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About the Story
"It's Saturday and you're nine years old. NO SCHOOL! You have the whole day to yourself! And to top things off, it's your birthday too! You're just starting to wake up as you roll over onto your back and stretch.
25th Place - 6th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2000)
You've somehow been turned into a dog and hauled off to a pet store, and you're trying to get back home. Reasonably well implemented, with fairly presentable multimedia, but lots of attitude--including some tasteless slaps at other IF authors--and a generally juvenile sense of humor. There are some reasonably good puzzles, though, and the writing is competent.
-- Duncan Stevens
You are a dog and the game commences with you in a cage in a pet shop. I though the writing was quite humorous, especially the description of the pet shop owner who is "calorically challenged." I must remember that one! I loved it when you type bark and you actually hear it. The author thanked his dog for providing the sound effect.
-- Dorothy Millard
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>VERBOSE -- Paul O'Brian's Interactive Fiction Page
For my first 45 minutes of playing Futz Mutz, I thought it was delightful...
Then, about five minutes later, something else happened. This was less like a splash of cold water and more like a kick in the teeth. I won't reprint it here -- it was a personal insult to Suzanne Britton, basically calling her a whore in a couple of different ways. Now look, Suzanne is a friend of mine, so I got very, very angry when I saw this. But even if she wasn't a friend, I'd think that this is way, way out of line...
I tried to continue playing, but my heart wasn't in it anymore. So I turned to the walkthrough and finished the game. Then it was rating time... Should I abstain from rating it at all on the grounds that because I had such a strong emotional response to it, I'm not fit to judge it? Hell no, I decided. I'm going to rate it exactly the same way as I have all the other comp games: based on how much I enjoyed the overall experience. Then I'll write a review telling just what I thought of it, exactly as I have for the other comp games. And that's what I did.
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Number of Reviews: 2
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What an oddity this game is. At first, it seems pretty good. It's coded well, and makes use of multimedia, with a title screen, music and sound effects. A nifty premise: you're a boy who's been turned into a dog, a mutt specifically, and you have to make yourself purchasable to your mother, who wants a white poodle. You have full access to every doggy action you might think to invoke - great implementation. The writing in general is sharp and economical. The puzzles are all clever and well-designed. (Although the last one is missing some crucial information. (Spoiler - click to show)Watching the TV will mention garlic driving off Dracula, which is meant to clue you to use garlic to get rid of the fleas. However, that involves getting some garlic out of the restaurant. To do so, you must unplug the robot. However, the plug is never mentioned. Nor is any socket. It's a goofy game - how do I know the robot isn't just like Rosie from the Jetsons or C3PO or something? "x plug" doesn't even get a response, you have to just guess that it's plugged in and type "unplug robot". Yuck.) It also has plenty of red herrings, bonus points to score and places to visit that aren't necessary to win. Some good solid work went into this game. Seems like it should be a solid recommendation, right?
Well it would be, but all is not well. The author has a misanthropic streak that taints the whole experience. Every human you encounter is either a crass stereotype or pointlessly cruel. (Except for the hairdresser, and maybe your mom.) The author takes jabs at blacks, asians, the elderly (twice) and more. I cannot discern why - is it meant to be funny? I suppose so, but most adults have outgrown shock comedy. A kid turns into a dog - this should be a family-friendly romp. What's with this tone?
Sadly, that's not even the full extent of the author's mean-spirited, sophomoric attitude. He put several notes in the game mocking the work of Andrew Plotkin, Lucian P. Smith, Graham Nelson, and lastly, with particular venom, Suzanne Britton. (Spoiler - click to show)He calls her a slut, a bitch, and says she ruins the hobby for everyone else. What? How? What did these authors do to deserve vile insults? Nothing. Apparently not liking someoneís work is justification for a personal attack. Also, a bit egotistical to trash acclaimed writers in your very first game, wouldnít you say? Not that it would ever be okay, but itís especially stupid when people donít even have a reason to take your side. These authors youíve targeted are all friendly, helpful people who have done a lot for IF, and the first impression youíve given of yourself is not nearly so positive. You're burning bridges before you've even crossed them.
Now about that ego. I forgot to mention that this guy advertises his music and guitar luthiery, both in the credits and in the game. It's a little inappropriate for the contest to advertise your non-IF business, though there's no explicit rule against it, but it's even more ridiculous to expect us to give you money after watching you hurl vicious insults at other writers for no good reason. Your smug condescension towards these authors, the people who enjoy their games, and your overall distaste for humanity in general are awful PR. Why would I buy a guitar from you, Tim, when I know you, like Futz in the game, will likely be muttering about me and flipping me off once I'm out of earshot? Doesn't make much sense.
This was a polished game with some good design. It may seem fun to play in parts, but it's impossible ignore the rotten core that sits in the middle of it. A sorry waste, but at least Tim was kind enough to not return with more enlightened takes on the good people of the IF community. For that, Iíll say thanks.
In this game, you are a 9 yr old turned into a dog.
Much of the game revolves around acquiring coupons for a dog salon, to transform yourself. It uses graphics extensively.
The game would generally be fun, with a tight map and interesting puzzles, but it has so many puzzles requiring waiting for a long time, and it has a lot of underground bad feelings for women, non-white american peoples, and the aged. It also has a direct attack on a former IF author which is essentially vicious.
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This is version 4 of this page, edited by Edward Lacey on 24 March 2013 at 2:02pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item