Number of Reviews: 5
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Corruption. Intrigue. Baked Goods., November 15, 2014
This slightly silly (but highly enjoyable!) piece by Ryan Veeder is perhaps inspired by Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, as its story is built around the escapades of two minor characters from his previous work, Taco Fiction.
I came across this work first, then later played Taco Fiction to compare. The two are not related in any meaningful way, so perhaps it's not really appropriate to think of Dial C for Cupcakes as a sequel. Certainly, this piece works well on a standalone basis.
The first act of the story seems almost conscientiously designed around exercising some of the latest features of Inform 7, specifically the ability to do floating point math and to switch the perspective and tense of rendered text. Once the exposition is done, however, it settles into a more typical style of interaction, in a scenario that poses the question: Just how far are you willing to go for friendship, justice, and/or frosting?
The second act is well-paced and entertaining, and it does a good job of demonstrating how careful design of NPC interaction can provide an appropriate level of satisfaction to the player without demanding too much from the author.
With a semi-realistic setting and a story that gives license to be somewhat mischievous, this is one of those pieces that probably has broad enough appeal to hold the interest of casual mainstream players -- or even those new to interactive fiction. I'll be adding it to my short list of recommended pieces for those just trying IF, and I would definitely point it out as a great seasonal piece around Halloween. While it might not quite be kid-safe (since an understanding of certain adult motivations is necessary to complete the story), it's certainly no worse than PG.