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About the StoryYouíve just arrived at home from your nightly visit to the science and invention section of the local public library, where you spend each night dreaming your dreamy dreams of one day inventing a time travel machine. Tonight, for some reason, youíre especially fatigued, and canít wait to get inside and go right to bed. Seems like a good plan, but somehow you have a premonition itís not going to be that easy...
Nominee, Best Game; Nominee, Best Story; Winner, Best Puzzles - 2001 XYZZY Awards
First Reviews First
Puzzly though the game is, I was able to solve the whole thing without resorting to external walkthroughs or hints, which is something I almost never do. I had to ask someone after the fact for some information since I won with less than the optimal number of points, but the fact that I got that far at all is a testament to the fact that the game is designed, if not forgivingly, at least with an eye to being comprehensible. There are many points at which you can lock yourself out of victory. On the other hand, there were few puzzles that left me scratching my head and wondering how I was supposed to have read the author's mind. The game is also developed to provide hints; not only can you ask NPCs about topics and get useful nudges, but they will even occasionally volunteer things unsolicited about problems that you've been bashing your head against. The realism of this effect may vary, but as a piece of game design it's excellent, a sort of in-game adaptive hint system woven into the story.
-- Emily Short
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It is refreshing to actually be able to do something about the past instead of being told to accept it for what it is. My only real complaint is that the ending leaves a few loose ends, and I think the environmental tone is a bit too obvious. [...] Anybody who wants a good old-fashioned puzzle-filled IF experience, and has some time on their hands should give this one a try.
-- Adam Myrow
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|Average Rating: |
Number of Reviews: 3
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The time travel mechanic is just lovely. You get to move between five different time periods over a fifty year period and tinker with things in each time period and see the ripple effects. Puzzles involve messing around with nature and seeing what happens, messing with your house and seeing what happens, messing with the bank and seeing what happens, and finally messing with people and seeing what happens.
There are two separate endings to your messing with the universe. The first one is more of a neutral ending and I was able to complete this path without a walkthrough and I'm a walkthrough kind of guy. The second one is much tougher and has more walking dead situations, but also much more rewarding. And if you just save on the regular, you should never have to replay too many portions as long as you keep going through the time machine and checking your work.
A must-play for those who enjoyed A Mind Forever Voyaging but wanted more agency, or for those who enjoyed LucasArts' Day of the Tentacle but wanted a more serious plot, or for those who just like any time travel game they can get their hands on.
In this game that starts out very slowly, you quickly progress to an interesting situation similar to A Mind Forever Voyaging or Lost New York, where you can investigate a mid-size map over 50 years using a time machine. Your actions in certain time periods strongly affect the future in interesting ways.
This is definitely the best long-form time travel I have played, as I felt Lost New York (which explores New York over a century or two) and Time: All Things Come to an End (which explores many epochs in a linear fashion) had relatively unfair puzzles.
IFDB has version 3.0, but the walkthrough is for 1.1, so it didn't work in places. I am a walkthrough junkie, so it was hard for me to beat it, but I was able to guess from the walkthrough what I should try next, and eventually worked my way through it.
The game has good characters, beautiful settings, and a bit of a confused plot, which is natural given the main gameplay mechanic.
For simulation fans, it has an interesting money/bank account/investment system.
Strongly recommended for everyone. (Note: the first area seems incredibly boring, but it gets better and better. I started to like the game as soon as I made it into (Spoiler - click to show)the garage.)
Actually, I only have a very small criticism to make: in at least two situations, we can get definitely stuck without knowing it. The first case is when trying to take (Spoiler - click to show)the miracle-grow jugs in the worksheet one by one, then the game only says "you should have done this when you had the chance", but lets you continue, which is ambiguous. More generally, one object is essential to the game, and should not be disposed off too early in the game, which is not very clear at first ((Spoiler - click to show)the wheelbarrow). The second case is when (Spoiler - click to show)you jump into the window without anticipating on how to get out after that. I think it would have been nice if the game had said something like "you should have thought of this before doing that, now you seem to be stuck".
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Recommended ListsFirst Things First appears in the following Recommended Lists:
Time travel games by MathBrush
These are games where the main puzzles are centered on time travel. I'm splitting this off from my science fiction list. Many games include one or two time travel puzzles, such as Spellbreaker or Curses!. But this list is for games whose...
2020 Alternative Top 100 by Denk
(Created 24-Jul-2020) Philosophy: 1. If a game only has 5-star ratings, it is because the game hasn't received enough ratings. 2. Games with few ratings can still be among the best. 3. Sometimes the average score is the best metric. The...
Big, non-linear adventure games with score system by MathBrush
These are classic-style games, where you have to collect a large variety of objects while exploring a cave or building. My favorite way to play these games is to start playing without hints, mapping out the world and seeing what all I...
PollsThe following polls include votes for First Things First:
Games featuring a central evolving puzzle mechanism by Lance Campbell
Looking for any games that feature a core puzzle mechanism that the player masters and expands upon throughout the game. The puzzle mechanism should start out simple, and evolve and expand in an organic way, supporting the game and story...
The great puzzlefests by Victor Gijsbers
Playing Curses!, I started wondering which games belong to the canon of great puzzlefests. With this term I mean puzzle based games that are long, difficult and punishing; but also fair, engaging and truly rewarding to work through. The...
Games with unique hint systems by delano
I'm looking for games that offer hints in any way, except for printing them in sequence on the screen. For example: characters that offer hints; objects that, when examined or used in a certain way, suggest actions to the player; etc.
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