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About the Story
You are the Baker of Shireton. The bread you bake is delicious. Raiders are coming.
19th Place - 21st Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2015)
Pissy LIttle Sausages
You know how Shireton is famous for its delicious bread? I bake that.
…well, I don’t know what I did, but there is a raider in my bakery now and I think he is murdering all of my customers. This is… bad? Yes. Bad.
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The Short Game (Audio Podcast) (12m40s)
"This game is...um...not what it seems on the tin..."
"As a baking simulation it fails....You are baking things, and people come, and you can sing a song, give a quest....then a raider comes and kills you. ... There's a lot more game there... The game is so much more once you get out of the bakery..."
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Baker of Shireton, revisited (a second review)
Hanon has executed some neat programming tricks to allow the game to remember past game states after a restart. That's a difficult trick with Inform. The game also makes great use of variant font styles, to simulate human PCs participating in a multi-player online game.
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|Average Rating: |
Number of Reviews: 2
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This IFComp 2015 game starts off as a time-management baking game that I at first found very difficult to keep track of, and several non-standard inventory items.
Eventually things start to happen. The game gets much more interesting. However, micromanagment still abounds. Things can get frequently lost; things have to be replaced. A dozen or more NPC's of various types come and go, doing what they please, and it is difficult to keep track of everything.
I played through this game twice, a couple of weeks apart, and it was still hard to juggle everything the second time, knowing exactly what I needed to do. However, I understood the game much better the second time, and I appreciated it more. Some of the meta techniques are incredibly clever.
In this game-within-a-game, you are one of the non-player characters (NPCs) in an online game named Age of Aeons (AoA). Think World of Warcraft and you have the idea. "Baker" is a parody of that genre.
You are stuck in your bakery in Shireton (Stormwind?). Though baking bread makes you happy, you also want to leave and see the world. But AoA's rules don't permit that. You have a fixed role, and you can't leave. In order to get past AoA's rules, you need to exploit bugs in AoA, avoid being reset by AoA's admins, and get a bit of help from other NPCs and even AoA's players.
The premise really appealed to me, as did the process of discovering what was possible within the bakery. Your escape is enabled by an unconventional puzzle, and there's a nice moment when you figure it out, because it defies the usual idea of how the game interpreter program works. I enjoyed the characters you meet in game, such as the other NPCs, who have varied levels of awareness of their world. There are also "players" of AoA. At first these seemed to be a simple satire of WoW players, but actually their role in Baker was deeper than that, and some were smarter than they appeared. For instance, (Spoiler - click to show)they recruit the baker in order to defeat a boss.
I enjoyed solving the game, particularly the early/mid-game stages. However I felt that the illusion of the AoA scenario was broken in the later stages of the game when (Spoiler - click to show)one of AoA's players talks to you directly and expects you to solve a puzzle. But in reality no-one would expect the baker to do anything other than bake bread. While early parts of the game give you the illusion of a lot of choice, and many things to try, and the mid stage rewards you with a larger world and more NPCs to meet, the later parts of the game are not so satisfying. The final parts of the game are effectively "on rails" - few actions are possible, and you are just responding to the game in order to advance it to the conclusion.
Baker is one of those competition games that was extensively tuned during the competition in response to feedback. The process of baking became easy, with minimal resource management, and the puzzles became better clued. The hints and walkthrough are excellent, and have the nice property of becoming increasingly detailed rather than revealing everything on page 1. It's nicely polished. Play it all the way through, take the time to enjoy the inane things that the AoA "players" say, and don't worry too much about being a good baker.
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