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Gent Stickman vs Evil Meat Hand

by AZ / ParserCommander profile

Episode 1 of Gent Stickman
Humor
2022

Web Site

(based on 7 ratings)
3 reviews

About the Story

Interactive Fiction Parser Game WITHOUT TEXT, just hand drawing graphics.

Short, minimalist, difficult puzzles, full of help.

Gent Stickman, the drawing in the door of the gentleman toilets must go to save Lady, the drawing in the door of ladies toilet, kidnaped by the Evil Meat Hand.

Good luck, thy, mighty and sticky adventurer!

Are you stuck? Ask here for additional clues.


Game Details

Language: English (en)
First Publication Date: June 30, 2022
Current Version: 1.0 ParserComp2022
License: Freeware
Development System: Custom
IFID: Unknown
TUID: ik3j9fco4951ae63

Awards

7th Place - ParserComp 2022

Editorial Reviews

Intfiction
Viv Dunstanís ParserComp 2022 playing notes

Wow. This is different! A parser game with virtually no text on screen and hand drawn graphics instead. Which work remarkably well, for a very bare bones game.


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Intfiction
Drew Cook plays ParserComp games

Gent Stickman vs Evil Meat Hand offers a novel and attractive take on parser-based adventuring. The player inputs text commandsóthis part is familiar enoughóbut all output comes in the form of child-like stick drawings. Itís a quirky, charming presentation that is enhanced by the custom, hand-drawn font used for player input. The only visual rendered differently is the so-called ďevil meat hand,Ē which is cropped from a photo of a real-life hand and wrist.


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intfiction
Mike Russoís ParserComp 2022 Reviews

This is one for the books Ė a parser-based text adventure where, other than a few out-of-world commands, the only text is what the player types (those books must be comic books). This works sort of like those old Sierra graphic adventures that still used a parser, where you could see your character and their surroundings, but would direct them by typing Ė except where those games would similarly drop a text paragraph to tell you the results of your actions, here everything is depicted graphically or iconographically, as your stick-man protagonist ponders the unlikelihood of success when rejecting a proposed course of action, or holds out his hands to reveal the inventory. So this is a gimmick game, but itís a fun gimmick that rests squarely within the four corners of the ParserComp rules, which makes me like the gimmick even more.


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intfiction
Heasm66's ParserComp 2022 mini reviews
This is a quite unusual game engine where you type commands and the game answers with pictures. The game isnít very big but the puzzles can sometimes be a bit farfetched and of the guess-the-word variant. Donít be afraid to use the built in hints, they are funny, quite ingenious and sometimes essential. The game is funny and made me laugh a couple of times. The implementation of the parser is quite picky and sometimes you need to find the exact word. There is no save option and it is easy to die a quick death but there is often not many steps required to get back to the same place. I, myself, struggled with the movement between locations (not the usual compass directions, instead (...)
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intfiction
Dorian Passerís ParserComp 2022 Reviews

Donít forget to wash your hands on the way out!

This game has an intro song, with a melody that letís me hear the adventure ahead. Iím called forward ó to the stalls!

Sights and sounds, and a silly setting. From the start, the sensory input helps me to suspend my disbelief. Iím starting off on the north mesa in Area 4.

(...)
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Wurb Stack
Carl Muckenhoupt (Baf) Review on Stack

On the surface, this is a slim bit of nonsense made of crudely-drawn stick figure art, with minimal implementation and puzzles that you really need the built-in hints to solve, including [***SPOILER***] at one point. It really reminds me of the stuff that students used to slap together in Flash, back in the day.


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Itch.io
Other comments at Itch.io

Really liked the novelty of this, though it was very simple to complete. - Older Timer

Very goog game! Design,music,drawing and puzzles all make a one formidable game. -

Gerifonte

Nice game. reviewed https://ifdb.org/viewgame?id=ik3j9fco4951ae63 - jkjyuio

That's the most endearingly stupid thing I've played in a long time. - Tahnan

I didn't have a problem playing. Don't give up! This one is really charming. - Amanda Walker


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Gold Machine
Mentions in the press - Gold Machine - You're my type: ParserComp2022

In ParserComp, weíve had games written in well-known systems like Inform, Dialog and ADRIFT, long-forgotten languages like AdvSys, and a whole variety of home-grown approaches, some of which are very novel (like Gent Stickman vs Evil Meat Hand in this yearís competition which takes text commands as input and has hand drawn cartoon sketches as output).

Christopher Merriner in Drew Cook's blog
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Emily Short's Interactive Storytelling
Mentions in the press - Emily Short - End of June Link Assortment, Slightly Late

ParserComp games are now available to play and vote on through July 31. Thereís a health supply of entries: Iíve not had a chance to try, but the list of entries includes a prequel to the Frenetic Five games from veteran IF author Neil deMause; also some novelties, such as a game called Gent Stickman vs Evil Meat Hand in which it appears you type your input but the gameís output takes the form of hand-drawn images. Some players are reviewing these games over on the intfiction forum.

Emily Short
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
More than a sight gag, August 8, 2022
by Mike Russo (Los Angeles)
Related reviews: ParserComp 2022

This is one for the books Ė a parser-based text adventure where, other than a few out-of-world commands, the only text is what the player types (those books must be comic books). This works sort of like those old Sierra graphic adventures that still used a parser, where you could see your character and their surroundings, but would direct them by typing Ė except where those games would similarly drop a text paragraph to tell you the results of your actions, here everything is depicted graphically or iconographically, as your stick-man protagonist ponders the unlikelihood of success when rejecting a proposed course of action, or holds out his hands to reveal the inventory. So this is a gimmick game, but itís a fun gimmick that rests squarely within the four corners of the ParserComp rules, which makes me like the gimmick even more.

The game itself, I liked less well. The order of the day here is juvenile comedy, which I think is the right call given the comedy inherent in the interface Ė youíre a stick-dude, a hand with googly-eyes (played I presume by the author(Ďs hands)) kidnaps your stick-girlfriend, you need to raid his castle to save her. Thatís all well and good, and some of the jokes are solid, including the inevitable twist ending. Unfortunately, the gameplay overcorrects with tough-as-nails puzzles which donít always make sense even given cartoon logic (Spoiler - click to show) (the high salt content means peeing on plants is generally a no-no rather than a valid watering strategy, is my understanding Ė or rather, thatís one of the reasons itís a no-no). This high degree of difficulty helps the game last longer Ė there are only four locations, and only two real puzzles plus a (pretty easy) guess-the-verb challenge Ė but it means that playing Gent Stickman means replaying it.

This wouldnít necessarily be so bad, since the various fail states are generally pretty amusing, but I ran into some technical difficulties that increased the annoyance factor. Most notably, the graphics that show the response response to your input loaded really slowly for me, which was a pain on its own but also meant that sometimes Iíd take an action and see two or three blank windows pop up in sequence before dumping me into a game over, which isnít especially helpful! There are also some places where the design conceit makes progress more difficult than it really should be, like where it took me forever to figure out how to read the text on a plaque mounted on the castle wall Ė READ PLAQUE didnít work, and I couldnít help thinking that in a regular parser game, Iíd be told exactly how the parser wants me to refer to the object, while in a graphic adventure Iíd just be able to click on it, so this was worse than the worst of both worlds (turns out I was a dummy and I just needed to READ SIGN).

All this means the middle part of my playthrough was kind of rough, as the novelty of this clever rethinking of how a parser game works wore off and the hard puzzles kicked my butt. After I got OK with abusing the (also entirely graphical) hint feature and powered through to the end, though, I looped back to being amused again. This is a funny, clever game, and I can forgive its Dark-Souls-ish difficulty level even if I canít endorse it. Iím not sure I need a bunch more games using the same interface, but as a one-off gag, Gent Stickman is hard to beat.


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Well, you can always hook ME with stick figures!, August 5, 2022
by Andrew Schultz (Chicago)
Related reviews: ParserComp 2022

Gent Stickman stood out immediately for me, not just for its title, but for its stick-figure drawings. My relationship with drawing is a thorny one. I'd like to be more realistic, but I do enjoy the humor a well-done stick-figure drawing can do. It just has to be thoughtful, and yet, stick figures can help take an edge off serious subjects so you can cope with them. This is the case with Gent Stickman, a small game with relatively few rooms and a simple parser. All the responses are in graphics, including the error messages, which is nice because sometimes the default messages are annoying even when they don't try to be.

This is a successful design choice as I see it. If I'm correct, The author's first language is not English, and the game does have a universal feel. I wasn't surprised to see they'd won the Spanish version of EctoComp, based on this effort. They could certainly write in English. I mean, GS is definitely one of the most fun and creative titles I've seen in my gaming exploits. So they could definitely hammer something respectable out in English. But what they did was slick. They know what they're doing, and they never need to drill it in your head how clever they are. There are hints and death scenes, and the hints are particularly nice because, well, you still have a bit to figure from some of them--but nothing unfair!

And they do form a nice story of where you've been and where you're going. I've certainly had instances where I saw one hint too many and felt like I was just taking transcription, and that didn't happen here. The graphics cut through the "push X for next hint" instructions, only revealing one additional hint per room per hint request. This left GS feeling quite welcoming. They also pushed back on one of my pet-peeve straw-men in web-based games: timed text. After a certain amount of that, I always picture someone pausing pompously for dramatic effect, but here it's like a small funny YouTube clip you could watch several times.

As for the story? Well, you, Gent Stickman, are--well, the guy people see on a bathroom sign. Your beloved is your female counterpart. She has been kidnapped and locked up in a high castle guided by a pit. There aren't many rooms, and the game establishes early that compass directions are Not a Thing. One error graphic shows an X'd out compass with left and right replacing it. The main verb to figure is -- well, you have to guess it, but it's not a blind guess, and (Spoiler - click to show)this game gets away with it where others wouldn't.

And solving the puzzles gives some nice cut scenes that remind me of the sort of flip-books I used to make in second grade, though this is clearly more clever than that. It left me wondering why someone didn't think of this-all before, and I hope to see more of it. Jumping over the pit has a lot more drama than "PUSH SPACE TO CONTINUE." There's doubt if you'll make it over. And yes, there are a few surprise instadeaths that make you want to restart, but once you know what to do, it doesn't take too long to get back. They're all worth seeing.

GS has some interesting innovations in streamlining the player experience, which makes for a lot of fun that's over a bit too soon. I'm certainly glad to see it's marked as one of a series. It's one of those games you can just enjoy, and on reflection, you realize the author did a bit more than throw out silly yet satisfying jokes. While obviously "ha ha ha this game is meant to be a simple satire/joke" can be overdone, it definitely isn't here, and I really enjoy these quick booster games that remind you you don't need anything super complex to have reasonably clever fun.


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A line cartoon caper, July 4, 2022
by jkj
Related reviews: parsercomp 2022

# Gent Stickman vs Evil Meat Hand: A line cartoon caper

by "A-Z"

> Interactive Fiction Parser Game WITHOUT TEXT, just hand drawing graphics.
> Gent Stickman, the drawing in the door of the gentleman toilets must go to save Lady, the drawing in the door of ladies toilet, kidnapped by the Evil Meat Hand.

This game draws line cartoon pictures instead of output text, but uses text input. Also with sound effects.

This is one of the most unusual games I've seen for a long time. It definitely deserves points for originality and style. And it's funny!

(Spoiler - click to show)
The mission to save the lady is made obvious from the start, but how to do it?

Playing the game involves immediate death whenever something is done wrong. This is made worse by the fact you have to start again from the beginning. This quickly becomes annoying and the system desperately needs an "undo" feature. Thankfully the game is quite short once the solution to a problem is known.

The user interface could use up arrow to re-edit last command.

The iterative help is interesting, it's pictorial and incremental. However, the initial hints tend to tell you what you already know. I had to use the hints in some places as the solutions are indeed obscure.

I wasted a lot of time trying to make use of the "death" character. However, it seems he is mostly there just to limit the geography, except obscurely right at the end.

There are a few problems:

* You can look left or look right (nice one), but from the top of the new tree, look left and you fall into the spike pit.

* Getting to the castle, eventually i found "jump to castle", whereas jump left or vault didn't work, i just died.

Some of the reaction pictures are hilarious, and there are many extras for things that aren't the expected input.

"call death" at the end is somewhat bogus. I tried this already to maybe chop the tree to bridge the pit, but that didn't work. Why now?

I really enjoyed playing this game. The cartoon graphics make it work despite any frustrations. If this presentation format were expanded and polished, it could be really quite good.



Conclusion: awesome but frustrating in places.


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This is version 13 of this page, edited by ParserCommander on 1 August 2022 at 9:25am. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item