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About the Story
You play Ariel in William Shakespeare's comedy The Tempest. The text and descriptions are lifted from the original works, i. e. in old English.
Winner, Best Use of Medium - 1997 XYZZY Awards
25th Place - 3rd Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (1997)
An adaptation of the Shakespeare play by one of the latter-day demigods of IF. While ample intelligence and creativity went into the making of the game (unsurprisingly, with Graham behind it)--the parser is completely hacked to make all the responses Elizabethan--it doesn't work very well as a game. You get long chunks of the play as cut-scenes, and the game amounts to figuring out what to do to trigger the next cut-scene--but some of the actions are so obscure that having the text of the play on hand doesn't help. Worse, you can't speak to any of the other characters, since that would presumably violate the confines of the play. The Elizabethan responses are amusing, but they're probably the best thing about this game.
-- Duncan Stevens
>VERBOSE -- Paul O'Brian's Interactive Fiction Page
The Tempest attempts a great deal, and achieves much of it despite being somewhat flawed. The work presents itself not as a game, but as an "interactive performance" which asks the player to perform as the magical will of Shakespeare's Prospero, guiding the spirit Ariel (a.k.a. the parser) through the plot of The Tempest (the play), though not necessarily in the order in which Shakespeare wrote it. Remarkably, this complicated positioning of subjectivity works quite well (and opens some unexplored territory for the mixing of first, second, and third person forms of address in IF). It is blended with a new approach to dialogue which prevents the player character from speaking at all but presents many screenfuls of dialogue between other characters (and sometimes including Ariel himself), the exchanges broken up by pausing for keystrokes between each character's lines. In a sense, the player's commands to the parser become essentially stage directions issued to an onstage persona via a magical conduit. This idiom also works beautifully, bestowing the game with a powerful aura of theatrical performance. The Tempest is entertaining and innovative; it often feels quite magical to inhabit the Prospero/Ariel connection, and to take part in a groundbreaking interactive experience. I think that the game also has great potential as an educational tool, allowing readers to experience Shakespeare's language in a new and thrilling way.
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Nelson takes considerable care to make this a performance of the play, not an innovation on it. Most obviously, you are prevented from speaking your own words -- you cannot ASK a character about anything -- though Ariel will speak lines at the appropriate time, independently of you. [...] The desire to avoid dialogue that isn't Shakespeare's is understandable, but it shouldn't override the necessity that a player understand what's going on.
-- Duncan Stevens
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Unfortunately I became irrevocably bogged down right near the beginning of the game, unable to do anything more than flit around between 3 locations, and get the same long speech from Ariel repeated over and over again with each attempt to do something in the game. I'm not sure exactly how progress can be achieved, as apart from mentioning that as Ariel you can "make music" at some stage in the game, there seems to be astonishingly little that you / Ariel *can* do.
-- Bev Truter
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This is a text adventure version of The Tempest. This is the entire play, just slightly reworded and split up into various pieces. As you move about the game, you unlock different conversations which get pagedumped onto the screen a line at a time.
I love the Tempest, but I didn't really enjoy reading it this way, if anything because Parchment kept scrolling to the top of the screen whenever a new line of text occurred.
You can't really do anything besides try to trigger the next section of the game. However, all of Inform's basic messages are changed around, and the parser itself is changed all around.
You play Prospero, commanding Ariel.
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