Number of Reviews: 55
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6 people found the following review helpful:
The most-reviewed game on IFDB, March 25, 2023
As of writing, this game has 54 reviews on IFDB, more than any other game on the database.
I had a review of this game years ago that was mildly spoiler-y, and it was my lowest-rated review on IFDB by far (like 0 out of 9 people found it helpful).
I thought I'd give it another go.
This game is short but memorable, and its main defining feature is the way that it sets expectations. Funnily enough, this helps it serve as a great introduction to IF for newbies, since each command is hinted so heavily without feeling like handholding.
For instance, in my games, on the first turn I'll say something like 'You can PICK UP the telephone', just holding the player's hand very heavily, while this game simply says 'the phone rings'.
The room prominently displays loose objects, encouraging the player to pick them up; mentions only a dresser, encouraging the player to try OPEN; clothing, encouraging the player to WEAR, which then triggers the need to shower, adding a little complexity.
Driving can be complex in other games, but hear any reasonable actions with the car will get you in and going. Even the (Spoiler - click to show)ID card, usually something people code in a weird way, is hinted nicely with saying the reader has a place for you to INSERT the card.
For most people, at least in the years when this came out, the events in the game are completely reasonable and logical ones that they've either experienced or seen on TV (younger players may be confused you can't take the telephone with you). For experienced IF players, the bare-bones house descriptions are par for the course. So in this way, the author manages expectations in a brilliant way.
In my last review, I dinged the game for its bland prose, but looking back, it manages to add a lot of character in small ways. Like, if you eat the pop-tart, it says 'It's not Sunday brunch at Le Trop Cher, but it'll do.' That's clever. So it's not that the game isn't well-written and punchy, it's more like an optical illusion where it takes good descriptions and interesting responses but puts them into the same overall 'shape' as a bad, first 'my apartment' game so you just gloss over them until you realize they had more depth than you thought.
Overall, an interesting game, and an influential one.