The Endling Archive

by Kazuki Mishima profile

Science Fiction

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Number of Ratings: 28
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Benjamin the last Tasmanian Tiger, March 15, 2021
by Victor Gijsbers (The Netherlands)

This game sent me to Wikipedia multiple times, researching topics as seemingly disparate as Lífþrasir, Nichiren Buddhism, the Voynich manuscript and Benjamin the last Tasmanian Tiger. This may have easily doubled the time it took me to play the Endling Archive -- which is very short -- but it also shows that the fictional author of that piece of software achieved their goal: making me want to know more about the topics he talked about.

At first, the Endling Archive seems to be a database about the last surviving members of otherwise extinct species. It quickly branches out into other areas, often with the same note of loss and loneliness, though some of the entries are here to explain a science fiction scenario to us. I love the underlying idea, and for a while I thought I would love the piece too. But in the end it is too ephemeral while at the same time trying to tap into something that is not ephemeral at all; its invocations of thousands of years of history (Jesus, Buddha) falling flat compared to the more thematically appropriate invocations of Benjamin and Earhart; and its SF story too trivial and unoriginal.

I still recommend playing it! It's short and there are the elements of something fantastic here.

- Zape, September 13, 2020

- Bartlebooth, March 4, 2020

- miruial, October 8, 2018

- Ivanr, July 20, 2017

- Edward Lacey (Oxford, England), September 24, 2016

- Artie Kester (manchester, new hampshire, usa), July 20, 2016

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
A shortish inform game with an innovative file-tree interface, June 10, 2016

The Endling Archive manipulates Inform 7 in a truly interesting way.

The game treats the player as someone using a database written in the traditional Inform menu system (using N, P, Enter, and Q to navigate). As you read more of the database, more and more becomes unlocked.

The game uses interesting pictures. The story is based on the idea of survivors, the last of their kind. The database starts out with different real-life examples of endlings, and then transitions to different material.

I really enjoyed it, although the ending fell a bit flat. It took 10 or 15 minutes to play.

- magic sympathy, May 31, 2015

- CMG (NYC), May 6, 2015

- blue/green, July 31, 2014

- Lorxus, March 8, 2014

- Katrisa (Houston), January 3, 2014

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful:
Oddly moving, June 21, 2013
by verityvirtue (London)

I was confused at first: "Load configuration file?" Well, okay, once I figured out how to start a game, it seemed like a database of little factoids, seemingly unrelated to each other. Then there were the personal notes, which made the unseen narrator an NPC in its own right. Endling tugs on your heartstrings because the triviality of some of the 'files' contrasts starkly with the gravity of the disaster the narrator alludes to.

Even though there is no story in the traditional sense of the word, even though it basically is a bunch of factoids, it is elegantly written, carefully constructed and moved me to tears.

- Floating Info, April 30, 2013

- AADA7A, September 25, 2012

- MonochromeMolly, November 11, 2011

- r6144, August 7, 2011

- Ryan Veeder (Iowa), July 15, 2011

- Danielle (The Wild West), May 21, 2011

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
Ode to Things Lost, May 14, 2010
by Felix Larsson (Gothenburg, Sweden)
Related reviews: literary, [8]

Technically this is a hypertext hack of the Z-machine rather than interactive fiction in a strict sense. The work simulates a database—“The Endling Archive”—that you (in the role of fictional reader) work your way through. However, such a description does no justice to the poetical nature (and value) of this short work.

The contents of the Archive is a melancholy reminder of things lost to neglect, to natural disasters, to violence and to hunger for profit. What we lost may not have been Paradise, yet it might have been worth preserving and may still be worth remembering.

(Spoiler - click to show)According to Norse mythology, Líf and Lífþrasir will be the only survivors of the Ragnarök catastrophe at the End of the World. Their names mean ‘Life’ and ‘Life Champion’.

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful:
Well-done, but..., June 14, 2009

I must admit I'm very puzzled. When you enter the Endling Archive, you uncover folders, notes that you can read, thus unlocking other notes. I really liked this mechanism.
At first I thought it was an introspective, autobiographical game, but I figured out a few minutes later where the author was going ; and then, nothing. I reached a state where obviously you can't unlock notes no more ; and I said "That's all ?".
Two possibilities : either it's a puzzle (I don't think so, I tried everything on my keyboard, and the author declares himself "tired of hard puzzles"), either that's the end of the game, and I'm really, really disappointed. The story is good, the writing is great, emotional, melancholic at times ; the system is orginal, and even if it's not exactly interactive, it's a good fiction. But the author had to continue ! I mean, with such a beginning, such a way to tell the story, the author could have made the game a long and very powerful story !
I give it three stars for the writing and the game's mechanism ; should the author had carried on this game would probably have had one or two more.

- googoogjoob, May 18, 2009

- theymos, May 8, 2009

- GDL (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), March 9, 2009

- Steve Evans (Hobart, Tasmania), February 20, 2009

- Emily Short, February 19, 2009

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful:
Very Slight, but Haunting, February 19, 2009
by C.E.J. Pacian (England)

If you're anything like me, I'm sure you've enjoyed finding books and computers in IF games that let you wander through a menu of backstory. The Endling Archive is essentially the same thing, only without the containing game. So, yes, it is pretty much just reading static text from a menu that expands after you've select a couple of options.

The Endling Archive strikes me as a good germ of an idea. I'm surprised that I've never played an IF game before that exclusively treated the parser as a fictional computer system, and it seems to me that there should be a wealth of retro-futuristic (or just pretend unix console) hacking games. There aren't however, so for now we'll just have to enjoy this strange and haunting encyclopaedia of things that the future and present have lost.

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