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Nominee, Best Individual NPC - 2000 XYZZY Awards
A brief game with a novel premise that it would be disastrous to describe. This work plays some interesting games with the player/player-character/parser identities. It also turns off meta-verbs, so be prepared for the fact that you won't be able to save and restore. The game is so brief, thought, that it probably won't matter much. Definitely worth a try.
-- Emily Short
Although the puzzles present almost no challenge and the plot is rather thin, the game is worth playing, if only to experience the interesting format. As a game, it falls flat, but as an experiment, I would say that it succeeds. (Alex Weldon)
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Don't Put Me On Hold
FailSafe is not a conventional work of IF, although I'd hesitate to label it as `experimental.' It's not an experiment -- the departures it makes from the `standard' model of IF are all carefully chosen for their effect in presenting the story, such that it is the story and the world behind it, rather than any kind of `gimmick', which dominate at least my memories of the game. (Adam Biltcliffe)
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Jay is Games
Big game developers spend enormous amounts of time and money developing concepts that can reel players in like squiggling little fishies. And here Jon Ingold does it with a few lines of text and a whole lot of intrigue. (John Bardinelli)
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Number of Reviews: 10
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Completely by accident, I played Fail-Safe in the same week that I played the Infocom classic Suspended. Fail-Safe is essentially Suspended's more cynical little brother. In both games, the PC is immobile and completely dependent on NPCs for sensory input, movement, and manipulating objects. Both are also set in science-fiction worlds where a massive calamity has just occurred, and the PC has to walk the NPCs through repairs that they have trouble describing and can only dimly understand.
Fail-Safe is very short, and as mentioned elsewhere, does not permit saves or restores, which is less painful than it might sound. Once you have figured out the basic plan of the game, you can quickly get back to the part where the crucial decisions are made (and where the game's black humor really shows itself). You'll definitely want to replay a few times to make sure you get all the endings. At one point, there's an unfortunate guess-the-verb problem, but for the most part Fail-Safe is entertaining, well-written, and definitely worth playing.
Fail-safe is a very short SF adventure, containing one big puzzle, some less than stellar (but by no means bad) implementation, and a very brief story. That may not sound like much, and it isn't much. But what makes the piece is how it experiments with the relation between the player and the narrator.
This is impossible to discuss without spoilers, so I suggest you play it before reading on.
(Spoiler - click to show)Fail-safe has an unreliable narrator. Not just that, it has a narrator that actively tries to trick the player (or rather, the narratee) into forming a wrong idea about the world. If she does form the wrong idea, the narratee will take an action that will be great for the narrator but disastrous for herself. The puzzle consists in the player (a) finding out that the narrator is lying; and (b) responding with an appropriate double bluff. Great stuff that I would like to see explored further in a more substantial game.
This was one of the first games I played on my return to interactive fiction. I count myself lucky to have picked it first. Fail-Safe is very short, often confusing, and experiments with the player/protagonist relationship in interesting ways. It's a fascinating brief work that really only could work as IF, and when you finish it, you'll want (or in my case, _need_) to play it again. You'll understand when you get there.
|Lux, by Agnieszka Trzaska|
Average member rating: (16 ratings)
You wander around in darkness – even though the lights are on. Sandra is the only one to survive a mysterious attack on a deep space mining station. She is alive, but has lost her vision. Now Sandra must navigate the dangerous, damaged...
|URA Winner!, by Carter Sande|
Average member rating: (8 ratings)
Scoring well on the Undergraduate Readiness Assessment is the key to college acceptance. This interactive digital guide contains practice questions and instructional materials for each section of the Assessment, and it's the only online...
The Manxome Foe, by Ray Olszewski
Average member rating: (3 ratings)
"He took his vorpal sword in hand: Long time the manxome foe he sought— So rested he by the Tumtum tree, And stood awhile in thought." — Lewis Carroll This adventure is part of the Eamon universe. Like all Eamon adventures, it is an...
my favorites by namekuseijin
Everyone got theirs, here are mine. They're in no particular order and feature varying difficulty and/or size. Every single one is great. I also have my favorite authors and I'm biased towards their IF. Good thing this is my favorites...
Great games set in space by MathBrush
My list for best sci-fi games has grown too large again, and so I'm splitting it off again. This list only includes games whose primary action is off-planet, or which feature exploring an unfamiliar planet, or which feature...
Best Short Games (5-60 minutes) by Sasha Davidovna
I'm pretty new to IF and am having a lot of fun, but in between a toddler and a job and other real life stuff, I'm having trouble finding time to finish many of the longer games I want to play. Can you please recommend me some fun and/or...
Influential Games by Rose
As a historical exercise, I've begun compiling a list of IF games that have either done something ground breaking with the medium or otherwise influenced it; and I've turned it into a poll so everyone can have input on the expansion....
IF that purposely conceals crucial player character information by Puddin Tame
IF that doesn't explicitly clue players in on knowledge they would/should have if they actually were the player character (The character's motivation, interests, relevant parts of their past etc.), which, for good or bad, results in some...