Taco Fiction

by Ryan Veeder profile

Crime / Humor

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Number of Reviews: 10
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A hilariously weird story of a taqueria robbery gone wrong., January 28, 2022
by Cody Gaisser (Florence, Alabama, United States of America, North America, Earth, Solar System, Milky Way, Known Universe, ???)

A desperate person sets out to rob a taco restaurant; absolutely nothing goes as planned. I won't spoil the brief plot - you should just play it and see for yourself. Taco Fiction is highly effective at what it sets out to do - which is to encourage bad decisions and elicit laughter. It's well written, and it's fun. What else do you want?

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
If you're blue and don't know where to go to, try out this game!, April 28, 2019
by deathbytroggles (Minneapolis, MN)

Taco Fiction has one of the more intriguing openers I’ve ever played. You are a petty thief in need of some cash, and the opening prompt gives you specific directions on how you’re going to rob the taco joint next door. If the protagonist were the violent sort this could be off-putting, but the game lets you know he has no interest in hurting anyone.

What follows is an unexpectedly light, mostly comical (but at times tense!) mystery that takes you in bizarre and unexpected directions. The NPCs are delightful and respond appropriately to what you do with your gun. The puzzles are also light, well-clued, and set the appropriate pacing. My only main criticism is the endgame, which feels a bit rushed and unsatisfying. I felt like the game was just starting to explore the characters and setting and then it was over. At least there are a couple of endings available depending on your motivations for the character at the end.

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
A good little episode., January 29, 2018

This game reminded me a lot of some of the old Infocom games, in that there's not a lot of embellishment in the descriptions, usually just a few sentences. I didn't find it too terribly difficult, it took me only about 2-3 hours to play through, and I'm a careful examiner of EVERYTHING. I usually don't play games that I would expect to be short, because I enjoy getting involved in long games, but this one was a nice and entertaining diversion from my usual route. What I really liked about the game was how the real plot seems to evolve from one thing(which is obvious to the player, albeit with a little coyness), to something much broader. I gave it only 4 stars, because some parts of the game, especially the ending, rely on conversation, which, in this game, is choice-based, so there's not a lot of freedom in this respect. I got frustrated with this part because you have to make the right choices, not all of which are available right away. It could get confusing if you use SAVE and RESTORE a lot, and you don't remember what subjects led to what other subjects. Plus there are things that you have to actually do, before some subjects for conversation open up, and these things are not entirely obvious. Specifically, (Spoiler - click to show)with Zuleika, the cashier in the ice cream place. I could have easily not noticed the checkerboard on the table--it wasn't in the room description!--had I not examined the table. You have to engage the cashier in a checker game, and then talk about your 'day' etc etc. to open up other important subjects. However, I also see how this was not essential to winning. (Spoiler - click to show)Though it was the 'best' ending. As usual, I would advise any new players trying this game to explore everything, see what you can do. If you like short games, this is ideal. I may just start getting into playing more short games! Here, the puzzles are not hard at all, especially if you take pains to examine things and seemingly unimportant details. (Spoiler - click to show)Remember to look in your back seat! Also, you have to make sure that you have examined everything found in the cult's back office. The details there are very important. Better yet, take it all with you! A good short game! Someone suggested I try a Ryan Veeder game. I did, and will be back for another one!

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful:
A flawless romp, July 23, 2017

I've been meaning to write a review of Taco Fiction for a long time, and for no particular reason at all, I figured this was the time to finally do so.

The reason I've wanted to is that Taco Fiction is a really important game to me; I first picked it up several years ago, when I was only into IF very casually (i.e., mostly doing coding exercises in Inform 7 and failing to complete Spider and Web). I had played the basic beginners' canon (Lost Pig, 9:05, De Baron...), and somehow in the midst of that, I came upon this game. Taco Fiction blew me away.

For a long time after playing it, Taco Fiction existed in my head as a prototype of what a perfect text adventure should be. And I think the reason it stuck with me (as opposed to, say, Lost Pig or Spider and Web, fine games though they are) is that it was purely fun. I have a poor head for puzzles, and I can only put with dark stuff for so long. Taco Fiction was fun. I never got stuck, I never got a default command; I was startled by (Spoiler - click to show)the cops in the diner (a masterful moment), and in the final scene my heart was sent racing. The rest of the time I spent smiling.

There are a lot of things to praise about Taco Fiction. The simulacrum of an "open world" is particularly impressive, given that this is essentially a linear game, plot-wise. The world is not huge, but there are characters who you can talk to for quite a bit longer than you would think with an expansive menu-based conversation system, and you can wander around doing essentially pointless things like purchasing and buying ice cream - but not out of adventure-game boredom, or an "amusing things to do" ethos; it's the kind of thing the PC would do, and you're free to do it as well. In between the delightfully weird, page-turning plot, of course. One with surprisingly subtle and insightful political points (in the least sordid sense of that word) to make.

Yes, I'm gushing. The reason I've put off reviewing Taco Fiction for so long is that it's hard to know what to write when something is just good. It's the game that made me excited about IF, that made me want to write my own, it turned me on to the rest of Veeder's excellent work, and it remained for years in my head the model against which all other works of IF would be compared.

Taco Fiction deserves to be canonized with the very best of modern interactive fiction.

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Short, fun and polished, August 16, 2016

Taco Fiction is a short (shorter than I expected) little crime story with a very polished environment. I was impressed with how well developed the setting was, with very few issues and most of the obvious things implemented. There were very few "guess the noun/verb" issues and most things were clear, straightforward and got out of the way of immersion in the story.

The writing is definitely one of the high points of the game, drawing the player in to the state of mind of the desperate, morally-challenged and generally incompetent protagonist. There are few other characters to talk to but those that you do encounter are very well drawn with quick, broad brush-strokes. The ice-cream cashier is sweet and willing to pass the time chatting to a weird stranger, the paco's cashier is a near zombie (chat to him, his response to "what do you do for fun" is chuckle-worthy) and the cops in the diner are amusing to talk to.

The puzzles in the game were all in keeping with the story and the solutions for all of them both made sense in the context of the game, and were fairly easy to determine, thus leading to a story-focused game where the puzzles smoothly propel rather than requiring you to spend a lot of time trying to figure out the solution. There were no instances of crazy logic or "guess what the author was thinking here", it's all straightforward.

The downside of this polish is that those errors that do pop up tend to stand out. There were a few parser noun issues, such as not recognising "girl" when referring to the ice-cream cashier. Not a huge issue and possibly a rebuke at my sexist word usage, but one I noticed. A bigger issue was that it appears possible to get into a state where you are locked off from some dialog choices despite meeting the pre-requisites for them. I notice this during a repeat run-through after realising that there was an additional ending to the game involving the ice-cream cashier. I ran through the game quickly, as I knew the puzzles by this point and without the need to examine and read everything it's possible to run through the whole game very quickly, but found when I spoke to the cashier after completing most of the puzzles in the game (and in possession of the item that would lead to the alternate ending), that some discussion topics that I had seen on my previous run-through weren't available.

It might be this was intentional, a sort of punishment for not speaking to her earlier about the topics, but it was disappointing and felt more like a bug.

One thing that struck as more of an issue was the fact that the pivotal item of the final puzzle, the cashbox, isn't referred to in the room description at all that I could see. In my initial play through, I didn't (Spoiler - click to show)enter the back office until the argument started, figuring I could creep in unnoticed in the commotion. I completely missed the box and thus ended up with a quite mediocre ending. When I replayed, knowing the box was going to be there, I was able to examine it (x box) but I'm not sure how I would have thought to do that if I wasn't fore-warned. It feels as though this was intentional, rather than an accidental oversight, and it's possible I simply missed examining something, but given the openness of all the rest of the game it also seems like a misstep, and one I found quite annoying.

On the whole, a quick fun if-comp style game. I prefer longer, deeper games in general, but this hit most of the marks of what I look for in a short game. It was almost a four star, but the few issues irritated and I didn't feel engaged enough to be able to overlook them.

Still, recommended for any fan of good writing, and short IF.

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
A comical nothing-is-what-you expect story about a petty criminal, February 3, 2016
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 1 hour

Taco Fiction is fun. It is a bit shorter than I would like; I paused the game partway through, expecting that half of the game was left, and when I came back, there was only about 30 turns left in the game.

You play a petty criminal who needs cash. The game gives you explicit directions on what to do at first. I love ignoring directions in parser games; in some games, like Bronze, the game just doesn't move forward at all if you ignore the directions. In this game, ignoring the directions gives you a lot of different, fun results.

I admit, I enjoyed the first part of the game, before the reveal, because it wasn't like anything else I had seen before. In this sense, it was a lot like Afflicted, although the actual reveal was wildly different in the two games.

The conversation system seemed at first incredible, and then very annoying, especially with the main favorable NPC. You have a lot to say, but 95% of it is completely irrelevant.

A good, short game. Is it one of the best games of all time? It certainly has one of the best openings of all time. So play it for ten minutes, and then decide if you want to keep going or not.

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
A Lovely Little Game About Crime, March 8, 2015
by Matt W (San Diego, CA)

Digression: I know there's a lot of discussion about the impact that IFComp has had on the kind of IF offerings available from the last decade or so, and I'm glad that the XYZZY Awards and Spring Fling and ParserComp and other contests are around as well, but I really like this size of game: 10-20 rooms, can be played through in an hour or two. It's easy to keep the geography in your head and you can play through it in one sitting after putting the kids to bed.

Taco Fiction seems like a trifle: it's comedic (and quite funny), and the plot is as light as it could be in a game where you can point your gun at anyone you meet. That seems like sort of the point though; this game could have been quite bleak; the PC is desperate and doing desperate things. There's nothing in the game that needs to be funny, but the comedic touch lightens the tone enough to make it consistently compelling.

The world of the game is quite detailed, and actually becomes more of a playground for the player than it seems at first. A straight walkthrough to the best ending would miss about 75% of the content, so it's worth your while to just wander around, talking to all the NPCs and trying out different activities. There are a couple scenes that I found particularly well done (Spoiler - click to show) -- the charades and the Star Wars story are delivered perfectly -- and your initial entry into the taco shop is one of the tensest and most unnerving scenes I've played in any IF. (Spoiler - click to show) Consider the clear uneasiness of the PC from the first moments of the game, the litany of actions that you're going to take, that disturbing painting which catches your eye as you walk in, then the masterful revelation about the bikers. It all functions exquisitely to ratchet up the tension. There are no really difficult puzzles here, just a lovely little game about crime.

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Forgiving, fun, and well-written, October 29, 2013
by streever (America)

This is a fun, short game, with a rewarding outcome & well-implemented mechanics. Ryan Veeder seems to enjoy creating games with slightly different scoring systems (misleadingly exact scoring systems!), which provide some real enjoyment and amusement, even when you suspect the switch is coming.

I would not have played this game based off of the blurb at all. I only played it because I've enjoyed other games of his and saw comments by Emily Short regarding it being much better than the blurb would suggest.

A Nice Game With Good Twists, October 28, 2013
by Tristano (Italy)

«Taco Fiction» is a well implemented adventure that can be won in about an hour. The setting has strong emphasis on suburban poverty, desperation, crime and corruption. And there is plot to it, with interesting twists.
The player starts with a clear objective presented by the game itself, but as the game procedes you come to realize that things are not quite like you were lead to belief. Choices are to be made, and the plot takes sudden and unexpected twists that ... well, let's say you'll be taken into a shadowy world of power conspirancy.
There are multiple endings, worth trying them all. Gameplay is fun, prose is good and balanced, game mechanics are well implemented and not frustrating at all. Puzzles are good and intriguing.

0 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Neat game deserving of all of its awards., May 20, 2012

A medium sized game where you are left to score points in terms of cash robbed or stolen. At least that's where it starts off, but kind of turns into something else, but I'll leave that as a surprise.

Great attention to detail. Lots of great humor.

Creative puzzles. Nice NPC's with well written conversational dialogue.

There's a lot to like in this game.

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