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(based on 15 ratings)
About the Story
"They say you can never get to know the true New York as a tourist -- but this is going to turn out to be no ordinary vacation. What you thought would be a quick jaunt to the usual tourist traps instead uncovers an odd find that sends you hurtling through time, coming face-to-face with history. A history that you realize you are going to have to change if you ever want to find your way home..."
Language: English (en)
Current Version: 1.4
Development System: TADS 2
Baf's Guide ID: 131
Referenced in Kids, donít eat your Halloween candy without having your parents inspect it first because there are SICKOS out there who will put RAZOR BLADES in it and you will CUT YOUR MOUTH and GET A POISONED INFECTION and DIE, all from eating your candy early. So donít do that., by Dan Shiovitz
Nominee, Best Game; Nominee, Best Writing; Nominee, Best Story; Nominee, Best Setting; Nominee, Best Puzzles; Nominee, Best NPCs - 1996 XYZZY Awards
As a bored tourist in the Big Apple, you discover a time-travel device that lets you witness first-hand the development of the city in four centuries. A well-researched period piece with good wry descriptive prose, rather sad in many places about the passing of old landmarks and the ruthlessness of modernity. Good explorability, although towards the end trekking about and waiting for trains can get to be a chore. The puzzles are mostly (but not entirely) straightforward, but careful examination of scenery is required to obtain equipment. The geography is representative rather than exhaustive - walking north from 14th Street, for example, takes you to 23rd Street. It's easy to lock yourself out of victory, but also easy to predict when it's likely to happen (if not how to avoid it). Features an AGT-style EXITS command.
-- Carl Muckenhoupt
Puzzles vs. History
Similarly, it's clear that in LOST NEW YORK, deMause's heart is in the geographical and historical material. Virtually all the prose is extremely deft, but never is the writing more alive, more joyous, than when you die and the author gets to tell you another wacky story about a long-dead mayor; never are the quips funnier than when they're playing off the geography of the city (try going east from the City Hall area in 1880, or north into Hell's Kitchen later on.) The fact that the game begins with a slideshow and ends with a bibliography is another indication of where the author's interests lie. Hint: it's not in fiddling around with hairpins and stopwatches.
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Lost New York is an engaging work of interactive fiction and even a standard on which all historical pieces should be judged. Bear in mind that its whole is definitely greater than its parts. Each element taken by itself is merely good. The overall effect is very pleasing. Experience it for yourself!
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Part of the problem with Lost NY may be that it has too much focus on ambiance. When I first traveled back in time, I assumed that I was trying to find my way back to meet my friends. Then I thought I was supposed to alter time for the better (kind of an anti-Jigsaw). Either way, it's not very clear what your purpose is in the New York time zones other than to solve puzzles and move forward. Even when you're solving puzzles, it's hard to tell what you're accomplishing in the big picture. Eventually, it becomes obvious how to get back to the present, then you just have to spend time getting it done.
The puzzles are logical and fairly straightforward. They are consistently challenging with few stumpers. I had a few problems with the parser but no more or less than with other games. There are a few places (especially near the beginning of the game) where you can get the game into an unwinnable situation by missing something or fiddling with something too soon. As usual, save often. There are few NPCs in the game and those that exist are relatively limited in their interaction with the player.
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Number of Reviews: 3
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This well-researched difficult game takes characters on a tour through the history of New York, much like A Mind Forever Voyaging took players through a fictional city's history.
Unlike Voyaging,this is a very hard puzzle game. I've been playing many early XYZZY awards, and this is a classic late 90's game. Excellent writing, clever puzzles, but no way on earth you'll get them. Multi-object puzzles involving creative uses of items from every area of the game, bizarre required actions, etc. This is not bad, it's just the period's ideal. I used a walkthrough the whole time.
I loved the writing, and the obvious love of the author for New York and its history. The various ranks you get correspond to real historical New York mayors.
The train got you to New York right on time as scheduled... Which means you now have an entire afternoon's worth of time to kill before your friends get off work. Seeing as you're now a bit of a stranded tourist, why not make the most of it?
Lady Liberty seems like a good place to start. After poking around a bit (as adventurous tourists are wont to do) and standing in line for way too long, lo and behold, you find a portal to the past!
Lost New York is a time traveling sightseeing game. There is no pressing urgency, no impending city-threatening catastrophe. The essence of the game really is wandering around through New York in different eras of its construction.
That doesn't mean there are no puzzles. Oh my, but there are puzzles. Many depend on carefully remembering buildings or NPCs from different time zones and traveling back and forth with the necessary items. The majority are well integrated and quite intuitive for the helpful and inquisitive tourist PC you are guiding along, but there is no larger motivation to solve them. Indeed, from outside the game the puzzles mostly seem put there to force you to explore thoroughly and see as much as possible of the city the author has recreated in the game.
For the best experience, it is not recommended to focus too much on solving the obstacles as quickly and efficiently as possible. Instead, hang around, spend some time in interesting places. Well written and fascinating scenes are bound to unfold. This does mean that you will probably die on multiple occasions, or end up an adventure zombie at the least. Make sure to have a few save files at the ready. (Dying or quitting prematurely compares you to a New York mayor. The accounts of their accomplishments and fraudulence are worth dying for.)
The exploration of the history of New York is where the heart of Lost New York lies. A few smaller areas are mostly there for variety and mixing up the puzzle-solutions. The meat of the game is in traversing and comparing the two big maps/years: 1880 and 1905.
The sideways encounters with some historical NPCs made me curious enough to do some research into the lives of Emma Goldman and Robert Moses among others.
The most impressive character in the game however is the city of New York itself. The author has lovingly recreated a miniature Big Apple with lots of famous and infamous locations. The traffic and hassle on the streets, the descriptions of buildings and parks, the shops and saloons,... They all call forward a city bustling with life and productivity.
The differences between time zones add to the impression of life and growth. A construction site here, a half-finished bridge there, the transition from above-ground railways to subway tunnels,... All paint a vivid picture of a city in flux, constantly on the move, hurrying toward the future.
While there is no suspense involved in your sightseeing trip through the past, there is much excitement to be found in the exuberant and detailed descriptions of New York. Even the parser gets in on the action by replying to a failed command in a typical brusque NY manner (>GET PAINTING "Get real!")
The love and fascination of the author for the city of New York shines through in every paragraph, even when describing the more shadowy sides of its history and geography.
A beautiful, entertaining, captivating historical tour.
Great historical fiction... lots of fun if you're more into exploration than puzzles, which seem like a bit of an afterthought.
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