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About the Story
In this odd, large, and sparsely-implemented game, you play as a civil servant sent by the incumbent governor to the tiny township of Sebastian to examine the records of the John B. Holden estate. There's been far too many allegations about bribes and extortion in the current election cycle and it's up to you to exercise due diligence and determine the truth.
19th Place - 9th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2003)
[...] I think the real problem is the connection between the story and the puzzles. Both elements are present but they consistently fail to connect. I wanted to learn more about the house, the damming of the river, how Holden got connected to Gov. Blight, but the game just doles out enough to keep the plot moving along.
-- Cirk Bejnar
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>INVENTORY - Paul O'Brian writes about interactive fiction
There's a larger point here, which is that implementation generates expectations. If 99 out of every 100 nouns in your game are unimplemented, as is indeed the case with Internal Documents, I will come to expect a very bare-bones experience. I will not type out a long and unusual command construction, because what possible reason would I have to believe that the game would understand it? If you do expect me to do things like that, the game becomes either an intolerable exercise in attempted authorial telepathy, or else it ends up having to dole out sledgehammer-like hints (such as 1-2-3's notorious "Don't you want to ask me about her breasts?")
Before you even begin coding, think about what it will be like for players to experience your game, and if the answer is "boring", or "irritating", or "confusing", stop those problems before they start. Otherwise, you end up with something that's great fun for you, but not for anybody else... something like Internal Documents.
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This game has you wandering around a large map until you reach a manor, where you have to complete several puzzles to convict a rich man of fraud.
Most of the locations are empty, and when they are not empty, they often have strange disambiguation problems. The one NPC is very odd, to say the least.
This game needed a lot more polish.