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About the Story
Now everyone is gone. (Well, almost everyone.)
6th Place - EctoComp 2014
Lime Ergot is a telescoping perception puzzle. This is where its importance to the parser medium lies: it uses the traditional construction of objects and subobjects to recast movement and perception. For decades, the parser was very concerned with “mimetic” representations of realistic space, with achieving a form of immersion that is present, also, in graphical video games; particularly with achieving the sort of materiality and space that is also found in those games.
Works like this upend this ideal. They present a space that has to be traversed on different terms. You play Lime Ergot by falling into its descriptive text, one layer at a time. Most uses of this device only go a couple layers deep and rely on increasingly-minute detail; Lime Ergot discards our spatial expectations entirely, and not only builds in an implausible number of layers of perception, many of the moves are lateral or even not spatial at all. It’s probably one of the best representations, in fiction, of a hallucinatory or dissociating state.
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spooky action at a distance
In short: this is one of the most coherent games I have played in terms of using the precise medium of interactivity to produce and highlight an emotional state in the player. It is an absolute gem of a game.
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Number of Reviews: 8
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In this game you never move. You see and remember and hallucinate.
You are standing on a sunbaked wharf and your commanding officer, a wizened general in a wheelchair, orders you to prepare her a cocktail: a green skull. It requires limes. You have no limes. This is the game's premise, and acquiring the limes is its only puzzle.
Because you cannot leave the general's side, all that you may do is "examine" your surroundings, and as your examinations deepen, you peel back diaphanous layer after diaphanous layer until the atmosphere is swimming with lost memories. The scenario is hazy and beautiful, but also wrong, diseased.
Castle of the Red Prince uses this same mechanic, but whereas that game allows the player to move lightning-fast across the landscape by simply "examining" different objects or locations, Lime Ergot internalizes the action by rooting you to a single spot. The sensations that you uncover gather around you like a fog, and experiencing this mood is the game's purpose.
I discovered two endings. Both are easy to find, and both are worth reading. More might be possible.
The game is short, the writing crisp, with subtle eccentricity throughout. On the surface it is as light and refreshing as a breeze, but there is a creeping plague wind underneath. Try it if that sounds promising; move on if you prefer more varied gameplay or puzzle-solving.
Lime Ergot is a short game, but makes the most of its premise. You are one of only two surviving officers of a colonial military force; the other being the black-hearted and possibly insane general, who orders you to make her a drink. The game's central task is to find the ingredients for this drink. But rather than traversing a physical space through movement, we traverse a partially sensory and at least partially hallucinated space through use of the examine command. Examining things not only leads us from one object to others that were not initially described; rather, by making things present to our mind, it gives them reality and allows us to physically manipulate them. A fascinating mechanic that is combined with beautiful, evocative prose and a great atmosphere. A little gem.
You and the general are the last ones left on the island of St Stellio, and she wants adrink. You’re the lower-ranking officer, so it’s up to you to get the drink done.
The game consists of find-the-object puzzles through descriptions which act like nested dolls (‘telescopic’ descriptions?). Examining one object reveals another, which reveals another, which reveals another… While the puzzle itself wasn't much, the joy of playing Lime Ergot was in the devices and scenery. The mechanic was ingenious, keeping the game’s scope small without feeling contrived. The writing is lush and evocative, and suited the mildly hallucinatory state of the PC. Lime Ergot is a well-thought-out, tidy piece for one written in three hours.
Similar to Castle of the Red Prince.
Approx playing time: 30 mins
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