Endless, Nameless

by Adam Cadre profile


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Number of Ratings: 52
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- aluminumoxynitride, March 10, 2024

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
Not for everyone, September 29, 2023

I had great expectations for this highly-rated game written by a celebrated author, but unfortunately the playing experience was very frustrating for me.

Then game starts as an old-style, unforgiving adventure, of the kind that was popular in my youth. After some time you are catapulted in an upper-level universe where you are informed (in case you had not noticed before) that the story you had played up to that point is a game-inside-a-game. The characters in the outside world are other players of that game and can give you hints on how to proceed.

So far, so good. We can play alternately the “inside” adventure while enjoying the “outside” interactive fiction. The former is cruel and will happily kill you for each mechanical imprecision, but you can restart it in a couple of commands, and meanwhile you can enjoy the friendly and carefully crafted outside world, collecting the next hint to proceed and enjoying some moments of relax where you can just talk and interact with objects in a safe environment.

Unfortunately, the warm feeling does not last. The hints for the inner adventure progressively get sparser and less reliable, so that the fake difficulty of the inner adventure becomes very real. You have to perform an ever-increasing sequence of actions to return to the point where you were killed the time before. Granted, your Z-machine interpreter can hopefully save and replay actions saving you time, but probably you won't enjoy seeing the “Open file...” dialog every two minutes. Meanwhile, the outside world does not evolve, making it less and less interesting to linger in there.

This process killed all my enthusiasm. At the end I was so exhausted that I just got a walkthrough and reproduced the actions. There I discovered that in the apparently safe outside adventure one can at a certain point make an irreversible action which secretly locks the player out of all but the worst possible ending. But this was not too bad news for me as such ending was also the shortest one.

I guess I missed a lot of what makes the game so special for many players, be it the subtle references to classic games of the Eighties or the elaborate alternative endings with multiple levels of reality. But even after reading various analyses, I feel this game is too exclusive and could have offered something more for the laypeople. I'm not an IF expert by any means but I am also not a total novice, so I wonder which level of experience in interactive fiction is required for one to really “get” this game.

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- gattociao, September 9, 2023

- Kastel, June 18, 2023

- Catalina, April 26, 2023

- elysee, April 24, 2023

- imollo, December 3, 2022

- TheBoxThinker, May 25, 2022

- Edo, April 25, 2021

- Zape, April 22, 2021

- Karlok (Netherlands), April 14, 2021

- William Chet (Michigan), July 19, 2020

- Jonathan Verso, December 10, 2019

- leycec, December 5, 2019

- Durafen, September 21, 2019

- Stian, May 21, 2019

- JoQsh, December 13, 2018

- oscar-78, December 5, 2018

- Naeemah, October 6, 2017

- Denk, June 26, 2017

- Christopher Hall (London, Great Britain), October 27, 2016

- Xuan Li, October 6, 2016

- Zoltar, September 16, 2016

- Peregrine Wade, May 5, 2016

- E. W. B., February 23, 2016

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