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About the Story
The disgrace and humiliation of last year's defeat is behind you. This time, with the help of the gods, you'll win this competition for sure.
10th Place - 22nd Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2016)
The Breakfast Review
It feels a bit austere, perhaps in part because the story is set at a generic high school and therefore carries with it the idea of the functional institution. It's not necessarily a bad thing, any more than a bare white wall is a bad thing for the display of a surrealist painting. I feel that it focusses attention on the task at hand. This isn't, after all, a game in which we're really seeking to understand the protagonist's motivations and their place within the world. They have one idea and one idea only--the game of Rock-Paper-Scissors--and that all-consuming obsession is sufficient characterisation to carry the piece.
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...I mean that kindly! Most parser comp entries these days are notably "new school" or newer, but How to Win at Rock Paper Scissors is of some other, earlier school which I will not pretend to taxonomize, since our periodizations seem to change constantly.
What I'm trying to say is. How to Win at Rock Paper Scissors is a fun and funny chilled-out get-X-use-X jaunt, with various lock-and-key puzzles that involve some clever lateral thinking and some notably uninteractive NPCs. It's a relaxing style of game, good for a lunch break, rarely seen in the wild these days. Like its 2007 counterparts, HTWARPS is a little unpolished, but it doesn't much affect one's enjoyment, and the clever error messages are of the more amusing kind.
So, nothing hugely substantial, but good fun. I'm glad that such things are still being made.
This game is a good example of how you can take just any idea and polish it up into something fun.
The idea (playing paper rocks scissors with crazy consequences) is interesting, but so many other comp parser games had interesting ideas and just failed. There were parser games where no exits were listed, games where only one synonym out of 20 were implemented, games where the writing was incomprehensible, games with big text dumps.
This game, however, hit up all of the important points for basic player enjoyment: adaptive in-game hints, synonyms implemented, standard responses changed, consistent puzzles, etc.
My personal favorite bit was:
You take a big bite out of your cell phone and chew thoroughly.
Okay, you don't actually do that, because that would be dumb."
The writing was a bit sparse, and the story was minimal, but this game still was fun and placed high. Why? Because those pieces of basic player enjoyment are the most important part of a parser game, I believe.
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