So Creme de la Creme was my first entrada into the world of interactive fiction - definitely did not disappoint! I wanted to share some of my thoughts in case any of you are interested.
There’s a lot I loved about it.
There’s the endearing and diverse cast of characters from the students to the teachers. A melting pot of distinctive personalities and differing backgrounds; the miffed-out royal kind of ashamed of their own status, the local school eccentric into ghost-hunting, etc - they all feel distinguishable and variable. I am especially a fan of Freddie, and their whole “rags-to-esteemed-university” drive - that there’s one dream for equality achieved.
Then, the feeling of interactivity and sense of choice I felt the gap between player and character being blurred; in some sense I felt I was my own character, rather than, say, some puppet-master controlling my character’s choices and directing their life.
Then there’s the whole atmosphere; the whole pristine posh Victorian-esque school setting and the various glamorous activities contained therein, the whole aristocratic etiquette and politesse social front, high society socialite hobnobbing and fraternization, etc. Some people may not be a fan of it, but I loved the very detailed visual descriptions - I felt quite immersed in the whole setting! (putting some classical music on helped too)
I don’t have much criticism aside from the “grand miner-slaving conspiracy” sub-plot… which I found kind of silly and over way too fast. Would have been preferred the whole story being mostly slice-of-life. That said, this is just my opinion. If you found it entertaining… then more power to you. I only wish I did myself.
And also, I felt like it could have lasted rather longer than it did . I blitzed through an entire school year in less than half a day… although I suppose that’s the trade-off with interactive fiction: with a finite number of words, greater interactivity necessitates a shorter experience. And to be fair, the amount of skill and effort that it took to write 440,000 words is daunting and challenging enough; I could not imagine doing it myself!
That all said, Creme de la Creme has definitely been
a very enjoyable experience for me, not least for it’s own merits which I’ve elaborated on above, but for how it’s introduced to me interactive fiction - an entire new medium of fiction I knew nothing about before.
Thanks for reading this; I hope you’ve found some interesting nuggets of thought!
 I don’t know whether to call it a game or novel - it really lies straddling between the two mediums!
It’s 100% text and imagination, but there’s also choice and player stats - on the other hand, I suppose excluding choice-based novels would eliminate CYOA and feels too limiting, which frankly feels wrong. I suppose that’s a good reason to use “interactive fiction” instead!
 I suppose that might be what Revekah Vasile wants for everyone… (at least by the way I pegged their politics; a socialist/economic redistributionist-type revolutionary)