To Hell in a Hamper

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Number of Reviews: 13
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
If you're stressed, it's fine puzzling we suggest!, September 19, 2020
by deathbytroggles (Minneapolis, MN)

For most adventure games historically, puzzles have been overwhelmingly frustrating and preposterous. The better efforts have tried to reduce contrivance or at least reduce the difficulty, but for the most part I don't think players enjoy them, at least for their own sake. For every puzzle that is satisfying, often several negate that feeling. Adam Cadre once said something along the lines of that most games are far better to have been played than to be playing. I often find myself agreeing.

One way to sidestep this problem is to make the puzzles the reason for the game and another way is to make them so goofy as to disarm the player. Guest succeeds on both accounts.

I immediately appreciated playing this because your adversary, Mr. Booby, is barely functional and if you decide you want to do something, you can do it without resorting to trickery. Booby's reactions to your subversion are the highlights for sure, my favorite being his calling for the local constable despite being thousands of feet up in the air.

Unfortunately there are a couple of puzzles that didn't quite land. The first was (Spoiler - click to show)figuring out how to clear the trombone; using violence still doesn't seem intuitive to me. The second puzzle was (Spoiler - click to show)saving Aunt Gertie. I was trying to make a parachute, not realizing that the answer would be as simple as "make parachute." I was trying to thread the needle first and wondering why the game didn't understand all my attempts and starting the process of sewing. I greatly appreciate the simplicity of the puzzle, but just wish the game would have guided me there when I was on the right track.

Thankfully, the game includes gradual hints for every puzzle and I accessed them guilt-free. In the end the goofiness won me over and I count this among the games I enjoyed playing while playing.

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Featured on Radio K #4, October 21, 2015
by Adam Cadre (Albany, California)

Clare Parker and I discuss To Hell in a Hamper at

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A funny one-room game with an intense situation and comedic tension, August 6, 2015
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 1 hour

In the TADS game To Hell in a Hamper, you play a man in a hot-air balloon headed for immediate danger. Your only hope is to lighten your load, but you are hindered by your companion, Mr. Booby, who is a skillful hoarder.

The puzzles in this game are creative and enjoyable. I laughed out loud several times and showed it to my family. The humor works because it plays off the urgency and the tension between you and Booby.

I do believe it's impossible to get to an unwinning state without dying, but it can make the puzzles much much harder. It can be worth it to restart if you realize you need something, as the game is relatively short.

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful:
One of the Best One-Room Games I've Played, November 14, 2014

I'm not a huge fan of one-room games, but, as others have noted, this game turns what is normally an artificial limitation into a natural extension of the premise.

The start of the game is, aside from its unusually long length, a textbook example of how to provide immersion, orientation, and urgency all in one go: The initial diary entries set the humorous tone and sketch the broad outlines of the main characters' personalities, the problem to be overcome by the player is both clear and logical, and the first steps on the path to winning are almost immediately apparent.

Most importantly, this game was fun! The mounting tension had me both typing and reading faster as the game progressed, with just enough comic relief thrown in to keep me grinning.

Though I did find some bugs, they were not enough to seriously impact the playing experience. Definitely worth checking out if you've missed it so far.

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Hoarders, High above the Ground, December 19, 2013
by Hanon Ondricek (United States)

This is a brilliant piece of IF, and I'd call it a classic. It's a one room comedic farce told in dry Victorian sensibilities where you must coerce your hot-air balloon passenger, Mr. Booby, to relinquish a ridiculous number of heavy items he is concealing in his inventory to gain enough altitude so you don't crash and burn in the steadily approaching volcano. Delightful.

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Satisfying Take on the One Room Game, March 11, 2013
by mrudis65
Related reviews: one room, balloon ride

The premise is simple enough. Lighten the balloon so that it rises enough to clear the volcano. Only one problem. There isn't any ballast to throw overboard. The only source of weight comes from your companion in the balloon. Obviously he is more than he appears to be, and stubbornly refuses to part with anything.

In the game "Violet" your enemy was your own distractibility. Slowly, surely, you had to be rid of every distraction so that you could finally sit down and write your thesis. Here, the enemy is Mr. Hubert Booby and his hidden acquisitions that are keeping the balloon from lifting.

The hardest part of this game is figuring out what to keep and what to throw overboard. No spoilers here, just recommend saving before tossing anything overboard... Undo only takes you back one move, so it's possible to discover several moves later that you needed something.

If you find the puzzles too difficult, there are in-game hints to help. No need for a walkthrough. There is, however a rather interesting puzzle near the end for which there are no hints. (Spoiler - click to show)When Booby's Aunt Gertie appears you need to find a way to safely get her overboard. If you still can't work it out,(Spoiler - click to show)Aunt Gertie will need a parachute. If still stuck, (Spoiler - click to show)make the parachute, and tie it to her. After that, (Spoiler - click to show)she won't go willingly. You'll have to pu__.

I'm not a big fan of one room puzzle boxes. But this game was one of the better one rooms I've played. Hence the 3 stars.

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
Fantastic Bit of IF Fun, November 30, 2010
by tggdan3 (Michigan)

One of IF's adventure tropes is kleptomania. The adventurer grabs everything he can from treasures to matches because you never know when it will be useless. 2HiH subverts this by forcing you to part an adventurer with all his gear. And, like most IF games, the guy is holding far more than he should everbe able to.

Luckily, you're stronger than him.

The writing is done very well, and I only saw a few errors, though there are some things that broke disbelief a bit, such as certain objects (if thrown away too early) which come back to you after having been thrown from the balloon.

Still, definately a fun and humerous game worth your time. My only regreat is that it's TADS- not playable online and I had to download in interpreter just to play this game.

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
It's strengths over come it's flaws, by far., July 20, 2010
by lagran-G-an (Tel-Aviv, Israel)
Related reviews: One-room, Hamper, Hell

I enjoyed this game a lot, It had good puzzles and great writing. Although it is not without it's flaws. It's strengths easily over come, making To Hell In A Hamper, in my opinion a very enjoyable game.

The first thing that shines for the game is it's great setting. 10,000 feet in the air, flying over the Andes in a hot air-balloon. Trying to gain altitude and save your life. The writing has a light fun tone combined with the feeling of a 19th century explorers novel.
The puzzles were all very nice, and mostly well hinted. Some were very easy, and some a bit harder.

I have a few complaints. There are some places were the item or its interaction could be implemented better, in my opinion. (Spoiler - click to show)The vase's description says that it rattles when I turn it over. most naturally I wanted to turn it over to see what happens (hear the sound), but the game did not implement "turn over". Also, as I could shout into the trumpet, I expected to be able to shout into the dog's ear without the trumpet.

I also read the review, by puzzler, that said that there are ways to make the game unsolvable, and I read the authors reply. I still agree with the puzzler. I still believe it is possible to get stuck in the game, I understand that these are not on purpose, but are bugs. still I had to replay the game 4 times, and at one spot I found myself very stuck for a while because the game gave me the feeling it will save me from unsolvable situations. (Spoiler - click to show) You can throw the mallet before discovering the vase, but I suspect there is an alternative way to solve this puzzle. But I also managed somehow to throw the smudge stick, before throwing out the mummy. I doubt there is an alternative way to solving this puzzle. It got me stuck for a while, for I kept on going back to a saved game that was saved after I had already thrown the stick.

All and all, this is a very good game, and a fun experience. I definitely recommend it.

2 of 9 people found the following review helpful:
One room, a million laughs, July 31, 2009
by Dark-Star (Nebraska)

As a rule, successful one-room games are rare enough, even in the world of IF. But J. J. Guest has proven without a doubt that to every rule there is an exception, masterfully combining a plausible plot with completely believable NPCs. You'll have to gave the tinkering abilities of McGyver in order to get rid of the weighty trinkets that your ill-mannered obnoxious pest of a companion has secreted aboard the overloaded craft, which ultimately include him (Spoiler - click to show)as well as a Saint Bernard and his batty old aunt! And, by the time you get to that point, you will be quite willing to plant a boot on their backsides on the way out!

Come take a trip on this balloon - it's a wild ride, but I guarantee you'll enjoy it!

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful:
Why you don't want an adventurer on your balloon, February 1, 2009
by Victor Gijsbers (The Netherlands)
Related reviews: Comedy

The protagonist of To Hell in a Hamper has a problem: he's taken an IF adventurer on board. That, at least, is my explanation of why his fellow passenger Hubert Booby has collected such a load of junk, and is extremely unwilling to part with it. But part with it he must, or the two of you will fly against an erupting volcano and die!

The rest of the game is a satisfying sequence of puzzles where you have to discover all the stuff that Booby is carrying, and then somehow get rid of it. In some cases this is as simple as throwing it overboard (a Rembrandt painting, for instance), in others it is quite a bit more involved (the boomerang gives an obvious problem, and so does the cursed mummy).

One reviewer complained that you can get rid of some items too early, thus leaving the puzzles unsolvable. This has not been my experience; as far as I could tell, there was always an alternate solution. I cannot absolutely guarantee this, though.

My single complaint is that the game doesn't actually contain that many jokes. It has a good comic setup, and some of the stuff you discover inside Booby's coat is hilarious; but there are few events or descriptions in the rest of the game that make one laugh or smile. This game would have benefited from having Admiral Jota as a co-author; his gift for stuffing a game full of funny remarks would have been very effective here.

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