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Contains arrival.gam
For all systems. To play, you'll need a TADS 2 Interpreter - visit for interpreter downloads.
original competition entry
For all systems. To play, you'll need a TADS 2 Interpreter - visit for interpreter downloads.
multimedia file
multimedia file
Author's warning about bug in competition release
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Arrival, or Attack of the B-Movie Clichés

by Stephen Granade profile

Alien Visitation/Satire

(based on 31 ratings)
6 member reviews

Game Details

Language: English (en)
Current Version: Release 2
License: Freeware
Development System: TADS 2
Baf's Guide ID: 301
TUID: b7zs6ocxlntb1u7c


Nominee, Best Use of Medium - 1998 XYZZY Awards

4th Place - 4th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (1998)

Editorial Reviews

Baf's Guide

You're an 8-year-old who's just noticed that aliens have landed in your backyard. The first game to use the features offered by HTML-TADS, Arrival does so in B-movie style, as suggested by the title: the pictures and sounds strive for silliness rather than realism. The pictures are drawings that appear to be those of an 8-year-old, and the sounds are effects that you might hear in an Ed Wood movie--and the whole thing is immensely funny. The game is arguably even better, however; some of the puzzles are difficult, but not unfairly so, and there are plenty of Easter eggs that play on your parents' refusal to notice the aliens or their ship. The aliens themselves are a scream, and you can access their web page while on the ship, which is just as funny. Worth playing with or without the HTML features (they're built into the game file in the latest release).

-- Duncan Stevens

Reviews from Duncan Stevens and Paul O'Brian.
See the full review

>VERBOSE -- Paul O'Brian's Interactive Fiction Page

The Arrival is the first HTML-TADS game I've ever played, certainly the first competition game ever to include pictures and sound. I was quite curious as to how these elements would be handled, and maybe even a little apprehensive. I wasn't sure that a lone hobbyist could create visual and musical elements that wouldn't detract from a game more than they added to it. But Arrival dispelled those fears, handling both pictures and sound brilliantly...

However, all the funny pictures and sounds in the world couldn't make Arrival a good game if it wasn't, at its core, a well-written text adventure. Luckily for us, it is. The game is full of cleverly written, funny moments, and has layers of detail I didn't even recognize until I read the postscript of amusing things to do... In addition, Arrival is one of the better games I've seen this year at unexpectedly understanding input and giving snarky responses to strange commands, which has been one of my favorite things about text adventures ever since I first played Zork. Even if you can't (or don't want to) run the HTML part of HTML TADS, it would still be well worth your time to seek out The Arrival.
See the full review


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Number of Reviews: 3
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Lots of Tongue-in-Cheek Fun, March 2, 2013
by Metz77 (Massachusetts, USA)
Related reviews: ****

Granade has put together a wonderful pastiche that crosses elements of an Ed Wood film and a young boy's English class writing assignment. Two ridiculous aliens (made of modeling clay in the game's illustrations) land their spaceship (two pie plates taped together) in your backyard. They decide that you, an eight-year-old child, are Earth's ambassador. From there, you explore a crudely (but appealingly) crayon-illustrated world in your attempts to thwart their invasion while seeming to meet their demands.

As long as you're careful to explore everywhere, the puzzles are mostly fairly easy, befitting a game with a child protagonist. There is one puzzle that requires a bit of save-and-restore trial-and-error to time correctly, but in his afterword Granade cops to its unfairness, so props for that.

The game is well-coded in HTML TADS and uses the system's capabilities to good effect, with frequently-appearing graphics and occasional midi tunes composed by Granade himself. Many objects are given interactions with verbs one wouldn't expect, to delightful effect.

One thing that irked me -- and this may simply be a problem with the system, not the game -- is that the world stops entirely with the wait command. It is possible to listen in on several background conversations between the aliens, and not being able to just hit "z" to listen in broke my immersion a little bit.

All in all, though, Arrival is a terrific little romp that shouldn't be missed.

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Like Roald Dahl with crayon illustrations; an alien game, February 4, 2016

This shortish HTML TADS game was the first to use that platform, incorporating images into the text. The images are crayon drawings and playdough photographs. These worked in HTML TADS on my Windows machine, but something was wrong with the text formatting and status line, and the game crashed. I finished on Gargoyle with no images.

The story and puzzles are simple; aliens land in your backyard and demand some items; you have to investigate them and deal with your parents, too.

Some of the puzzles were a bit obscure, but there aren't too many to go through. The writing was fun.

I was frustrated by the interpreter issues, and so I didn't enjoy it as much as I would have if it worked perfectly. This reinforces my thoughts that pure text without effects is the best for long-term use.

2 of 12 people found the following review helpful:
A Good Sci-Fi Game, December 6, 2008
by tadsPro (Oklahoma)

It was the first game i liked. The starting of the game is good where you play a role a 8 year old boy. You are an ordinary boy and you happen to see aliens at your backyard. Great thought and design. Good puzzles and i liked the interaction between the player and the aliens. Overall: A great game that keeps you busy.

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The following polls include votes for Arrival, or Attack of the B-Movie Clichés:

Sci-fi games with truly "alien" aliens by wwenches
I love "Cradle of Eve" by Kitty Horrorshow and I've been enjoying "Coloratura." I would love more sci-fi games (either standard IF or Twine games) that deal with truly alien creatures, rather than just going for standard humanoid aliens...

Games with graphics and/or sound by eyesack
I couldn't find an easy way to search for this, so I figured I'd ask the hivemind: What games use graphics and/or sound to enhance the gameplay, similar to City of Secrets and Necrotic Drift?

Games suitable for children by Mike Sousa
My 10 year old twins recently "discovered" IF. They fell in love with Grunk and are asking for more games to play. I've searched BAF and have some ideas, but figured I would give this poll a shot since there are hundreds and hundreds of...


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