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27th Place - 3rd Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (1997)
Tiny game about getting mailbombed. You check your mail, you get bombed, you reinstall the program. Takes about five minutes, tops, to play. Nothing wrong with it, but nothing very exciting, either.
-- Duncan Stevens
The players of the 1997 interactive fiction competition are, by definition, those people with the connections, software, and wherewithal to connect to an archive in Germany, download a series of games, set them up on their own computers, and play them. In that playing E-Mailbox required locating and downloading the AGiliTy interpreter, there was another degree of complication in there. Now, I don't actually think all of that is extremely complicated, but I do think that those who happen to play--meaning the IF community, which exists solely by virtue of the Internet--are not likely to be those still gasping over the wonders of e-mail.
-- Duncan Stevens a.k.a. Second April
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>VERBOSE -- Paul O'Brian's Interactive Fiction Page
Well, if there's a prize for shortest competition game, E-MAILBOX will win it hands down. Clocking in at just under ten minutes, it barely gets off the ground before telling you either that you've won or that you've just met your death by having your body's cells torn apart from one another. Not much of a menu, but at least either way the end comes quickly. The game purports to be "A true story based on actual events that occurred to a real individual," but is written in a broad, exaggerated tone that is probably meant to be burlesque. It's funny, in a limited kind of way, but it's hard for the game to do very much when it ends so quickly.
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This 1997 IFComp game shows to me how Twine didn't ruin parser games and IFComp; if this game had been entered in the 2010's, it would certainly have been a short twine game. I feel like authors are writing the same games, just on more appropriate platforms.
You spend most of the time typing well-clued commands and pressing enter a lot, and it's short. Its clear the author just wanted to write something short and fun. You play as a digital avatar near the digital highway, opening your digital mailbox for the first time.
This is version 3 of this page, edited by Edward Lacey on 19 April 2013 at 2:28pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item