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Fallacy of Dawn

by Robb Sherwin profile

Episode 1 of New Haz
Science Fiction

Web Site

(based on 18 ratings)
2 reviews

About the Story

In a world that never quite got over the '80s, Delarion Yar dispenses quarters for the local arcade... badly. A software pirate from better days, he's crossed the wrong people one too many times. Locked into the city of New Haz with a criminal record, he's reached his lowest point and he'll do anything to get out.

Game Details

Language: English (en)
First Publication Date: September 27, 2001
Current Version: 1.05
License: Freeware
Development System: Hugo
Baf's Guide ID: 1640
IFIDs:  HUGO-31-41-15-09-16-07
TUID: n8ngm7hx5z5e9csz

Referenced in Nothing But Mazes, by Greg Boettcher


Nominee, Best Game; Winner, Best Writing; Nominee, Best Story; Nominee, Best Setting; Nominee, Best NPCs; Winner, Best Individual NPC; Nominee, Best Individual PC - 2001 XYZZY Awards

Editorial Reviews

Baf's Guide

Like most of Robb Sherwin's games, this one is marked with memorable writing, strongly defined NPCs, and an occasional disregard for the bounds of good taste. It surpasses most of his other efforts in both scope and playability, however: the setting of the near-future dystopia of New Haz is extensive, and the included map makes it possible to get a handle on the layout despite its ambitious size. There are some bugs and logical inconsistencies, and (particularly in the end game) some places where it becomes difficult to communicate one's intentions to the game. Despite some guess-the-verb problems, however, this is a vivid and memorable ride.

-- Emily Short

Substantive and Energetic
There are a lot of positives about this game, and a lot of negatives. Robb Sherwin has always been most notable for raw style, a way with language that draws on a lot of expletives, and vivid characters of a certain type. All of the above are to some extent present in this game, but so are bugs and some implementation flaws. (Emily Short)
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Another Look
All in all, if you're looking to interact with a tough punk setting for a while, or some tough punk characters, or if you've never gotten over your enchantment with the 'Crystal Castles' game, odds are good that you'll enjoy 'Fallacy of Dawn' a lot. If puzzles are more your thing, then I'd still recommend you at least give this game five or ten minutes of your time for a test-drive. It might just grow on you. (Roger Carbol)
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Eric Mayer via
Robb Sherwin's Fallacy of Dawn is his best game yet. Somewhere in a bleak future we can only hope is more distant than it seems, protagonist Delarion Yar scratched out a living breaking software copy protection. Then some mysterious assailants put an end to his career, not only pounding him into unconsciousness but operating on his brain as well. Now Yar can no longer perceive the electromagnetic spectrum correctly. Thrown out into the city of New Haz with a criminal record, meaning he is unable to leave without paying a huge tariff, Yar cannot even effectively type his own name.
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Reviews from Trotting Krips
Alright, first of all, let's get this part out of the way, for those of you who are still scoring at home, despite the fact that nobody's written anything on this website in three months, and I personally have not written anything anywhere in like three years:

Chicks Dig Jerks: Begins in seedy bar, moves swiftly to cemetary.
A Crimson Spring: Begins in seedy bar, moves swiftly to cemetary.
Fallacy of Dawn: Begins in sushi bar, moves swiftly to morgue.
Let me be the first to say that it's nice to see Robb Sherwin finally break out of that rut.
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Brass Lantern - The Internet Fiction Review Conspiracy
Can Pac-Man make you cry?
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The plot is second-rate sci-fi at best, but even second-rate sci-fi is worth playing along with if it's memorably written. I can't imagine what sort of IF Robb would write if he turned his attention to some of the basic principles of game design, and I wouldn't say that his writing makes up for every sin -- I wouldn't recommend Chicks Dig Jerks to anyone. As much as Fallacy of Dawn does wrong, however, I can't in good conscience refuse to give it a chuckle and a thumbs-up.
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Number of Reviews: 2
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful:
Very strong writing overcomes very poor implementation, June 17, 2019
by deathbytroggles (Minneapolis, MN)

Fallacy of Dawn won the XYZZY award for best writing; if you play for five minutes and don't immediately agree, then save yourself some headaches as this game might be the buggiest to ever win an award. If you do enjoy the writing, then you're in for a treat that is Sherwin's fascinating and demented brain space.

One's enjoyment is also enhanced if you're familiar with much of the 80's and 90's video game references sprinkled throughout, but it's not necessary. I literally spent thirty minutes in the arcade and the movie store reading titles of various games just to read Sherwin's descriptions. I then spent time Googling games I hadn't heard of.

Beyond that Sherwin is excellent at developing characters. The character of Delarion Yar is sympathetic and funny. Your best friend's name is Porn yet he's somehow endearing. And your girlfriend Clara is a rare well-written female in the cyberpunk genre. Each NPC is given similar treatment; even the bad guys are given distinct personalities.

I also appreciated the gameplay; you must earn enough money to afford a surgery that will help you regain your abilities as a hacker and there are many different opportunities (both legal and illegal) to do so and they can be done in any order. Moreover, much like Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, most puzzles can be solved by either fighting or wits. The latter solution tends to be more entertaining, but the former is a nice alternative.

An extra fair warning about the game's bugs and technical issues. While I encountered nothing that crashed the Hugo engine or put the game in an unwinnable state, there are so many instances where the game doesn't understand common verbs depending on the game state. There's multiple locations where room exits aren't indicated at all or there are exits described that don't exist. Some actions can be repeated that shouldn't. And there are so many unimplemented objects. This becomes frustrating because Sherwin's writing deserves the "examine everything" approach by the player, yet it's impossible to tell what will come back with "that thing isn't here" responses. I should add that the game's graphics, while a bit grainy and a bit sparse, definitely add to the atmosphere.

The ending is satisfying if a bit abrupt; I felt like I had more to explore in the town of New Haz (and I did; there were at least four puzzles I never solved). But as I couldn't stop grinning throughout my entire play, Fallacy of Dawn still goes down as one of my favorite games.

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
Flawed But Entertaining, February 19, 2014

This was the first game by this author I played through to the end, and I found it surprisingly entertaining. Years ago, I had slotted it into the "don't bother" category over some of the flaws that are glaringly apparent within ten minutes of beginning, and I'm glad I disregarded that initial impression and tried again.

Where the game shines, and where it's entirely focused, and what makes it worth playing despite the implementation flaws, is the narrative and the characters (there are no "he looks exactly as you would expect a clerk to look" descriptions here), and both are engaging enough in a light action movie kind of way to want to see through to the end. Too often I found myself in a situation where I needed to simply "wait" a turn before talking to an NPC again or before something interesting happened on its own. I can't help but think this would have been a better game if it had been written in a different format (say, CYOA or CYOA-hybrid) that allowed these strengths to really shine.

Unfortunately one of the four or five missions in the open world segment gives away much of the ending if you're at all genre savvy and even remotely paying attention (if you want to avoid this, don't hunt down (Spoiler - click to show)Failed Romero).

Even though I knew what was coming, it was still compelling enough to make me want to see how it played out. In some respects it felt as if the author lost interest after the big reveal; I would have liked to have known more about the ramifications of what was going on. But the conclusion was rewarding and the game definitely felt complete.

If you enjoy action science fiction, this is well worth playing, just save often and have a walkthrough handy.

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