Reviews by Jim Kaplan
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Related reviews: cpuguy89, one-room, short
Play it if: you thought Asylum was the bottom of the barrel, and you want to prove yourself wrong.
Don't play it if: you were hoping for more of the hysterical mis-coding that characterized Asylum, for while this game is undoubtedly fatally flawed, it has even less of the unintentional entertainment value.
Set in a mysterious toyroom, Paranoia is in fact both vastly easier and vastly shorter than the author's earlier work, Asylum. There is a little less in the way of (unintentionally?) hilarious coding errors,(Spoiler - click to show) (though this could be thought of as a one-move game - try going east!) there's still some clunky writing here. The parser won't recognize any substitutes for "jack-in-the-box", for instance, and a certain object(Spoiler - click to show) apparently hidden inside the jack-in-the-box that seems to be vital to completing the game(Spoiler - click to show), barring your one-move victory option, is not implemented!
Related reviews: cpuguy89, one-room, short
Play it if: you're looking (with all due respect to the author) for the kind of example game not to show beginners to IF, or if you have a strong sado-masochistic streak.
Don't play it if: you want to play a game with any real level of thought or creative input.
I'm going to go ahead and disagree with the author: this is very much not the kind of game to show IF beginners, and here's why.
First, the game has little to entertain beginners enough to get them interested in more IF. The descriptive text is Spartan at best (the room description consisting of a list of objects, for instance), and there is no story or atmosphere besides a basic need to get out of a room.
Second, there's no fair challenge in the game. Most of the "puzzles" require either a brute-force approach to opening containers and trying keys out in differenet locks, or guess-the-verb minigames. Neither of these are a genuine test of intellect, and as a result neither are rewarding; any prospective IF player is likely to feel frustrated with this work.
Finally, the game's underlying logic is almost non-existent. One has to wonder what kind of asylum would put its patients in a room chock-full of keys or hire staff who ruin your plans for escape on the basis of a clock's alarm. The corners of the desk are sanded off to prevent you from hurting yourself, and yet the room contains (Spoiler - click to show)a fragile glass object, a heavy hammer, and a chisel capable of penetrating a wall, among other things! Not to mention the time limit - (Spoiler - click to show)if there are no doors described in the room, how do the asylum staff get in to "ruin your plans"? Dearie me. An unintentionally hilarious coding error - and one that could have been fixed with a marginally thorough beta-test - is the error message that pops up whenever the player tries to off himself (the kind of response games of this caliber inspire in me, I'm afraid). The "remove player from play" error, in case you were wondering...which is odd considering that the author successfully wrote in a defeat condition!
Hopefully the author's subsequent work will have more in the way of invested effort.
P.S. Perhaps the most bizarre thing about this game is that the author voted for it in a list of Best Short Games. I don't mean to sound...well, mean, but...really?
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