A Night at the Museum Forever

by Chris Angelini

Time Travel

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful:
An artifact of its time, May 4, 2009
by madducks (Indianapolis, Indiana)
Related reviews: IF Comp 1995

"A Night at the Museum Forever" by Chris Angelini, Forth Place finisher in the TADS division of the 1995 ifcomp, is the stereotype of an early amateur IF work. The entire premise is an excuse for the central puzzle; we find out that you are a professional "troubleshooter" hired by a corporation to recover a diamond ring in an otherwise ransacked museum which apparently can travel through time. There is no attempt to make us care about or understand why the diamond ring is there or why it would be so valuable, all of which is pointless since the solution to the puzzle renders the goal nonsensical. The implementation is paper-thin and the few puzzles are immediately obvious.

The minimal narrative frame is only given lip-service, and in fact at one point the fourth-wall came crashing down in front of me as I tried to examine the time machine and was told that "Its [sic] far beyond your ability to comprehend. Of course, as is typical of these adventure games, that isn't going to stop you from using it, now is it?" The introduction has a list of mysteries that never get answered or mentioned again. Additionally, the entire game has an unmentioned time-limit framed as a hunger puzzle, to which there is no solution. Even though this game is short, I completed it in half an hour, I recommend that all but the most die-hard completionists skip this one.

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David Welbourn, May 4, 2009 - Reply
Believe it or not, I think the hunger daemon was a default feature of the TADS' library, way back in its very earliest years. So it's not that the author added hunger and death by hunger (and no food) to his game, it's that he didn't disable the feature. (We really thought back then that every text adventure ought to have hunger implemented? Seriously? Live and learn.)
madducks, May 4, 2009 - Reply
I never knew that before and it's good to know. Is there a way of figuring out during run time if the version of TADS it was developed in will have that default? In this case I don't think the fact that hunger may have been a default in TADS at the time will really change my opinion of this game much, but it would be good to know in the future if I run into it in some older games that it may not have been authorial intent.
David Welbourn, May 4, 2009 - Reply
No easy way to check that I know of. I believe the hunger daemon makes itself known at turn 200, and I think there's a sleep or thirst daemon at turn 400? (I seem to recall some other game (with food) where I got to see the other daemon, but I can't remember which.)
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