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An historical curiosity for the historically curious., December 27, 2012
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.