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About the Story
You're almost at the end of that adventure game you've struggled so hard to beat, when things get a little crazy.
6th Place, TADS Division - First Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (1995)
A tiny little weird game. The premise: You're playing an adventure game on a corrupted disk. All you need to do now to win is get past the duck and the frog. Packed with self-reference. Has been called an anti-game.
-- Carl Muckenhoupt
Many of the items in the game are very neat ideas, when seen in isolation [...] However, when all these elements are just thrown together and presented as a game without any further explanation, the result is more frustrating than amusing. If there had been some hidden internal logic to be discovered it would have posed an intellectual challenge; but personally I don't find trying to solve puzzles that aren't there very challenging, especially when the only way forward seems to be trial and error; it just makes me feel like the author is pulling my leg.
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I'm afraid this game totally got the better of me. I just didn't understand what the writer was on about. Maybe his sense of humour is something that I didn't grasp or maybe he lives in a different world.
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|Average Rating: |
Number of Reviews: 5
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Most Helpful Member Reviews
Undo is a prank. What makes it interesting is that it is also clever, short, and (sort of) solvable. While I can't say that this is more than a two star game, it is easily a four or five star joke, and well worth the couple minutes it will take to experience it.
Out of the twelve games in the very first IF Comp two were essentially anti-games: Undo and MST3K presents "Detective." Both games were fairly hilarious meditations on badness and (for better or worse) helped stretch the definition of what would be considered acceptable IF.
Unlike this year's The Absolute Worst IF Game in History, Undo shows that a disrespectful gesture can be made in a classy way. A pie in the face every once in a while is fine: how about custard instead of cow?
Baf's guide says this piece "has been called an anti-game." I'm willing to bet it's been called a lot worse.
With thorough exploration, when armed with some knowledge of IF programming and history, this work can be appreciated for some of the nuances of coding and genre that it subverts. However, it is entirely unsatisfying from a narrative perspective, offering only a raw "puzzle" (technically a riddle, wrapped in mystery, inside an enigma) that is disconnected from the story's ostensible premise and any conceivable player motivation other than sheer will-to-complete.
It's really too bad. The seed idea (allegedly: trying to complete an adventure game that has become corrupted and no longer functions correctly) is the kind of scenario that might have actually happened in the nostalgic era of oft-pirated 5 1/4" floppies. It seems like it would be possible to build a surrealist story with clever puzzles on this foundation, and, based on his later work with the Frenetic Five series, I am certain Mr. DeMause had the creativity to do so.
Although I did not like this particular example of the author's handiwork, it is competently put together, and some small part of me does appreciate it how it can be appreciated. As such, I am compelled to give it two stars, though I recommend avoiding it unless you are interested in its historical value as an entry in the very first IF Comp.
The game is very brief--I spent about ten minutes beating it, exploring everything as thoroughly as possible--but it has a few entertaining bits. For example, if you check your inventory, you're told that "You have everything that you need.", and in the Binary Room you can take 0 (or take nothing) and your inventory will change to "You have nothing." If you take other objects, e.g. take 1, then "You have nothing and a 1." You can drop nothing and then "You have a 1 and everything that you need." Inspired by The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, if I'm not mistaken, quite appropriate for a piece of IF which is about a piece of IF.
The game's solution more or less makes sense, though you're more likely to stumble across it than to reason it out. I've written some invisiclues-style hints for the game, if you're stuck.
Undo has a few neat ideas and an interesting premise, but it doesn't really do anything with them, and feels more like Speed-IF than a real game. It can safely remain a relic of the past.
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So, I download a game and fire up the 'terp. A dozen or two moves later, I discover that the game is pretty absurd and is already finished. Mostly, this makes me roll my eyes, but these made me smile too.
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This is version 4 of this page, edited by Edward Lacey on 18 March 2013 at 12:42pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item