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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 10 ratings)
4 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.

If you already have played the game and want to know more about how it was done, you can go an read the Gent Stickman Vs Evil Meat Hand Ante Vitam (Post Mortem sucks).


Game Details


Awards

Winner, Best Use of Multimedia - 2022 XYZZY Awards

7th Place - ParserComp 2022

Winner, Outstanding Humor Game of 2022 - Author’s Choice - The 2022 IFDB Awards

Editorial Reviews

Intfiction
Viv Dunstan’s 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 commands—this part is familiar enough—but all output comes in the form of child-like stick drawings. It’s 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 “evil meat hand,” which is cropped from a photo of a real-life hand and wrist.


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intfiction
Mike Russo’s ParserComp 2022 Reviews

This is one for the books – 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 – 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 it’s 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 isn’t very big but the puzzles can sometimes be a bit farfetched and of the guess-the-word variant. Don’t 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 Passer’s ParserComp 2022 Reviews

Don’t forget to wash your hands on the way out!

This game has an intro song, with a melody that let’s me hear the adventure ahead. I’m called forward — to the stalls!

Sights and sounds, and a silly setting. From the start, the sensory input helps me to suspend my disbelief. I’m 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, we’ve 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 year’s 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. There’s a health supply of entries: I’ve 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 game’s 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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Discord Textualiza
bert1978bc - Opinión en español del juego
Ayer logré acabarme -con ayudas- el juego de AZ, Gent Stickman. Me ha encantado el concepto (me parece genial la idea de un juego hecho de dibujos mudos que responden a comandos de texto), el arte, el humor... Eso sí, me parece muy difícil (los problemas y las soluciones son muy locas, pero van totalmente con el estilo de la historia: un humor surrealista, juguetón y algo infantil que mola mucho porque da sensación de que puede pasar cualquier cosa), pero con algunas pistas integradas en la mecánica de juego -antes que de modo extradiegético- sería todavía mejor. Bueno, es mi discutible opinión, claro.
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Member Reviews

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Number of Reviews: 4
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Most Helpful Member Reviews


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
Text input, graphics output: a short stickman adventure, August 29, 2022

One thing I've learned from writing IF is that it's impossible to please everyone; you can make something that some people love and some people hate, or you can make something that most people feel moderately positive about, but that's about it.

I think this game is well-done, and the author is a nice person I've seen on the forums. For me, though, I had a primarily negative response to this game for reasons not at all related to the quality.

This is a graphics-based game, where you enter text and get stick figure responses. It defaults to full-screen and has background noise and some slight pause between player input and response. You are a knight/stick figure man trying to rescue a stick figure woman rescued by a dragon.

My reasons for playing IF aren't due to nostalgia (I didn't even get into it until I had a toddler, in 2015); I love IF primarily because of its quick response times, its flexible and un-intrusive nature (as text in a resizable window that can be multi-tasked with), and, as text, its ability to be skimmed quickly and typed in quickly.

So this game has almost none of the features that I enjoy about IF, and I found myself honestly irritated while playing.

Grading it on my scale:
+Polish: The game is quite smooth and polished.
+Interactivity: On one hand, I was surprised that the game expected and acknowledged compass directions while telling the player not to use them; on the other hand, the parser was fairly robust and allowed for a lot of surprising interactions. I was baffled by the puzzles (I used a lot of hints) but given the minimalism and internal logic I feel they were fair.
+Descriptiveness: The art was pretty informative
-Emotional impact: As described above, my primary emotion was irritation.
-Would I play again? I would not.

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4 of 4 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 – 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 – 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 it’s 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 – you’re a stick-dude, a hand with googly-eyes (played I presume by the author(‘s hands)) kidnaps your stick-girlfriend, you need to raid his castle to save her. That’s 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 don’t 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 – or rather, that’s one of the reasons it’s a no-no). This high degree of difficulty helps the game last longer – there are only four locations, and only two real puzzles plus a (pretty easy) guess-the-verb challenge – but it means that playing Gent Stickman means replaying it.

This wouldn’t 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 I’d take an action and see two or three blank windows pop up in sequence before dumping me into a game over, which isn’t 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 – READ PLAQUE didn’t work, and I couldn’t help thinking that in a regular parser game, I’d be told exactly how the parser wants me to refer to the object, while in a graphic adventure I’d 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 can’t endorse it. I’m not sure I need a bunch more games using the same interface, but as a one-off gag, Gent Stickman is hard to beat.

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3 of 3 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.

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Gent Stickman vs Evil Meat Hand on IFDB

Polls

The following polls include votes for Gent Stickman vs Evil Meat Hand:

Outstanding Humor Game of 2022 - Player's Choice by MathBrush
This poll is part of the 2022 IFDB Awards. The rules for the competition can be found here, and a list of all categories can be found here. This award is for the best humor game of 2022. Voting is open to all IFDB members. Eligible games...

Outstanding Surreal Game of 2022 - Author's Choice by MathBrush
This poll is part of the 2022 IFDB Awards. The rules for the competition can be found here, and a list of all categories can be found here. This award is for the best surreal game of 2022. Voting is anonymous and open only to IFDB...

Outstanding Humor Game of 2022 - Author's Choice by MathBrush
This poll is part of the 2022 IFDB Awards. The rules for the competition can be found here, and a list of all categories can be found here. This award is for the best humor game of 2022. Voting is anonymous and open only to IFDB members...

See all polls with votes for this game




This is version 15 of this page, edited by ParserCommander on 21 January 2023 at 2:52pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item - Delete This Page