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Don't try this as your first Richard Otter game, September 28, 2009
(A previous version of this review appeared during the Spring Thing 2009 on my blog, The Gaming Philosopher.)
Richard Otter has written a truly weird game. It apparently consists of rooms taken from all Otter's other games. You have to find items with the name of a Richard Otter game on them, then give those items to people in the location that was taken from that game. Interspersed with this are puzzles of the "give the cloak to the shivering beggar" variety.
I only played one Richard Otter game before (Unauthorised Termination), but you don't need to be familiar with his work in order to play Vague: all locations contain clear hints about what game they are from.
However, walking through a game world that consists of totally different rooms which mean nothing to you, conversing with characters who say little more than "Identify this game!", and hunting down pieces of paper with titles written on them is not fun. There is no story. The puzzles aren't clever. The pieces of the diverse games are not united into a coherent and surprising whole. (At least not as far as I can see, though those who have read more Otter games may find meanings I have missed.)
Vague plays a lot like a failed commercial for the author's other games. It is not itself an interesting game experience.
On top of that, the implementation is far from perfect. Please never write something like this, that takes all agency away from the player:
> wear coat
"For some reason you are unable to do that. It isn't that the coat does not fit, you do not want to wear it."
There are strange parser errors:
> get dart
You pull the dart from the board.
> throw dart at colin
You are not carrying the knife.
There is careless implementation of objects:
> open wallet
You can't open the wallet!
My recommendation is that you first play other Richard Otter games, and tackle this one only if you want more. Unauthorised Termination would not be a bad place to start.