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About the Story
Spaceship! is a collaborative project of the Guardian's Gamesblog community. The aim was simply to create the greatest group-generated text adventure in the world ever.
Blasting Requires Dynamite
The premise is pretty straightforward: you (the Captain) are stuck on your (broken) spaceship and must jump through several (puzzle-adorned) hoops to get it working again. The tone of the writing is wry, often hilarious (try examining the Captainís toilet), and is one of the gameís main strengths. Itís almost entirely maintained throughout, despite the multiple authors, which impressed me. There were only a couple of times that I noticed a change in writing style, and these were minimal.
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SPAG -- Issue 56
Spaceship! Review by Jimmy Maher
I wasn't really expecting much from Spaceship!, as its development was filled with things I've come to regard as warning signs. First of all, it's a collaborative effort, a patchwork of bits and pieces contributed by many writers and coders. I'm not entirely sold on this Web 2.0 model of content creation, at least in the context of a story or game, and previous works of IF built under this model have generally only bolstered my skepticism. The remarkable Alabaster aside, most have read and played like incoherent, Mad Libs-style rambles more fun for their authors than their players. (Yes, IF Whispers games, I'm thinking of you!) Secondly, the people behind Spaceship! are not regular IF community contributers at all, but rather a group from The Guardian newspaper's online community who decided it might be fun to make a text adventure. Such endeavors, well-intentioned as they may be, generally fall afoul of every beginning IF designer's mistake in the book while always, inevitably, wallowing in nostalgia for Scott Adams or Infocom rather than engaging with the last twenty years' work in IF. I'm immensely pleased, however, to be able to say that Spaceship! defies every one of my stereotypes and expectations. This is a solid, substantial, well-put together game, one that's far better than it ought to be.
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What a fun and engaging game to spend an afternoon with!
The aptly named Spaceship features you as the captain of said spaceship. Your entire crew is on leave and you are enjoying a nice nap when suddenly disaster strikes. A meteor impact!
Now you're all alone on a depressurized and oxygenless spacecraft, left to your wits and some mighty fine McGyvering-skills to get yourself and your ship out of this pickle.
Despite the lifethreatening situation and the oxygen in your hastily donned spacesuit slowly decreasing (the oxygen-meter serves as a very effective timer), Spaceship is consistently funny. Consider this response when you examine your quarters: "Above [the desk] is a porthole, with a stunning view of bugger all." The tension created by this contrast between the emergency of the situation and the humorous narration is just right.
The ship is littered with objects, so you'll quickly have a heap of stuff in your inventory, most of which you will never need. Luckily, the puzzles are well clued and there are some alternative solutions, so juggling the inventory items never becomes a real problem. Actually, I found that some puzzles were overclued, diminishing the whole "alone and left to your wits"-feel of the empty spaceship. The obstacles all have logical solutions, some with a lot of intermediate steps. However, if you cram your inventory with everything you can take on your first exploratory tour of the ship, you should always have everything needed for the puzzle at hand.
A few of the obvious paths to rescue turn out to be red herrings, but they are great puzzles in themselves and they add to your score. So instead of being frustrating or disappointing, they just mean more fun!
I encountered a few unobtrusive bugs (and a huge one that was actually meant to be in the game...), but overall Spaceship played very smoothly, no small feat when you take into account that this game was written by a large group of authors. Kudos for keeping the atmosphere and quality so consistent throughout the game!
To the authors, I'd recommend one last round of editing and testing (cranking the handholding down just a notch in some places, (Spoiler - click to show)Particularly in the Infirmary.).
To anyone else, I heartily recommend playing this game!