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A tiny Odyssey game running in an in-browser C64 emulator, October 6, 2020
Nick Montfort wrote Ad Verbum, a great wordplay game that predates both Andrew Schultz and Emily Short’s wordplay games (but not Nord nor Bert), and has since then done a lot with the intersection between text and software.
I had heard a lot about this game, mostly consternation and mystery.
I’m happy to take this game at face-value. Without digging deeper, this reminds me of ASCII and the Argonauts, but slightly less complex.
In this game, you are presented with yes/no options on what kind of interactions to have with a scrambled group of towns. It seems that there is a pattern on what to do (and I was able to be right more than half of the time, so either there is a pattern or the game is good at making you feel there is a pattern, which there’s not really much of a difference there).
I’ve always had a fondness for little games done well. I came up with my current star-rating system on IFDB just so I could feel consistent giving the tiny micro-game ‘Creak, Creak’ and ‘Counterfeit Monkey’ both 5/5.
So, yeah, this is cool. Not what I expected from Nick Montfort, but then again I didn’t know what to expect, and this definitely fits his recent work. If more about the game is uncovered, that’s fine, but I kind of like its meditative simplicity.
+Polish: It does exactly what it sets out to do.
+Descriptiveness: I found that it packed in meaning in small chunks.
+Interactivity: I liked discovering the pattern.
+Emotional impact: I'm still pondering on sacrificing to Gods of a dusty planet.
+Would I play again? Yeah, I think I'll take another look at it.