Interesting concept- a way of having a theoretical conversation where the author defends her homosexuality.
No parser- you link to a new conversation topic via clicking on keywords in the text. As such it's more like a Wikipedia conversation than an IF. Not exactly a "game", not exactly interactive, and certainly not fiction.
That being said, let's go onto the content. Seems fairly poetic in tone. I guess I would like to imagine that we're in a time and place where this type of conversation isn't needed. Are we still in some kind of world where gays are looked at still as abusers or victims or that it's some kind of "nurture" cause?
Very short, might be of some interest to the LGBT community. Would have liked to see it more like Emily Short's Galtea where the author can be communicated with like a real conversation- but let's face it, that requires an impressive level of programming knowledge (I couldn't duplicate Glatea myself and I understand the programming logic she used- it's that complex).
Maybe I'm very cynical and very na´ve, but I feel like this would have been better made 10-15 years ago when homosexuality was still demonized, but perhaps it's not "Deep enough" to have reached me, or perhaps I'm under the assumption that "it got better" for the gay community and it really hasn't.
As a concept I like it- would have liked to see it go deeper if possible, perhaps not focusing on the artist's specific individual experience but branching out into an interactive story (perhaps like Photopia where we explore the protagonist via separate character's points of view instead of just listening to the author speak". I'll have to give it 2 stars. Normally I'd go one, but I'll give the benefit of the doubt in that homosexual themes are not adequately represented in IF- but the work isn't interactive or fictional, and there is a lot more I'd like to have seen done with the concept.
So, let's look at the term IF- interactive fiction. Interactive implies some kind of input from the user. Fiction implies that it's not based on real events.
This should be called a NON-INTERACTIVE CONVERSATION. Someone is speaking to you, and on each page you have EXACTLY ONE thing you can respond back. You click on that response (you don't type it- you click on it, there is no other input allowed) to go to the next page.
This may have been better put with both characters' lines in it as a poem or something, but it really doesn't belong in the IF medium.
That being said, perhaps it says something on how one-sided a breakup conversation is, since nothing you say will probably MATTER anyway, but for people on this site, it's not exactly IF.
First, the really good:
I like the writing, which I found to be eerie with tons of little touches you should find in a zombie apocalypse scenario (such as the severed head in the stove). The author tackles the abandonitis well with little hints in the background that suggests that the survivors may have turned on each other, and that someone went to the effort of pre-looting and cleaning up bodies. Kudos.
What it leaves me wondering on is why I finished the game with only 89 points. The puzzles were all fairly straightforward, there were none I had to go to hints for, and they were intuitive. It took me a while to figure out a couple of them (such as how to get to the second floor) but that satisified me even more as I solved them.
There was a slight (perhaps purposeful or not) ability to cheat a bit- using GET ALL tends to grab the important items, which gave me some hints as to what to grab. (Though this is deceptive- there are objects you end up needing that don't fall under the "all" category). Also looking behind objects gives no response, no error message, which left me worried that there were items I was supposed to look behind, as the command was parsed with no error message for the wrong things.
I was impressed with the way the zombie "cure" issue was tackled. There is a bit of an ending twist, though I guessed it right away (perhaps having been tainted by 9:05), though when I tried an action which I thought made sense given the twist, the game told me I was on the wrong track, so I did a little eye roll when the twist was revealed later.
I was a little bummed that it seemed like the only way to progress was to act violently towards a survivor, thought it made sense. Perhaps there was another way that I missed.
There are also items that you get that seem important, but perhaps are not, such as a variety of objects you can wear to cover parts of your body. There are also a few issues where you can screw yourself up if you do things in the wrong order. This adds to the flavor though in some cases.
All in all a good game. Wouldn't mind seeing an expanded zombie game, perhaps in a larger area. Interested in seeing other works by the author.
This review hurts me to write. By its description, I expected a simple little game about an evil girlfriend. What I found was an epic game of survival in the wilderness and gathering evidence to use against a spiteful bitch trying to kill you.
However, the game isn't ready.
First of all, trying to put <noun> on <any other noun> assumes you are trying to put <noun> on a fire. (As it gives me a bad error).
Second (and biggest) the game crashed on me when I slept during my second day of survival.
The game has a huge map, and you has a purchasing system. On the down side, you kind of need to know the map (my first go through had me crashing my car without any supplies). This may break some mimesis.
This has the potential for an AWESOME game, but game crashing bugs (especially when you appear to be on the right track, (rather than during some random unrelated action).
I played release 6, the most recent release. These things MUST be corrected for the game to be considered playworthy. I would rate this a 5 star. However the game NEEDS TO BE PLAYTESTED SEVERELY! Please complete this game and let me know when it can be played again!
This game was great for me. Maybe it was my jaded view with "minimalist games", but this game was minimalist for the minimalist.
The game includes (Spoiler - click to show) an item called "$" and an NPC called "@". To win you give $ to @ then leave.
The game's source code is 140 characters. How much can you do with that? Well, if you code your error messages with 1-2 character responses, you can do more than you'd expect. Attempting to leave before the "puzzle" is solved, gives you a "@!" remark- clever as it tells you that you must do something regarding "@".
Aaron Reed's commentary is great also, because it gives detail to the "story" where there wouldn't possibly be any, making it kind of silly, though detailing at least the thought that went into the game. (Since @ is a character in the game AND the listed author- we have self insertion, etc).
Now I don't want you thinking you're going to get some kind of IF gem here. It IS a 140 character SOURCE CODE. No room description, no item/NPC description, nothing spectacular. What I do reccommend this for is for the people out there attempting to make "minimalist" games that are nothing more than doors floating in space. This game looks like Aaron Reed saw the other games and said "No, I'll show them how to make a minimalist game" and did so (hopefully shutting the door on the whole concept!).
3 stars. 5 stars for what it was, 1 star because, compared to most real games, it's quick, has no story, is simple, lacks room descriptions, etc. However all this works for the game in this *RARE* case, so I'll average it.
A welcome reprieve for the disheartened reviewer.
The concept of this game is that you are the one guy at the study group with three girls and it breaks into a game of truth or dare- and of course, being AIF, the goal is to get the girls to do sexual things to you and to each other.
From a programming standpoint, the game is sloppy. The girls never ask you (or each other) any truth or dare questions, and the simplest way to overcome their anxiety is to dare them to drink until they almost pass out (you can tell when they're almost ready to pass out by telling them to drink until they pass out then typing UNDO- seriously, only one of them shows signs that they're about to pass out, and they mention that they're 'not drunk enough' to do things even when they're one drink away from dropping).
You need to participate in this as well, believe it or not from the error messages. You need to strip (you have to dare yourself to strip, not just do it. Odd.). There are also actions you need to perform on the girls, and it won't let you until they're "ready" (ready being some kind of inside tracked thing based on how many key dares you've gotten them to perform already).
Oddly enough by saying TRUTH or DARE, it gives you a list for the given girl with the syntax needed to request it. (Some of the syntax is needlessly complicated and simpler forms are not understood). Also odd is that dares not only will not be repeated once done, but will give the error message that you tried something outside the game if you ask them to repeat a dare (or truth) they've done before.
Another odd thing is that some girls give some options while other girls don't. I won't get too explicit here, so let's just use HUG for example. You might be able to dare one girl to HUG another, but can't dare the 2nd girl to HUG the first, or ask the first girl to HUG the third. There are some actions you need to do to the girls which are drastically UNderCLUED and odd (such as sucking toes to one particular girl). And if the girl is not "ready" for the action, the game will give you an error message that implies that the action is not allowed at all.
To "win" you need to ask a girl out on a date (any one of them) and have them say yes. They won't say no, because a glitch prevents you from asking them out until they would say yes (giving the error message that instructs you how to ask them about things). The author acknowledges this in the opening scrawl, but if he knew it was there, he should have fixed it.
If AIF is your thing, you'll probably like this. If it's not, you won't. It's very easy to get stuck (once a girl passes out there's no way to win unless you've already used up all her options).
I get it. The idea of "it's bad, but it's bad on purpose so the ironic fairys are going to come down and make it good". Unfortunately it doesn't work that way.
You know, there are authors out there you think of when you think of great games: Short, Cadre, Plotkin (to name a few).
Those familiar with this site will also have gathered a few names of people who always (or almost always) deliver sub-par games. It's stuff like this that gets you added to that list.
Even if the game is designed to be "so bad it's good", it still needs playtesters, it still needs to make sense. It should not be just a random assortment of actions and moves. That's boring and unimaginative. (Or "minimalist"). Rather, perhaps a parser which is more personified (that you actually fight with) or having a clear goal set which is plagued by intentional errors, where deciphering the error is an actual puzzle, that might be fun.
For example: The door is to the north.
> GO NORTH
You can't because the door is in the way.
> ENTER DOOR
You can't because the north is in the way.
Something like that could be cute if there was some way to get around the parser, such as:
Inside is a lantern.
> GET LANTERN
(First entering the northern door)
Yes! You got through, and have the lamp.
NORTH ROOM... blah blah.
Something like that could be a cute experiment. As it is, this game comes down to "Here are some random rooms, I know I don't have anything good here, so I'll just mark it as ironic and move on".
Nice concept though, if the "game" actually seemed related to the concept.
First of all, bonus points for the lemon-flashlight puzzle. Very clever. However, you describe the "wire" as "wires" but the game does not understand "wires" as the "wire". Frustrating.
When you get to the "exit" you cannot "enter" the "exit" (and the game doesn't recognise hole).
The trap door is to the west, apparantly (up and down do not use it), which is odd, considering trap doors are usually built into floors.
The purple book should probably not state (in which is a key) when you first see it.
I assume the fact that you cannot leave through the exit is a mistake, since it clearly says that I can.
Also examining myself seems to examine the flashlight.
This game is not hard (it tells you what to do at each step) but the lack of synonyms and several errors (not to mention the extremely tired premise of trying to escape a room that changes for no reason and contains no logical puzzles) dooms this game to obscurity. I was really excited about the lemon-flashlight puzzle, as it was clever, but then, the game tells you when you look at the flashlight to put the lemon on the wires. (And putting the lemon into the flashlight doesn't work- well it DOES work, but doesn't turn on the lights).
I expected some abandonitis when I read the description... what I didn't expect was...
You aren't feeling especially drowsy
As good-looking as ever
The Creature approaches from the east
You see nothing special about the creature
It sildes up to you then slits your throat in an instan.
You scored 0 out of a possible 0.
(And when the creature follows me around it is reported to me twice)
You don't see any such thing.
Okay, enough rant. Polish the game! What creature is this that can slit my throat? I pictured some kind of rat type of thing, apparantly it has a knife? There should at least be a description! The way it is nonchelantly brought up I thought there was SUPPOSED to be a creature here. (Apparantly Vionlence is not the answer to this one if I try to kill it!).
Another thing- list the exits somewhere! The first few rooms list the ladders that lead in various directions, but there are also a bunch of rooms off in the cardinal directions that are not listed in any way. (For that matter, what good does N,S,W,E,U,D do in space? There is no magnetic north here! But I can forgive that one).
The game has some typos "even the maintenance bots can't make it smell like nything else". The writing is done well, and the atmosphere makes me really want to play this game, but there needs to be some kind of indications as to what can be done. I couldn't pet the creature, or examine it, but this creature which is described (as it kills me) as not violent, kills me without provocation and in an intelligent way that describes malice (it's apparantly not eating me).
It (the game) kills me because I can tell there is a good game here, but little things like this really turn me off. The library should respond to the word books (even if there are no physical books- a digital library should respond to the word, even if to refer me to a console). And having exits listed is a must-have, even if it's just listed in the status bar or something. If a creature is going to kill me after a number of turns, I can't spend most of them bashing into the walls trying to discover where the exits are. (And I should get some indication that it's hostile!).
I reccommend some beta testing and a new version- it looks like the premise and writing is good, but these polishes are a must-have!
One of the things I noticed on the inform7's website was its usefulness in classrooms. It seems like the author here was trying to portray history (or possible alternate histories) in a unique way which could better benefit his classroom.
As the other reviews state: this is not a game- there is nothing but a menu of 6 choices, with certain historical events with a "what if someone important had died" question.
As a non-game, it would have been nice if certain meta-commands had been disabled (I'm still as good looking as ever and am carrying nothing). Perhaps a hypertext document would have been better suited than a Z-code project, but it's not fair to just slam it, because that's one of the things that inform 7 is marketed as.
Even still, IFDB might not be the place for it as it isn't a game or story in any real way, and so people looking for such won't find much here.