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23rd Place - 5th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (1999)
Tiny self-referential game--you're trying to write your competition entry, but you're out of ideas. There's really not much there--the game has one puzzle, relatively straightforward--though what's there works reasonably well, and there's a modicum of creativity involved.
-- Duncan Stevens
>INVENTORY - Paul O'Brian writes about interactive fiction
Sure, it's a trifle, but that's OK. It's done reasonably well, is not redolent with references only the author could understand, and its idea is (I can't believe I'm saying this) actually pretty clever. Yes, despite the fact that you begin the game sitting at your desk, in your apartment, on your chair, staring at your computer and your proposed competition entry therein, Calliope turns out to be pretty fun rather than really boring. It seems that exhaustion is approaching for you, the prospective author, and that your previous efforts whacking away at that competition entry have been rather uninspired. But the Muse (the game's title is a whopping hint) can strike at unexpected times...
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A neat little meta-fictional game about the trials and tribulations of IF writer's block, featuring a guest appearance from the muse of epic poetry (hence the tortured pun in my review title). It's nicely packaged for a short game, and relatively well-paced, but suffers from a crucial guess-the-verb problem at the last moment.
(Spoiler - click to show)I tried 'writing' the game, I tried 'typing' the game, I even tried 'playing' the game, but didn't think to 'make' it or 'put' it until I'd banged my head against the wall too many times. A fault of my own imagination, perhaps, but a more modern version should certainly have circumvented this difficulty.
This is a relatively short game. You play a programmer in an apartment who is trying to get IFComp inspiration.
As you continually attempt to write your game, you begin to get trippy dreams...or are they dreams?
The game is over relatively quickly, but its enjoyable while it lasts. Has a couple of puzzles.
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