External Links

Requires a TADS interpreter. Visit IFWiki for download links.

Have you played this game?

You can rate this game, record that you've played it, or put it on your wish list after you log in.

Playlists and Wishlists

RSS Feeds

New member reviews
Updates to external links
All updates to this page

The End Means Escape

by Steve Kodat


(based on 7 ratings)
2 reviews

About the Story

"Some things should be left undone." [--blurb from Competition Aught-Zero]

Game Details


Nominee, Best Puzzles - 2000 XYZZY Awards

21st Place - 6th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2000)

Editorial Reviews

Baf's Guide

Abstract and surreal little game. The first scenario--in which you interact with a variety of inanimate objects, most of which have complex relationships with each other and highly distinct personalities--works very well; the implementation is thorough and the whole thing is imaginatively done. After that, things tail off a bit--the puzzles get rather obscure and the implementation becomes rather slipshod in parts. Still, the first scene alone makes this one worth trying.

-- Duncan Stevens


The end justifies the means? In this game, they rarely seem remotely connected.
-- Adam Cadre
See the full review


I'm fascinated by word puzzles. I was particularly fascinated by the one in part two of this game, where your inventory contains a certain number of words, the room contains a certain number of words, and you have to manipulate them in various ways to make certain phrases.
-- Tina Sikorski
See the full review

With muddled thoughts, doors and walls talking to me, and text that didn't really make much sense, I was none the wiser as to what this game is about and quickly lost interest. Maybe it is too "deep and meaningful" for me!
-- Dorothy Millard
See the full review

>INVENTORY - Paul O'Brian writes about interactive fiction

So yes, the game is flawed, and it's also rather inaccessible, but it's still a stimulating experiment in avant-garde IF. It was nothing like any piece of IF I'd ever seen, and that's what I liked about it.
See the full review


- View the most common tags (What's a tag?)

(Log in to add your own tags)
Tags you added are shown below with checkmarks. To remove one of your tags, simply un-check it.

Enter new tags here (use commas to separate tags):

Member Reviews

5 star:
4 star:
3 star:
2 star:
1 star:
Average Rating:
Number of Reviews: 2
Write a review

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Utterly bizarre surreal game with word manipulation and talking items, February 3, 2016

This is one of the weirdest games I have yet played. You are thrust into a room where every single object speaks. After talking to them, you are placed in a puzzle where you can physically manipulate the words in the room description. After that, you enter a bizarre world with doll-like humans you can move around, undress, and interact with. Then a bizarre maze, and finally a nonsensical last world with bizarre symbology.

I honestly have no idea what was going on here, but the puzzles are more or less pretty fun.

Recommended for fans of the bizarre and weird.

Was this review helpful to you?   Yes   No   Remove vote  
More Options

 | Add a comment 

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
Compelling puzzles in completely disjointed scenes, March 31, 2010
by Danielle (The Wild West)

This is a hard one for me to rate, because in some areas it really excels, while in other areas it falls flat.

For instance, its opening scene, with the varying personalities you encounter and the unique way you get information about the room drew me in quickly. Immediately afterwards, there was a puzzle that made zero sense to me. The hints only helped to a point, but the puzzle needed more context.

After that, the scene turns creepy and isolated in a way I don't see too often in IF. Loved that. But the puzzle itself turned into a frustrating experiment in reading the author's mind. Boo. (At least the built-in-hints helped.) Then a maze with a clever solution that I enjoyed puzzling out.

The final scene had an interesting puzzle and setting, but I had zero idea who I was. What was I now? What had I been in the first scene? Why do I care? Why did the maze lead to this?

Great puzzles and moody sets are all fine and good, but if they're going to be so disjointed in theme, the character (or something! anything!) should be a unifying, overarching thread so it doesn't feel like a cafeteria lady serving up IF puzzles wearing a Halloween mask to be mysterious.

I played this right after finishing An Open Field. Here's my conclusion: those two games should've traded some ideas. OPEN FIELD, while initially disorienting, ends with a clear background concept; by the end, you knew who you were, what your situation was, and what your goal would be as that character. However, OPEN FIELD lacked implementation that would've made it a standout work.

THE END MEANS has implementation up the ying-yang. (Just "x young" in the second scene of THE END MEANS...you'll understand.)

If you like puzzles, try out THE END MEANS ESCAPE. If you're looking for more story to go with your IF, you may want to sit this one out.

Was this review helpful to you?   Yes   No   Remove vote  
More Options

 | Add a comment 

The End Means Escape on IFDB

Recommended Lists

The End Means Escape appears in the following Recommended Lists:

Most unusual games by MathBrush
These are games that are very different than most games on IFDB. Some games that are exceptional in execution (like Counterfeit Monkey) are derived from concepts that are similar to other games (like Andrew Schultz's or Ad Verbum). This...

Noteworthy T2 Games [Formerly: Which Can't Be Played on the Web] by Walter Sandsquish
This list was created because TADS 2 didn't have a Web-based 'terp for a long time. It's still here because these games, from long ago, are good enough to not be forgotten.

Favorite Weird/Surreal Games by thecanvasrose
An ongoing list of bizarro, out of the box, quirky and 'who would ever think to make this' games which force one to question their own sanity, if just a little bit.


The following polls include votes for The End Means Escape:

Sublime Moments by Sam Kabo Ashwell
I've been thinking about games that provide really brilliant moments. This is not about the overall quality of the game: there are plenty of excellent games that never deliver a clear, standout moment of unalloyed excellence. And surely...

Most unique games by Jeremy Freese
Whatever else might be said about ___________, there's not another game like it.

I'm looking for a great surreal game. by Bishopofbasic
It's pretty hot up here in Canada and I was wondering if anyone knew of any great surreal type games. Something I can spend my time in front of the AC or in my office hiding from the world. Thanks you guys.

This is version 6 of this page, edited by Paul O'Brian on 7 May 2022 at 1:57am. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item - Delete This Page