-y to have the vampire who doesn't want to vamp. The resolution feels weak. If merpires can just easily eat seaweed, why not? There's no struggle with an inherent nature. He just ditches his friends and does his own thing, but, like, that's all of it. It feels like he hasn't changed, since his character starts as a rebel and ends that way. The story seemed like it would be about his relationship with his friends, but it isn't. It's not about the new relationship, because he's just going to swim off afterward. So the conclusion is very empty feeling.
Rating: 4.5

The Tale of Howe three Youthes have greatly mysordered Theymself in Gloucester (1317)
The anachronism after the "olde tyme" title bothers me. Gives it a voice that seems out of place. There's a huge amount of time setting up the prank, but it plays a relatively minor role: giving comeuppance or something to the baron's daughter for... no reason? Again we have a story I couldn't tell the focus of. Is it about their relation as friends? Dating? The baron's daughter ends up taking a hit, but why? She's not set up as an antagonist. It seems like the relation between John and Geoferry/Alice breaks--near the end!--and is repaired, but then what's the point of the intro? I also don't buy that the retainers would make the daughter take the hit rather than gently caress up some peasants--not that the story attempts historical accuracy at all. The characters are okay, but the story doesn't do much with them, and feels too modern with a setting that doesn't make much sense.
Rating: 4

Special Features
My first thoughts, on reading this, were "Oh good, a bunch of untagged dialogue." This ended up being emblematic of a major problem with the story: Technical problems make it hard to figure out what's going on, who's talking, and that's a huge detractor from the clarity of the story and characterization of the characters. In the end, I'm still not sure what the relationship between the various characters is. Is Charlotte Shaun's sister? I thought she was a love interest until the last section. Is Shaun gay? His reaction to a presumably a close friend being romantically interested in him leads to almost no reaction. The conclusion is about Shaun and Luke's relationship, but the introduction makes it seem like the story is about this movie they're shooting, or maybe not. The story jumps around from scene to scene like crazy and I don't know what purpose most serve. The events seem meaningless, and the story rambles aimlessly. My first two readthroughs, I completely missed some of the redeeming voice and themes the other judges pointed out because I was distracted by the apparent rambling aimlessness of the story and technical flaws.
Rating: 3.5

The Most Magical Night Of Your Life
Good opening line and some nice humor. Weird punctuation of time. This one might have gone too heavy on the exposition. I'm thinking a specific investigation plus conversation among friends would be stronger than more non-described examples. Some weak prose here and there. Her perseverance and nonchalant voice in doing absolutely wierd poo poo is great, it makes her feel like a real character caught up in her own mind. The resolution is okay, a bit of self-sacrifice, though not much. I wish there'd been some resolution of the actual investigation and paranormal. It needs some work on the core scenes, maybe more scenes to contrast her with other people, like why they dismiss her and she's so convinced about ghosts. Either way, it's quite amusing and feels like a light but complete story.
Rating: 6.0

This has a solid start; this is a story about a relationship and it sets up possible antagonists. There's a clarity here of the conflict that most stories this week lacked. Starts high, protag brought low. Brutal, nasty, but effective scenes. There's an interesting contrast between public and private personas, caring about peers. I like the scenes chosen, each one serves a purpose. The extended metaphor is only in twice, I guess we see Gary change from hidden to out, and it's about his personal accomplishment as the relationship dissolves. Doesn't feel like a full ending. I feel like Danny needed to change, not just Gary; oh well, it's focused story and has stuff to say and has characters and solid scenes and that's nice.
Rating: 6.5

Not Enough Voices
Nice opener! Like, solid open, great premise, I was really looking for more. Then, the story gets weaker. "I could have sword I told him..." "His Mom had..." damnit, typos! But more importantly, your intro paragraphs are not doing the same amount of work as your opener! There's too much exposition. Is all the backstory you put in important? I don't think so. Your premise is good, but the story seems unfocused. What's up with Bill? Why is he isolated/sad? The story, presumably, once I got to the end, was about Bill's relationship with himself. But why is he suicidal? What happened with his friends? The relationship with the dad is never at risk, so there's no stakes there, no tension there. Mark is chill and cool but why did Bill give him his dad's number, what does that do? Again, you have a cool premise and possibilities, but this story has no idea what it wants to be and that is a big problem here! There's useless backstory, unfocused scenes, typos, and way too little about what the story is presumably about.
Rating: 4.5

The Things We Do For Hardware
This is a story about getting a crappy speech topic but then saying something good I guess. It's set up to be the protagonist learning something. I think there's something interesting to say about farts, because literally the first joke ever recorded is ďSomething which has never occurred since time immemorial; a young woman did not fart in her husbandís lapĒ (Sumeria, ~1900 BCE). So, uh, this story hinges on the speech being funny or clever. But it's not funny or clever. She's an awful loving speaker dear god. If this is going to be a humor piece, it needs to land the jokes, but I don't buy the reactions at all from the judges or audience, because it's just not a good speech. Since the story completely hinges on the monologue and has no other story parts, that fatal flaw brings it real low. Does the protagonist learn anything? "She'd been in the finals, she'd delivered that belly flop of a speech, and she'd somehow gotten hardware for it." You sort of seem to know the speech was bad, but having the main character say it doesn't change it. It's not irredeemable, and it's not so horrible compared to the rest of the week, but it did pack too many flaws together to escape the fate of the loss.
Rating: 3.5

We all make mistakes
Didn't like the opener. Another character named Danny. Why. Alright, this story was overall pretty harmless, but pretty meh too. There's lines like "it's 2018 man" that doesn't sound like a thing an actual kid would say, but for the most part the prose and dialogue is servicable. The story is, "he cant make it. but he does! this solves all problems." It's a lighthearted teen story, it's straightforward and solves its main conflict, and it has a bit of tension with the jump, but it's not very ambitious or interesting.
Rating: 4.5

Stolen Hopes
Nice start, wow, characters that feel and I can get a sense of. These feel like people. The conflict is about the relationship, which starts as nonexistant, builds, and is undermined by the theft accusation and girlfriend reveal. There's high emotions, and the relationship is doomed to never be. It's another story with a fake-out, being about character growth rather than a connection, the character moment deals with the primary conflict. Good details throughout. Solid overall. The other judges pointed out it didn't seem to capture the spirit of the week, and the protagonists felt more mature than teen-like.
Rating: 6

Uranium Phoenix fucked around with this message at 14:37 on May 1, 2018

Apr 30, 2006
It just doesn't feel like a win without people screaming PROMPT. Thanks for the crit, UP!

In for Voidmart. Door 2, please.

Nov 24, 2006

Grimey Drawer
In, I'll take a product, and either way, I'll try to work in door 4 even if it isn't an official option

Apr 10, 2013

you guys made me ink!

Thanks for the crits. Congrats, Sparksbloom.

In for voidweek.

Ironic Twist
Aug 3, 2008

I'm bokeh, you're bokeh
in, and I'm assigning myself a flash rule:

Nov 13, 2012

Pain is inevitable.
Suffering is optional.
Thunderdome is forever.

Entenzahn posted:

:siren: Videogame Week Crits :siren:

Good crittin', thanks

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007

RandomPauI posted:

In, I'll take a product, and either way, I'll try to work in door 4 even if it isn't an official option

New, from Voidmart, it's...

Hindsight Reading Glasses: Showing you what you should've done, with 20/20 clarity! (ALSO AVAILABLE IN ROSE TINT)

Oct 30, 2013

Entenzahn posted:

Ashes Ė Freakie

Thanks guy! I'm trying to muster up the courage to give it another shot.

The Saddest Rhino
Apr 29, 2009

Put it all together. Solve the world. One conversation at a time.
ok gimme door 1

Sep 21, 2017

Horse Facts

True and Interesting Facts about Horse


Lily Catts
Oct 17, 2012

Show me the way to you
(Heavy Metal)
I'm in, and taking what's behind door #3.

Because this would be my first Voidmart prompt, are there any choice Voidmart stories that could further flesh out what Voidmart is?

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.

Please assign me a product/department.


Nov 13, 2012

Pain is inevitable.
Suffering is optional.
Thunderdome is forever.
Still need a third judge?

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