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by David Welbourn

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The Lesson of the Tortoise

by G. Kevin Wilson


(based on 18 ratings)
5 reviews

About the Story

In this short game, you play as Wang Lo, a Chinese farmer. Alas, you shall learn that your wife has been unfaithful and desires your death.

Game Details

Editorial Reviews

Baf's Guide

A short fable of wisdom, adultery, and magic, based loosely on Chinese folklore. Nicely done. Very linear, but with good storytelling. Uses a simplified conversation system that some have complained about, but which seemed to me suited to the style and context.

-- Carl Muckenhoupt

With the economical prose characteristic of a folk tale, Whizzard drops you into the Chinese folkloric past, sketches out characters and plot, and delivers a moral, all in a very satisfying 30 minutes or so of play.
-- Bonnie Montgomery
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Tortoise is very well written, from a literary as well as coded point of view, with some lovely little touches. My favourite is the "fortune cookie" style variations to many of the standard TADS responses, which serves to round off the game while giving it a slightly whimsical feel.
-- Nick Edmunds
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Number of Reviews: 5
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Most Helpful Member Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful:
Flipping Through a Simple, Oriental Tale, July 18, 2010

The Lesson of the Tortoise has a simple eastern flavor, with none of the bows and whistles of many modern-day IF games. You're a man who happens upon a tortoise on his way home. Upon your return to your house, you witness a terrible betrayal by your wife. The puzzles are quite linear, making it very clear that you should get from point A to point B. The puzzles are relatively easy, but allow for a lot of ways to die if you've forgotten to do something or pick up an essential item earlier in the story. Fortunately, the UNDO command will allow you to go as far back as you want.

The writing is clear and concise. The game is short, but polished, with a classical,interesting narrative. Playing through the felt like reading a storybook of old Oriental fables. I think that quite often, all the new ideas, unique implementation, and break-through mechanics allow us to forget what an old, unadorned IF plays like. It's a great relaxation game, where you can focus on the story and the atmosphere, while giving minimal effort to the puzzles and simplified conversation system.

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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful:
Out of Touch, June 30, 2017
by IFforL2 (Chiayi, Taiwan)

This well-received story pretends to have Asian influence but is remarkably western and male oriented. It should be no secret that cheating is culturally different in rural China, urban China, and western pop-culture. The scene where (Spoiler - click to show) the husband catches his wife in his own bed with his employee seems more like a scene from the old TV show Friends than a plausible event in in set China. In reality, in pre-Revolutionary and post-Revolutionary China, women, not men are undeniably the overwhelming victims, not the perpetrators, of cheating. When a woman does cheat, and is caught, her husband, the divorce courts of her government, and her neighbors will all ensure that her punishment is far greater than her 'crime.' Taiwan is little better, especially now recent court decisions have ensured that women do not have the right to safety. (People who attack rapists in the act are punished more severely than the rapists themselves!)

A story of a Chinese man who is the poor helpless victim of adultery is about as preposterous as a story of an American white man who is the poor helpless victim of racism by his African-American neighbours. Moreover, (Spoiler - click to show)three men team up to destroy one woman using absolute authority over another woman!

But I understand we all like a story of East Asian flavor that reads like a fortune cookie and ignores reality. I'm sure the author has read the take of several Western authors on Confucian, Taoist, and Buddhist thought. HE probably did not intend any of the bitter irony that I'm reading into HIS story.

In a few days, I'll probably be embarrassed by something or everything I've written here and delete this review. I'm normally spineless. But I'll post it now while outrage fuels my, probably unjustified, courage.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A short, charming game based on eastern folklore, February 3, 2016

This game can be played in less than a half hour. You play as a chinese farmer who discovers that his wife has been unfaithful to him. Through the aid of magic, he can escape her dangerous plans.

The game is tightly narrated, with new actions occurring frequently. The puzzles are very simple in general, with a couple of sticky points where it's hard to know what your abilities should be.

Recommended for fans of story-driven IF.

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The Lesson of the Tortoise on IFDB

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The Lesson of the Tortoise appears in the following Recommended Lists:

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This is version 4 of this page, edited by David Welbourn on 20 August 2015 at 7:32am. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item - Delete This Page