I didn’t realize page 27 ended so fast.
Raik is an interactive text adventure created by Harry Josephine Giles, a writer, performer and occasional developer based out of Scotland. Following an adventurer of red locks, players will attempt to uncover a legendary staff to save their beloved, only to find the dangers that lurk are not always physical.
Much like a few entries that came before it, Raik is more narrative than ‘game’ in the traditional sense, drawing more comparisons to a digital ‘choose your own adventure’ style. As this adventurer, players will navigate a Scottish tale full of Gaelic folklore and dangers to uncover a mysterious staff that may assist in bringing back their loved one from the cold state they are in.
It begins in a linear way to help establish some context, giving players a general understanding of location while establishing the difference between the coloured words . Blue is for translation/explanation while orange pursues a plot point and moves the story forward. The farther the narrative goes, the more orange words appear and the story begins to split down many paths. The player will need to make educated guesses on which decisions may be best. There’s a health bar of sorts to signify if something goes truly wrong, starting at twenty five and hemorrhages five for every dangerous escapade that goes south.
What might throw many players for a loop is the ability to play in ‘Scots’, the local dialect of the Scottish people. It has many similarities to English, but take one look at it and many native English speakers will be scratching their heads to understand the similarity. I should know, I did just that. Occasionally there is a button on the bottom of the adventure with a witty phrase to switch between English and Scots. This will also alter the backdrop to allow people to know the language has been shifted (if it wasn’t obvious).
Unfortunately there were times in which it would switch without my consent — I’m still not sure if it was intentional or not — which would lead to me scratching my head as to what was going on until the translation button returned. Any Scottish heritage I once had has been burned away by the years of Canadian, with the only remaining aspects of my life even resembling the nation being my family’s faith (Presbyterian) and my one uncle’s kilts. The point I’m getting at is even taking on the challenge of slowing down and translating, I still wasn’t certain if I was reading the Scots correctly.
Thing is, being designed with Scots as the main language is one of the huge draws of Raik. Rather than beginning in English and translating over, it stands firm in what it wishes to be and translates over to the mundane language I’m typing in now. I didn’t understand it most of the time, but I could definitely appreciate the sentiment, especially when many of the sentient creatures would speak in Scots regardless. It made me feel like I was reading something in the wrong language, encouraging me to go over and try to read it as it was intended to fully immerse myself in the world.
If you’re Scottish and wanting to read an adventure fully tailored to your culture and people, or one abroad wanting a taste of home, this game is perfectly made for you. For those of us peering in, it’s a fantastic dive in to a culture many of us just assume and take for granted, all wrapped up in the true language that we can barely understand. Nevertheless, give it a whirl and see if it floats for ya.
Dang, page 27 really had a lot of software. I swear I just started this page last week. Ho boy.