The Algophilists' Penury

by Jon Stall profile


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Number of Reviews: 4
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful:
Florid, Baroque, Masochistic, June 2, 2012
by Joey Jones (UK)

The Algophilists' Penury must take the award as the most arcane and prolix of interactive fictions, and I've played a bit of Gamlet. Jon Stall has a vocabulary almost equal to the greatest of verbose authors (Mary Shelley and her perquisitions and purlieues comes to mind) and he employs it in the most prevaricatory of stories. The protagonist of his tale is a strange collective who are looking back (possibly from beyond the grave) on their time when they were woefully poor and engaged in depravities.

For a game ostensibly about masochism, it does a very job of punishing the player. Foremost, there is the viciously opaque language that forces all but the most erudite of players to struggle to put together meaning. And then what little of the scant gameplay there is pushes the player to fully embrace the role of the algophilists. In the end, they are a collective formed by all those that play the game.

Unfortunately, the game as it is is very short with low implementation. It leans heavily on the novel default past tense first person plural responses offered by Ron Newcomb's custom library messages extension. Also, where it says 'soubriquets' in the text (a just about acceptable variant), the game actually only understands 'sobriquets'. Jon has released the game into the public domain along with its source, so perhaps we'll see some Algophilist remixes in the future.

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