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About the Story
Go fishing for 'The Old One'. Won 3rd place.
3rd Place, TADS Division - First Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (1995)
A fish story - can you catch the legendary Big One? A small game that emphasizes the fiction aspect of IF - the puzzles are few and simple, but there's a lot of description and dialogue (kind of like A Mind Forever Voyaging, except funnier and about fish.) Good fishing simulation. Exaggerates wildly. Probably good for beginners. Be sure to ask Bob about everything in the game.
-- Carl Muckenhoupt
[...] the game flows nicely and the author seems to have thought of almost everything, providing appropriate - and often very funny - responses to most of the weird things an adventurer might try doing. The puzzle involving the actual fishing is perhaps a bit awkward, but implementing fishing at the level of detail it's done in this game is not a simple feat.
-- Magnus Olsson
My favourite entry in the competition. The puzzles aren't up to much, but who cares? The writing is superb, atmospheric, and very funny. I usually find myself impatient with long sequences of text in adventure games, but even though "The One that Got Away" was brimful with text, I enjoyed it immensely. I must have spent ten times as long thinking of things to say to Bob as I did trying to catch any fish. I suppose I have a soft spot for this kind of mock American pioneer folklore.
-- Gareth Rees
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"The one that got away" is one of those small little gems which are often overlooked. It's neither long nor puzzle-heavy, instead emphazising the mood and atmosphere of a fishing trip to get away from it all. It's great on those - it's touching, funny, and even a tad creepy. On the downside, some implementation is awkward (though there is a nice in-game leaftlet which explains all the fishing commands to stupid cityfolk who don't know the next thing about fisihing, e.g. me)maybe in part due to the game's age.
None of it is really a show-stopper, but it breaks atmosphere and reminds you that you're not experiencing a story, but playing a game.
Bottom line: A nice, short diversion. Good story, some minor implementation problem. And ask Bob about everything indeed.
"The One That Got Away" by Leon Lin, third place winner of the TADS division of the first annual IFcomp, is a quirky little game. What seems to start as an extremely naturalistic fishing simulator turns out to contain an exaggerated love story with a large number of unbelievable elements. The game never takes itself too seriously, but a lot of the humorous elements just seemed a little too gonzo for the relatively restrained tone of a fishing game (such as when I fished a VAX out of the lake). The few puzzles present seem mere tokens, as if they are just expected for the medium, and are so obvious they almost do not count. The game does keep a score, but makes no point of announcing acquired points as they are gained and the end just unceremoniously lists the points without giving rank to the accomplishment. I wonder if there just was not enough precedent in 1995 for a puzzleless, slice-of-life story game. It is worth noting that Andrew Plotkin’s “A Change in the Weather” was an entrant in the same year’s competition. The writing is mostly competent, with some mistakes, and some out-right confusing lines, such as:
The only sign of the hand of man [...]
The line starts like a race horse threatened with milk wagon.
This world-famous fishing hole is this state's best kept secret.
But I do not mean to imply that the game is bad. For a subject of which I have absolutely no interest, I found it charming, well-implemented, and an extremely short diversion (replaying with no extraneous moves, I completed the game in 24 turns). Modern players may find it a bit shallow and dated, but I found that “The One” was very playable for its age and recommend at least trying it if you are looking for a short diversion.
In this game with only 4 or so locations, you have a variety of fishing equipment and have to try to catch a giant old fish called the Old One.
You have a variety of options for bait and weights and so on. The actual puzzle, though, is solved by lateral thinking.
It's interesting seeing this and other games from the very first IFComp. It seems like there was more originality and experimentation in the first competition than in the others, where originality was often localized in a few entries.
Somewhat unfair. Recommended for fishing fans.
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