Just as many others are plumbers or teachers,
you were an actor that had sex on film.
Rocky Barbato is a shell of his former self. Porn star, legendary lover of beautiful women, he once had a larger than life existence. But age has slowed him down, added girth to his waist and crippled his dreams. He is a man who lives for masturbation, who wakes to find himself with ketchup in uncomfortable places.
The Sadness of Rocky Barbato is a Twine offering from developer PaperBlurt, and it features an off kilter combination of tones best described as manic dark comedy. The situations surrounding Rocky, from his former romance with porn co-star Savanna Steele, his sad meaningless life are not comedic on their own, but combined with a conversation with God that closely resembles a phone call home and the way the story progresses it becomes a special kind of comedy.
The Ludum Dare is a competition and jam riddled with experimentation. A 48 hour game jam is an excellent place to experiment with a variety of themes as well as Twine macros. The Sadness of Rocky Barbato feels like an experimental endeavor done right. Mechanically and stylistically, PaperBlurt utilizes a wide range of styles, from the moments where the player picks the pornographic film that Rocky is going to watch to the text conversation between God and Satan. Each of the choices feels like it adds to the moment — a sign that the decisions were well thought out and not put together willy nilly.
Previously, I’ve discussed PaperBlurt’s command of the English language. He is not a native speaker, and in some of his earlier works the language has the jaunty uneveness of discomfort. However, the Sadness of Rocky Barbato is clear and concise, easily understandable. While occasionally, the prose feels a bit laden and overdone, it bounces back with a sense of humor and bright, colorful scenes.
PaperBlurt has proven himself mechanically gifted, and the scenes move through timed delivery to brightly colored moments. As a fast reader, some of the timed scenes felt like they lagged a little bit, but the game was about 5 minutes long in total so the delay was not over long.
You can find more information about the Sadness of Rocky Barbato at the Ludum Dare page.