External Links

ToasterCompNosrc.zip *
Contains Z-Code/FriarBaconsSecret/bacon.z5
Story file.
Requires a Z-Code interpreter. Visit IFWiki for download links.
ToasterCompWithSrc.zip *
Contains Z-Code/FriarBaconsSecret/source/bacon.inf
Source code.
Walkthrough and map
by David Welbourn
* Compressed with ZIP. Free Unzip tools are available for most systems at www.info-zip.org.

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Friar Bacon's Secret

by Carl Muckenhoupt profile

Time Travel, Historical

(based on 8 ratings)
2 reviews

About the Story

The mystery begins when Friar Bungay asks you to fetch Friar Bacon. But instead of finding him, you discover strange unnatural objects that must be of demonic origin.

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Number of Reviews: 2
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful:
Amusing and recommended, September 12, 2010
by Bernie (Fredericksburg, VA)

This game was an entry into the Great IF Toaster Comp. Despite the short duration in which the game was written, it is very entertaining and well-written. Only a handful of typos and some slightly inconvenient implementations reveal that the game was written in haste.

In this game, you play a dull-witted friar's assistant. As such, the descriptions of the objects in the game are often amusing and at least a few puzzles revolve around determining what the dull pc could be describing. The game is well-crafted and each object can interact with the others in a sensible way. As the pc discovers new facts in the game, the descriptions of the objects and the rooms differ.

There is more than one logical solution for each puzzle. I had trouble finding and solving the final puzzle, but found the game so entertaining that I pulled up the source code so I could see the final scene.

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Oh, man. What would Miles think of a full-fledged microwave? Or computer?, September 6, 2023
by Andrew Schultz (Chicago)

FBS was written for ToasterComp, where the rules were: implement a toaster, and don't call it that. This opens the door for, well, the narrator not knowing what a toaster is. Enter you as Miles, a servant to Friar Bacon, in some unspecified Medieval year. Friar Bungay, an officious chap, tells you to fetch him.

But where is Friar Bacon? Perhaps that's the wrong question. You-the-player, armed with standard text-adventuring knowledge, will probably find the first clue of where he went. He's not in his office.

To find Friar Bacon, you/Miles will navigate a series of anachronisms, involving electric devices we take for granted. This has been done to death in stories or whatever, but it's still pleasing to figure out what is what. The most obvious candidates are electric light and, given the title of the comp, a toaster. Having a simple peasant find electricity the work of the Devil has been done before, too, but having do so from their perspective as the story deadpans away (Miles is very educated compared to his friend and understands the concept of "letters") reminded me how my five-year-old self might've had my mind blown by stuff that people find natural today. I probably wouldn't find it Satanic (well, maybe AutoTune. I did grow up in the rural US, which was big on that whole scare) but certainly a lot would be hard to describe.

Finding Friar Bacon is different from giving a successful ending (there's another funny one where you just flee,) but it really rounds out the story nicely. He and Friar Bungay come across as nasty people, but all the same, I wonder how I would act in their situation, knowing the existence of technology.

FBS was one of those games always on my radar, but I didn't look at it until I replayed My Evil Twin. It has source code included, which ironically was a look into the past from Inform 7 to Inform 6. And it taught me a lot about I6 that I didn't learn, and how simple it was, and if I didn't quite feel like Miles seeing the papers and knowing what writing was, FBS must have put me that much more in the right frame of mind to learn. This probably wasn't the author's explicit intent, but obviously I'm glad it happened, and to drag out an old cliche, the really good games are about more than winning them. (Another well-worn point: this was speed-IF, so there were typos. The author was obviously smart enough to sort them out if he had time, but I'm glad he spent his time actually pumping up the story and game mechanics and allowing interesting alternate paths through. It reminds me not to worry much about the little things, at least starting out.)

The whole experience leaves me wondering what other neat stuff is just out of my reach. It's very good for Speed-IF, with a well-constructed plot and backstory.

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