* Compressed with ZIP. Free Unzip tools are available for most systems at www.info-zip.org.
Have you played this game?You can rate this game, record that you've played it, or put it on your wish list after you log in.
Playlists and Wishlists
RSS FeedsNew member reviews
Updates to downloadable files
All updates to this page
About the Story
Stranded on Interstate Zero after your car broke down, you are miles away from the last sign of civilization. It's twenty minutes to noon and the temperature is well over 120°F. It's beginning to look like you won't make it to your family's Thanksgiving dinner...
Winner, Best Game; Nominee, Best Writing; Nominee, Best Story; Nominee, Best Setting; Nominee, Best NPCs; Nominee - The Taco Junta Girl, Best Individual NPC; Winner - Tracy Valencia, Best Individual PC; Nominee, Best Use of Medium - 1997 XYZZY Awards
Here's one game that actually allows you a gret deal of freedom to determine the plot. As Tracy Valencia, a nearly-18-year-old college student, you're stuck in the middle of the American desert with a broken car. Has sexual content that can vary from merely suggestive to downright raunchy, depending on how it's played. Any particular session will be quite short, but the game is highly replayable due to its many alternate paths and solutions. Has a large time limit. Some paths require long periods of waiting.
-- Carl Muckenhoupt
The game isn't particularly big, or particularly difficult, but it doesn't give you any "You can't do that here" messages, and everything is very detailed. It lets you roam free, it doesn't let you sit there and have the plot stuffed down you throat. Adam, a darn fine piece of work.
See the full review
There are many reasons for the incredible popularity of Adam Cadre's Interstate Zero (or I-0, as it's better known) when it hit ftp.gmd.de earlier this year. It has an engaging lead character (Tracy Valencia, a free-spirited college student on her way home for her 18th birthday), a tantalizing setting (out of gas in the middle of the most desolate stretch of the desert state of Dorado), and a level of detail that sets new standards for interactive fiction (if Tracy's car doesn't have an alternator implemented, it's only because she doesn't know what one is). But mostly, it's got sex.
See the full review
|Average Rating: |
Number of Reviews: 11
Write a review
Most Helpful Member Reviews
It surprises me a little that Adam Cadre's first game won the 1997 XYZZY Award for Best Game. While I-0 certainly isn't bad, and may have broken some new ground, it is a bit too immature to be counted among the greats.
The immaturity is clearest, of course, in the game's depiction of sex and sexuality. I-0 is famous for the fact that its protagonist, who is just one day shy of being 18 years old, can undress everywhere and can attempt to perform sexual acts with every NPC (not always successfully). Cadre doesn't take sexuality seriously enough to say something substantial about it; but he doesn't take it lightly enough to turn it into matter-of-course actions either, as Adam Thornton would do in Mentula Macanus. Nor does Cadre go for straight pornography or erotic romance. Rather, it feels as if the narrator (I will not judge the writer) is fascinated by sex while being too ashamed by this fascination to truly admit it. He flirts with being transgressive, but generally pulls back at the last moment.
An obvious example of this can be found in the final scene, where (Spoiler - click to show)the command "rub clit" leads to the following response:
You don’t get very far before Trevor pounds on the wall. “Hey, keep it down!” he shouts. “Some of us are trying to sleep! Can’t you at least go use the tub faucet like usual?”That is the narrator being 'knowledgeable' about female masturbation and therefore 'cool', without having the guts to try to describe the experience. Hence, he turns it into a joke at the crucial moment.
However, it should be stressed that I-0 is not just about sex; indeed, one can perfectly well play through the entire game without engaging in it. In fact, the game's main interest is probably the plot structure, which is widely branching. There are several ways to get home, and they sometimes involve completely different locations and NPCs; and there are even more ways to die, get arrested, or end up in the hospital.
In this respect I-0 is also an immature game; though not in the sense of "adolescent", but in the sense that the form of puzzle-light games with branching narratives was still in its infancy. With the benefit of hindsight, it is obvious that some of the design decisions in I-0 are not particularly successful. For instance, the use of completely disjunct and unrelated narrative strands only means that we can play two more or less separate games if we have the patience to search for them; here is no meaningful connection between these playthroughs. Playing one of the strands does not throw new light on the other. This means that the branching narrative is little more than a gimmick.
Another defect of the design is that most of the branches are hidden quite well. It is entirely possible to play through the game, finding the way forward only with some difficulty, and never getting an inkling that there were other possibilities as well. This lack of the obviousness of choice undermines the power of having a branching narrative. (Not all choice needs to be obvious, but by making some choices obvious a game can indicate that it has branching plot lines and will reward further exploration.)
Be that as it may, I-0 is still an easy game to like. For an IF game, the setting, plot and characters that Cadre give us are fresh; the writing is often good; and fooling around with Tracy is fun. On top of that, it was an innovative game in its time, and deserves some historical recognition. One of the essential IF pieces? Perhaps not, but it is not too far removed from that category.
(Prospective players may wish to know that on some playthroughs, the game contains sexual abuse, though this is not described in any detail.)
After all I'd heard about this game it ended up not being anything like I was expecting. It is true that you play a 17-year-old girl who can take her clothes off any time she wants, but that doesn't affect game play nearly as much as I expected. In fact, if you completely ignored this option (which I would recommend on your first several playthroughs) then the game hardly plays any differently and only a few of the branches are closed off to you.
This game isn't really a story-based game (there's almost no plot arch) and it isn't really a puzzle game (unless trying to figure out how to accomplish certain task with the parser is considered a puzzle). It is just a trying-a-bunch-of-stuff game, but that can be fun too.
I did have a few frustrations with it, however:
(Spoiler - click to show)
I think the parser's response to certain phrases could have been more robust. There were at least two instances when I typed something (for example: "get out from under car") and the game responded by telling me I had to do what I had just asked to do first (the response was literally "You have to get out from under the car first"). Also, I asked the server to use the phone, got a reply of "sure, whatever" but then couldn't use a phone.
I also hated how much waiting the game required at certain points. Typing "wait" over and over again doesn't make for fun game play.
Overall, fun for 3-4 playthroughs (each only takes 15 minutes or so) to try to figure out how to get home, but not much depth past that.
Everyone talks about the "sexual content" in this game in a sort of "ooh, naughty", laughing behind the hand kind of way. I really wish that someone had mentioned that some of that content can involve the player getting (Spoiler - click to show)raped and murdered. That kind of killed the fun atmosphere it was going for, at least for me. I don't mind the sexy content otherwise, even if it is, as others have mentioned, pretty juvenile, but that was jarring and unpleasant. It's unfortunate-the game is well implemented, and I like that it gives you multiple ways to solve things. But it left a sour taste in my mouth.
See All 14 Member Reviews
If you enjoyed I-0...
Related GamesPeople who like I-0 also gave high ratings to these games:
|Soul Thief, by Mad Hatter’s Daughter|
Average member rating: (4 ratings)
The Gods discover a soul thief among humans. A story about an ethereal romance and an otherworldly mystery. Entrant and winner of EndMaster's IS "Resurrection" Contest!
|Fingertips: Please Pass the Milk Please, by Adri|
Average member rating: (14 ratings)
Your brother Sam is sitting across from you. He seems to be waiting for something. Written for the Apollo 18+20 tribute album project, and loosely inspired by the They Might Be Giants track of the same name.
|The Dilettante's Debut, by Hannah Powell-Smith, Failbetter Games|
Average member rating: (1 rating)
The great and noble house of Fairfax has fallen into decay. Its last heir idles away his fortune on dark dreams. Will you restore them to glory? Or help bring about their final collapse?
Recommended ListsI-0 appears in the following Recommended Lists:
A timeline of some important games for authors by MathBrush
This is a timeline of some highly influential games that were among the first to use specific techniques or which left a mark on future games. It leaves out games like Spellbreaker, Birdland, or Superluminal Vagrant Twin that were...
Games with a strong PC by Tiny Clanger
In some games you mustn't just act, but act in character. In most games, Captain Kirk won't be allowed to shoot Mr Spock, and obviously nonsensical acts are disallowed. But in others, the whole world and its descriptions are filtered...
PollsThe following polls include votes for I-0:
Best IF Titles by Fredrik
No doubt you have played some great games with great titles, or been disappointed to find games with great titles that did not hold up to expectations. What are the best titles of IF? They can be funny, elegant, evocative, or whatever...
Sandbox games by JonathanCR
There are two competing philosophies in game design (in games in general, not just text games). One is the story: tell a story in which the player is the protagonist. Games of this kind have strong plotting but they can often seem to...
Multiple solutions to puzzles and/or situations. by Hulk Handsome
Games that offer more than one solution to most of the puzzles and/or situations encountered. Bonus points if this means that items have multiple applications (unless they do something even more clever).
This is version 19 of this page, edited by Lance Campbell on 15 April 2020 at 2:32pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item