For all systems. To play, you'll need a Z-Machine Interpreter - visit Brass Lantern for download links.
competition entry
For all systems. To play, you'll need a Z-Machine Interpreter - visit Brass Lantern for download links.
design document
To view this file, you need an Acrobat Reader for your system.
Story File in Russian *
Contains bluechairsR.z8
Translation by Vyacheslav Dobranov.
For all systems. To play, you'll need a Z-Machine Interpreter - visit Brass Lantern for download links.
* Compressed with ZIP. Free Unzip tools are available for most systems at

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Blue Chairs

by Chris Klimas


(based on 89 ratings)
16 member reviews

Game Details

Language: English (en)
Current Version: 2
License: Freeware
Development System: Inform 6
Baf's Guide ID: 2396
IFIDs:  ZCODE-2-041229-942D
TUID: uva1vc6ico5u65zg


2nd Place overall; 1st Place, Miss Congeniality Awards - 10th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2004)

Winner, Best Game; Winner, Best Writing; Winner, Best Story; Nominee, Best NPCs; Nominee, Best Individual Puzzle; Nominee, Best Individual PC - 2004 XYZZY Awards

34th Place - Interactive Fiction Top 50 of All Time (2011 edition)

Editorial Reviews

Baf's Guide

My favourite game in IF-Competition 2004, Blue Chairs almost immediately won me over by a wonderfully surreal (or, more precise, dream-like) atmosphere and setting. As it turned out later, they were combined with one of the strongest stories I'd ever encountered in interactive fiction. On the other hand, it has been (deservedly, it seems) criticized for somewhat obscure puzzles, so that someone could find enough reasons to take away a star off its rating; someone - but not me.

-- Valentine Kopteltsev

Yet work it does, with more than enough panache to spare. Yes, all of the above problems are inarguably present -- the sequence in the maze-complex or whatever it is does drag on too long, there are some actions I'd never think to do if the walkthrough didn't tell me to, and the whole Dante-and-Beatrice angle made me roll my eyes. But man, it just doesn't matter. I'm willing to concede that a good part of my goodwill towards this game is a result of its peculiar aesthetic, and particularly the author's knack for description, which comes off like Clockwork Orange by way of Freaks and Geeks. [...] The puzzles for the most part live up to the off-kilter yet sharp aesthetic of the prose.
-- Mike Russo
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>VERBOSE -- Paul O'Brian's Interactive Fiction Page

Klimas has a hold of something very powerful -- interactive fiction steeped in surrealism and symbolism. This sort of thing has been tried before, but Blue Chairs is the best realization of it that I've seen.
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Member Reviews

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Number of Reviews: 13
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Most Helpful Member Reviews

11 of 15 people found the following review helpful:
Needs an Author's Cut, June 12, 2008
by Marsh (Oxfordshire, UK)

The game deserves 4 stars. A good edit would get it 5 stars.

The implementation is utterly sound and the prose is consistent and error-free. And that alone is enough to set this apart from 80% of that year's offerings.

It's a beautiful game, and I got really immersed. However, there's a dream section that goes beyond the nightime otherworldly and into pure surrealism for the sake of getting some exposition done. It's not needed, and shakes the mood.

What I'm saying (non-spoilery) is that the conversation with the reporter could as easily have been done by a conversation with Chris, while flying through the dark in the car.

10 of 14 people found the following review helpful:
Technically great, full of symbolistic smugness, December 28, 2008
by kba (berlin)

I played Blue Chairs because I looked specifically for games with a surreal setting and surreal is what I got. The opening scene is really great, both technically and as a plot device, and it seems like the start of some psychedelic fun. But it isn't really psychedelic, it felt more like the stoned ramblings of a preachy zen-buddhist who read too much wikipedia on Freudian pychoanalysis. Then again, I don't know what kind of drug I, the player that is, is on.

I have no problem with games with a message, but either I didn't really get it or I'm not interested in it.

But mine is a very subjective point of view: The game is flawles technically, has various endings and if you are into psychology of the sub-consiciousness, symbolism and new-age-isms or just more tolerant than me, you will love it.

Even though I didn't like it I advise you to play it, it deserves it!

8 of 11 people found the following review helpful:
One of my favorites, November 22, 2007
by Benjamin Sokal (Elysium pod planting enclosure on Mars)

One of my favorite games, Blue Chairs is surreal at its best. It's not surreal for its own sake, but to underpin the emotional state of the protagonist. You are Dante Hicks (no, not the one from Clerks), and you begin the game by drinking a bottle of unknown liquid from a strange man. From there you drift from reality to dream to nightmare to who-knows-what state you're in and back again, but it is all amazingly cohesive.

Dancing in the Dance
You can go anywhere you want. You can see anything you want. Where are you? There are five hundred people crammed into this room -- it's a miracle of genetic instinct and secular humanism that no one's bumping into anyone else, except when they want to, which is always... Why don't you touch people more? You never hug people except when they hug you first. Your grandmother leaving for a trip to New Orleans, to see where her body will reside once she's gone up to wherever it is that grandmothers belong after they die...

Like an interactive fiction version of a David Lynch movie, Blue Chairs manages to be confusing, provocative, beautiful, and in the end packs a surprising emotional punch.

See All 16 Member Reviews

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The following polls include votes for Blue Chairs:

Games That Changed Your Mind by Ghalev
Before you played X, you never thought you'd like horror games. Before you played Y, you never thought you could take a game with a dragon in it seriously. Before you played Z, you thought linear games would just frustrate you. Tell me...

Plot over Puzzle Parser by thecanvasrose
Looking for what it says on the tin.

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.

See all polls with votes for this game


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