Have you played this game?You can rate this game, record that you've played it, or put it on your wish list after you log in.
Playlists and Wishlists
RSS FeedsNew member reviews
Updates to downloadable files
All updates to this page
17th Place - 10th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2004)
Nominee, Best Use of Medium - 2004 XYZZY Awards
I loved the interface! The premise took only seconds to understand, and it was designed with a wonderful sense of quirky humor. In sum, you are a deity -- not an omnipotent one, but one who works through communication and inspiration. The main character is the hapless Bellclap, a pathetic shepherd who worships you and has taken shelter from a rainstorm in your temple. The parser is your obedient servant who relays your entries on the command lines to Bellclap and passes back information on Bellclap's actions. I don't think I've seen it done before, and, if it has been done before, I doubt it's been done as well as it was done here.
-- Carolyn Magruder
See the full review
>VERBOSE -- Paul O'Brian's Interactive Fiction Page
Bellclap gave me the strange sensation of solving puzzles even though I had no idea why the solution would work, which I suppose is as close as I'll ever get to omniscience. I was sorry when the game ended so soon, and I'm certainly looking forward to future works by this author.
See the full review
|Average Rating: |
Number of Reviews: 4
Write a review
Most Helpful Member Reviews
You should play Bellclap. But you should play it by following David Welbourn's annotated walkthrough. The rest of this review will explain (a) why you should play the game, and (b) why you should not try to do it on your own.
(a) Bellclap is an experiment with the different roles that can be distinguished in a piece of interactive fiction: the commander (the fictional character who decides what actions to try out), the narrator (the fictional character who tells what happens), and the actor (the fictional character who carries out the commands given by the commander). Interactive fiction in general has merged the first and the third role into what we call the "player character", a character who decides what to do and then carries it out. The narrator has usually been a different, and often extra-diegetic character. (This means that the narrator has generally not been a character within the primary fictional world.)
There have, of course, been many experiments with these roles, the most common of which have been either to put the narrator into the world; or to change the expected relationship between the player and the commander/actor-hybrid that we call the player character. Bellclap, however, does something else: it pries apart the commander and the actor. The commander is a god, and the actor is Bellclap, one of the faithful, who has come to the god for assistance. Whatever the player types is interpreted and presented as a command from the God, and Bellclap than tries to carry it out. The narrators is cast as a third person, namely as the angelic messenger who gives the commands of the god to Bellclap, and who informs the god of the results.
This set-up is executed with wit and humour, and gives the piece a very particular feel. You ought to experience it, and therefore you ought to play this game.
(There is at least a fourth important role, namely, the "experiential focus", the character through whose senses we experience the fictional world. This role can be combined with any or none of the three roles defined above. In Bellclap it is more or less spread out over them all.)
(b) Bellclap is also one big read-the-author's mind puzzle. The "short route" walkthrough included with the game is particularly baffling. Imagine that you are stuck in Savoir Faire's kitchen, consult the walkthrough, and see that the first command is "make a mr. potato head" -- that is more or less the experience I had when I consulted this walkthrough. The walkthrough linked to above makes the whole experience far more coherent; but I still cannot see how a player could possibly be expected to hit on the solution. Apparently your godly powers are tightly limited, and need to be triggered in exactly the right way. But there is no way the player can know this, since there is no way you can experiment with them.
As a game, this makes Bellclap pretty much a failure, because you cannot really play it.
Still, you can walk through it, and that is exactly what you should do.
In this game, you play a God, the parser is an angel, and the PC is a worshipper named Bellclap.
The game is fairly short with some unintuitive puzzles. Essentially, you have to help your worshipper make it to safety. He has a variety of tools, but what you have to do with them is pretty odd.
To me, this game is primarily enjoyable as an experiment in parser implementation, with the 3 main characters all working together. Also, the setting is well-described and fun.
Overall, I recommend that people try the first scene.
You are a god. You have a temple. A poor traveler has wandered into your temple seeking shelter from the storm. He asks for safety and food and promises you devotion and sacrifices. Will you help him?
While helping the man is fun, the real star of this game is the parser. It is your loyal servant, telling the man what to do and telling you his actions. Very creative. I've never seen a game where the parser is its own character.
The puzzles weren't bad, though I did peek at the walkthrough. I do wish he had obeyed my command to dance. Ah well.
The game could've been longer, but I enjoyed this. It fit.
See All 6 Member Reviews
If you enjoyed Bellclap...
Related GamesPeople who like Bellclap also gave high ratings to these games:
|Hoosegow, by Ben Collins-Sussman, Jack Welch|
Average member rating: (36 ratings)
Muddy's plan done landed you and your partner in the hoosegow. Now you're fixing to rectificate the matter before the marshal introduces you to the business end of a hangin' rope at dawn. Created for the JayIsGames Casual Game Play...
|Suveh Nux, by David Fisher|
Average member rating: (197 ratings)
An entry in the 2007 One Room Game Competition. You play a magician's servant who gets trapped in your master's vault; you'll need to learn some of his tricks if you want to get out.
|Violet, by Jeremy Freese|
Average member rating: (326 ratings)
Calm down. All you have to do is write a thousand words and everything will be fine. And you have all day, except it's already noon. [blurb from IF Comp 2008]
PollsThe following polls include votes for Bellclap:
First and Third Person Second Person Narratives by dacharya64
Not as complicated as it sounds! Interactive fiction is dominated by the iconic second person narrative (*You* find yourself in a room). But this is not the only way that these stories could be told. I'm looking for those games out there...
Split-up PC functionality by baf
In a normal game, there is a single fictional entity that is considered to be: - The protagonist: the character that the player is meant to identify with, and whose goals you are trying to achieve - The viewpoint character: the character...
This is version 5 of this page, edited by David Welbourn on 20 June 2015 at 1:14am. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item