The People's Glorious Revolutionary Text Adventure Game

by Taylor Vaughan


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Number of Reviews: 8
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1-8 of 8

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Economic system satire, October 28, 2021

The goal is to turn the capitalist town (Goldwater avenue etc) into a communist paradise by performing the tasks on your to-do list. The puzzles are pretty standard text adventure style and can be annoying, but the solutions are pretty funny. One of my favorite games. Note: you don't need to be a communist to enjoy this game.

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
A short-to-mid length silly communism game, February 3, 2016

In this game, you are Commissar of the communist party in a capitalist town. You are given a series of tasks to accomplish to promote the cause of the communist party.

The game has several clever puzzles, and the puzzles have multiple solutions, which is fun. However, some of the puzzles seemed unintuitive.

The game is written from the viewpoint of a strongly anti-capitalist communist man, and the reactions to things like Starbucks is pretty amusing.

I didn't find this game as funny as some of the other reviewers did, although the confusion between Karl Marx and Groucho Marx was fun, as was the endgame.

Overall, I recommend that you try the first part; it's a very good representative of the rest of the game, and that way you'll know if you like it.

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful:
Not revolutionary game design, but so what?, March 16, 2015
by Andrew Schultz (Chicago)

PGRTAG was one of the first games I played when I came back to text adventures and judged for IFComp 2010. It doesn't seem to break any theoretical ground or have grand arguments. It would be easy to disqualify as dashed off, and I suspected once I saw ten or so games like this, I wouldn't be so high on it.

But after testing and playing a lot of games, I still haven't found many that reached this level. In so many humor games, I see what they're trying to do, and I say good job, but this one's jokes are immersive. I was worried from the title that the game might be overdone, but it feels balanced right.

Though originally I figured, sure, I enjoyed it, but it's not going to last. I figured once I learned more and saw more, I'd be glad I played it and all, but I really need to learn from more sophisticated efforts.

It's several years later and I'm still coming back to it, though, while games that discuss structure are more over my head, or I don't feel as invited to learn from them, or I figured I got their lesson and I'd like to move on. This game does pretty much everything it wants to, right. It's a spontaneous affair, and it has those touches I wish I'd seen. The over the top narrative voice makes fun of, say, coffee shops and people who complain about them too much. The puzzle where Comrade Rosalia wants to share Communist Manifestos with the students but needs one for everyone is funny and sad bad-logic.

The end result for me is a very spontaneous game. You're invited to try silly stuff, and in fact the two paths through the game are very funny, and the alternate solutions let you use items differently. There's a best ending ((Spoiler - click to show)don't use the pawn shop) and a not-best, and they both make sense.

I think the community needs games like this, to keep us all grounded, or to remember that you don't have to be academic to sort old ideas into new stuff, or even to enter into Interesting Arguments (all arguments between NPCs in the game are suitably ludicrous.) I mean, when I read about reworkings of an old myth or whatever, I can't really mark that as superior to something like this, which pastes silly tropes and leaves you feeling, yes, it's okay to write silly stuff and want to.

On the downside, there's some guess the verb ((Spoiler - click to show)POINT device at X) and some annoying disambiguation among devices, where you have three "(long name)" device to choose from. But the game's short enough, it's not a huge deal.

Sadly, I haven't seen the author again. I hope they come back. Even a game half as good would be very welcome. When someone writes a game like this, it's easy to feel they can just dash off another. But it's not so easy to find that big-idea sweet spot and execute it. Still, as a blueprint for writing something very funny, it's hard to beat PGRTAG.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
Utterly Charming, March 27, 2012
by Jim Kaplan (Jim Kaplan has a room called the location. The location of Jim Kaplan is variable.)
Related reviews: taylor vaughan, humor

Play it if: you're in the mood for some distraction and a bit of light humor that plays off some lovely caricatures of communism and capitalism.

Don't play it if: you're in the mood for intellectual challenge or satire that's actually razor-sharp instead of soft, warm, and fluffy.

The People's Glorious Revolutionary Text Adventure Game can only be encapsulated in the word "charming". The whole game is filled with a kind of whimsy you can find in the old Monkey Island puzzle-solving games: some light satire, a bit of caricature, and a young, plucky would-be hero.

There are really three levels to the humor here. The first is the caricatured viewpoint of the main character (appropriately named Karl). It's great fun to read the verbose and melodramatic descriptions given to vile dens of capitalism (e.g. a coffee joint) and glorious artifacts of the Revolution (e.g. your hat). The second is the ridiculously simplistic tools and methods you're expected to use to overcome capitalism - among them the Ventriloquator, a device which forces its target to spout Marxist slogans. The third level is the fact that the world actually bears out the logic of these methods. The capitalist world is just as surreal as Karl's mind, from the government bureaucrat's behavior to the bizarrely simple steps which will supposedly collapse the government and implode the economy to achieve Revolution.

The only real complaint I have about the game is its lack of ambition. For all its charm, the game feels a bit too short, and one gets the feeling that The People's Glorious Revolutionary Text Adventure Game could have taken its cues from the previously-mentioned LucasArts puzzle-solving games to expand the setting and the story a little.

Still, The People's Glorious Revolutionary Text Adventure Game (boy, am I getting tired of typing that out) is a solid game with no discernible gameplay hitches. This would make a good easy distraction and an excellent beginner's introduction to interactive fiction.

P.S. Oh, and the soundtrack on the author's website is brill. Good touch, Taylor!

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3 of 7 people found the following review helpful:
Harmless, February 16, 2011
by Victor Gijsbers (The Netherlands)

Well-polished low-difficulty puzzlers with little artistic ambition: that might well be the new "standard" for interactive fiction. Although they do little to move the medium forward, and don't exactly give you food for thought, such games are certainly pleasant. "Entertainment not frustration" is the guiding idea. And it's good entertainment. With only slight reservations I would say that the two highest ranking games from this years' IF Competition (Aotearoa and Rogue of the Multiverse) fall into this category.

The People's Glorious Revolutionary Text Adventure Game, which placed a very respectable 7th, certainly does. In this piece, a man called Karl has the task to start a communist revolution in a fictitious American city. You are provided with a list of revolutionary goals, which you can set out to achieve in any order. Each of them will require you to solve a puzzle, which is generally not very hard. If you do get stuck, there is an in-game hint system and a single-use device which allows you to bypass any puzzle in the game. In keeping with the tone of the story, the logic of the game slightly absurd; this is generally not a problem, but one or two puzzle solutions do not make a lot of sense. All in all, this is a game that even someone new to IF could successfully complete.

But let's get back to the tone of the game. It is very light-hearted, so light-hearted in fact that it has become lighter than air and now floats far above all real political problems. In this game, being a communist equals having a name like "Jetski" and feeling pride when you see the hammer-and-sickle; while being a capitalist means that you worship Reagan and believe that life is a book by Horatio Alger. Now you don't have to be serious about political issues: from at least the time of Aristophanes, authors have known that comedy is a great genre for taking on big problems. But The People's Glorious Revolutionary Text Adventure Game is not even satire. Its jokes have no bite. It is harmless.

There are so many ways in which interesting political commentary could have been inserted into this game! But the farthest the author goes is to make fun of one particularly unlikely the rags-to-richness story. Not even Glenn Beck would be offended by that. (Alger, Beck: this is the point where I want to be praised for my encyclopedic knowledge of US culture! :D Though perhaps I should have been spending my time with Faulkner or Melville or some other good stuff.) This is a missed opportunity. Because The People's Glorious Revolutionary Text Adventure Game mentions but does not engage serious issues, its shallowness becomes bothersome.

One could go as far as to argue that any work which reduces political disagreement to harmless humour is thereby strengthening the status quo -- in this case, neo-liberal capitalism -- and thus not harmless. But the extremely slight satire of capitalism that can be found in The People's Glorious Revolutionary Text Adventure Game is probably enough to counterbalance this. Even from this perspective, then, this game is completely harmless.

In conclusion: this game is a fun diversion. It is also nothing more.

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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful:
Concise, with a lovely, dry wit, February 14, 2011
by Kim Ahmad (Toronto, Canada)

I think that I'm going to have to add this to my collection of "gateway games," with which to introduce new players to IF. It's a quick play, reasonably well-hinted, with built-in hints available that should minimize frustration. Almost all puzzles have multiple solutions and yet the same objects can be used to solve multiple puzzles, so there aren't a whole pile of red herrings left around. However, aside from just being, as described, a well-designed game that works, it's a barrel of fun to play, if you enjoy its dry wit. It's very well-written, and I think one of the only reasons it's not up for a best-writing XYZZY (other than that I didn't get around to putting in nominations, to be fair) this year is that its light-hearted writing is more fun than evocative, per se. The story is engaging, and many of the responses brought a smile to my face. It's also very rare that I'll play a game multiple times, but I'm keen on trying to play through this one again looking for an alternate ending. Overall, I recommend this one quite a bit.

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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful:
Revolutionary Funny!, November 2, 2010

A very fresh parody adventure game. Writing is very brief but carries enough punch to make you laugh at every communist remark. The non-linear gameplay and the seemingly confusing positive outcomes of wrong decisions that waste important items can lead to several restarts but the game is short enough and puzzles are all very logical and obvious enough to not frustrate the player, although a morality dilemma that may or may not be taken seriously will lead to a sudden twist that marks the otherwise happy ending. The game is very well paced, with a free roaming puzzle solving and action-packed culmination that is a bit shallow and could have been more intense.

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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful:
A sonnet review 8), October 17, 2010

The People's Glorious Revolutionary Text Adventure Game

I like a laugh when I fire up a game,
And I'm a serious Marx Brothers fan,
So, though it's got a most unwieldy name
For sonnetizing, I will say the span
Of time spent playing passes pleasantly
As one goes forth to stir up discontent
Amongst the masses (Played in company
Such as I had, it's even better), meant
To choose Red over other hues, one finds
A to-do list of challenges, each one
To win the people's hearts and sometimes minds.
The toys you get to use are lots of fun,
And though it's communism you must spread,
You're forcing Groucho quoting in its stead.

Cross-posted from Suppertime Sonnets

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