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The Fire Tower

by Jacqueline A. Lott profile

Slice of life , Travel

Web Site

Game Details

Off-Site Reviews

Brass Lantern
For the time I spent playing it - it didn't take much more than fifteen minutes from start to finish - it was interesting enough to hold my attention, although that was partly because I kept thinking "there has to be more to it than simply wandering from place to place" and right up to the last bit, I was expecting some kind of puzzle to spring itself upon me. When it didn't, and then the game ended, I was left with the feeling that while it had held my interest for fifteen minutes, it wouldn't have kept me glued to the screen for much longer.
See the full review

The first, powerful impact is of a beautiful landscape beautifully presented. It's tempting to describe sweeping scenes with flowery prose but the author resists that temptation. The text is sparse and transparent; it doesn't get in the way of the country depicted and everything is described with an infectious enthusiasm. I was left feeling relaxed, as though I'd been there, at least in part. I presume that was the main objective of the piece, so it's a success from the first play through.

That sense of "being there" is enhanced by the sheer interactivity of the piece. Faced with something that says, in essence, "See how interactive I am!" I start to verb the nouns. This setting is deeply implemented. Almost everything can be examined, heard, smelled, felt and tasted. I know more about Appalachian flora now than I did before playing.
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50 Years of Text Games, by Aaron A. Reed
The Fire Tower recreates, in loving detail, a real section of the Appalachian trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park: a sixteen mile loop that climbs to the Mt. Cammerer fire tower and winds up and down ridges with ample views of rolling hills and forested valleys. Your character is a young woman who’s both an experienced hiker and a knowledgable naturalist, and under your direction she walks the trail with confidence, facing no hunger timers, puzzles, weather hazards or other real obstacles. It’s a game “about experiencing a real place that may or may not be outside your normal element,” wrote its author in the introduction. “There is no way to go wrong.”
But the game hides a surprising amount of depth in the landscape you’re traversing, with dozens and dozens of scenery objects representing vistas, trees, rocks, signposts, flowers, insects, and animals, most of which can be appreciated with a wide range of sensory verbs.
The Fire Tower was among the most pure explorations yet created in an interactive fiction engine—or indeed, in the days before walking simulators and art games, in a game engine of any kind.
[...] it’s a beautiful and memorable example of one end that interactive text can be turned to, and of “what happens when love and skill come together,” as one reviewer put it: a game infused with “authenticity... on all levels.”
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Page Update History

  v.8: 02-Jan-2023 01:46 - JTN (Current Version) - Edit Page - Normal View
Changed external review links
v.7: 14-Apr-2013 16:50 - Jacqueline A. Lott
Changed Web site URL
v.6: 24-Feb-2013 10:55 - Edward Lacey
Changed external review links
v.5: 16-Dec-2012 05:03 - Edward Lacey
Changed genre
v.4: 29-Apr-2009 17:38 - Dave Chapeskie
Changed download links
v.3: 26-Apr-2009 09:25 - Dave Chapeskie
Changed author
v.2: 21-Oct-2007 11:33 - David Welbourn
Changed cover art, download links
v.1: 16-Oct-2007 01:48 - IFDB
Created page