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by David Welbourn

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by Peter Seebach and Kevin Lynn

Cave crawl/Surreal

(based on 25 ratings)
3 reviews

Game Details

Language: English (en)
Current Version: 1
License: Freeware
Development System: Inform 6
Baf's Guide ID: 1922
TUID: utic1iedvvnnsf3a


Nominee, Best Individual PC - 2002 XYZZY Awards

5th Place overall; 3rd Place, Miss Congeniality Awards - 8th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2002)

Editorial Reviews

Baf's Guide

A terrifically entertaining cave-crawl parody in which you play a janitor whose job it is to clean up an adventure environment and reset everything for the next player. Puzzles are a nice moderate level of difficulty, it is difficult to get too stuck, and the humor level is well maintained. There are plenty of entertaining extras that make it worth going back and playing with the game further even after you have completed the main storyline.

-- Emily Short


As you might imagine, it’s somewhat tricky, and in places somewhat unfairly so. [...] Still, the game wouldn’t let me go. Quite apart from the desire to successfully reset the game, there were clues that something wasn’t quite right about Flavorplex; there’s a mystery to solve as well.
-- David Welbourn
See the full review

>INVENTORY - Paul O'Brian writes about interactive fiction

The locations and objects are described with a great deal of humor, and the layout and puzzles are imaginative and clever. I wasn't able to finish the game in the two hours allotted, which disappointed me, because it looked just about ready to open up into a new and fascinating level. I'd recommend this game to those who enjoy puzzles and IF metalevels, but I'd also recommend waiting to see if there's a debugged post-comp release.
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Number of Reviews: 3
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful:
Reverse-Zork, April 6, 2010
by tggdan3 (Michigan)

This game is really cute. You're a janitor behind the scenes in a Zork-like adventure game, and you need to put everything back so the next guy can play.

First of all, this game was written very well, better than I expected. You get a hold-all right away, so you can carry all the treasures back, and you get a talking mop who can help you with some tasks (though he's not particularly helpful).

The game can be very funny (particularly when you find out what happened to your predecesor). It's also well-planned, because as you walk around you do get the feeling like someone has been there before you- muddy footprints on the carpet from outside, fingerprints on the mirror, just the little things that give you the feeling of a "used" world.

It is cute how your score goes down rather than up, indicating putting things back to the original position, and discovering where the adventurer picked things up (you missed training so you have to discover the initial placement of things yourself). Luckily, the score indicates when something is where it should be.

Zork-style comedy is there (such as a comfy chair that "traps" you), and discovering how cheap some of the "treasures" actually are. If you were a big fan of Zork (like I am) you will love this game. It's all puzzles.

If you're a bigger fan of the plot or conversation oriented games... well, you probably won't like this game. But to the rest of us, it's great fun.

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
A Zorkian game in reverse with a steep learning curve, May 23, 2016

This game intimidated me. You are a janitor whose job is to clean up after adventurers (i.e. reset the game world after each player). This is an idea that was present in Adventure, the original text adventure, but it has been taken to a fun level here.

The problem is that setup is hard. There are two sets of doorways, one natural (leading about the game world), and one in a grid system (backstage) that is very confusing. Also, it's hard to know how to start using your mimesis disrupting mop.

Once you get into it, this game is fun. You have to use clues to guess how things used to be, and reset them to that state.

A very fun Zorkian game. Unfortunately, it contains ASCII art of a nude woman, but its completely avoidable.

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Featured on Radio K #2, April 28, 2015
by Adam Cadre (Albany, California)

Elizabeth Sweeney and I discuss Janitor at

If you enjoyed Janitor...

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The following polls include votes for Janitor:

Doing things backwards by Mike Ciul
Games that take traditional IF tasks and puzzles, and do them backwards or subvert them in a clever way. Thanks to olethros on raif for the inverse puzzle idea.

Looks like I have to do EVERYTHING myself by Kinetic Mouse Car
This poll is for games where the player's sole purpose is to fix things. It's their job, or a near equivalent to a job. Does not necessarily have to be traditional employment but fixing things has to be part of the PC's purpose, not...

Games Where the Title Is You by AKheon
Games with a title that is the same as the main character.

See all polls with votes for this game

This is version 6 of this page, edited by Paul O'Brian on 8 May 2022 at 9:46pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item