The Absolute Worst IF Game in History

by Dean Menezes


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Number of Reviews: 10
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Apt title. I only wish I could give it a lower score., August 16, 2016

I really was asking for trouble when I added this game to the list wasn’t I. As I said in the introduction post, I really couldn’t resist the title, and even though I was going in expecting a terrible game – I was still disappointed.

Don’t get me wrong, the title makes no promise it doesn’t live up to. This is a truly bad.. thing. I hesitate to even call it a game. I have a question for the community at large – what exactly is the appeal of the “this is a horrible game” genre of games that crop up from time to time. This is the second year I’ve sat down to review the IFComp and the second time that the first game off the block is this type of self-referential ‘bad’ game. (The first was PTGood, which scored a respectable dead last in IFComp06. Don’t look for it.)

The reason I keep picking these up is simple. They should be funny. Really and truly they should, there is a place for satire in every art form and the Interactive Fiction community has existed long enough for many many tropes, cliches and mistakes to become common knowledge and indeed cultural jokes – the maze of twisty passages being one such example. Satire mocking an art-form is, at the heart, indicative of a rich and thriving artistic foundation and should be cause for celebration; instead, I despair each time I pick up one of these games.

How is it that after so many tries, with so much talent in this community, we have so far been unable to master this particular art? With the Emily Shorts and Adam Cadres expanding the boundaries of what we can accomplish, why does a simple satire fall short? This game is short, pointless and utterly boring. It -is- what it set out to be, a bad game, simply because it is utterly unmemorable. It took all of 2 minutes to play, which I suspect was a minute longer than it took to program, and simply reproduced a stupid maze puzzle that was a tiny, though memorable, portion of a classic of the genre.

The game itself wasn’t even that bad. PTGood at least was that, so utterly horrible that even the parser seemed broken – and with the blurb associated with it there was an irony almost beautiful in the sheer bile it evinced. This game just offends with is sheer blandness.

I do look forward to the day I pick up one of these so called “Bad games” and find what I am actually looking to find, that elusive thing that keeps me coming back to them like a masochist nuzzling the whipping post. A true satire – a good game that is merely pretending to be a bad one.

For that is the point at the heart of this art-form. No matter what direction it takes, with the toys, annoyances and artistic experiments, we can’t forget where we started. These were, and are, games; and games are meant to be entertaining.

The Absolute Worst IF Game in History is not entertaining, and I have done myself a disservice wasting so much time and words on it. Do yourself a favour and think of it nevermore.

Review originally published on Silicon Dreams during the 2008 Interactive Fiction Competition.

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A semi-random maze, April 17, 2016

This is a semi-random maze, with a thin plot. The other reviews have touched on this game a lot, but it's safe to say that this is not the worst IF game of all time.

Apparently, the maze is small but solvable. The name of the winning item uses unicode, so you can't type it, but you can GET ALL.

Not as interesting as other "bad" if.

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
As it says on the tin, or is it?, January 8, 2015
by Harry Coburn (Atlanta, GA)
Related reviews: absurd

There's an irony about this game that tickles me, if you can even call it a game. Why is this the absolute worst IF game in history? First, it uses the most tired trope in all adventure games, get Macguffin item X from maze Y. Then when you go into the maze, it has the conceit to use the classic Adventure maze description phrase. It's like the game was designed to tick off IF players.

If this game was just submitted on its own it would be a joke game, and not a particularly funny one, but the fact that it was submitted to the IF Comp as a game for consideration (it got last place out of 35 entries) just touches me in a really funny way.

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Hilarious!, September 8, 2012

I preface this review with the caveat that much as I would like to be, I'm not a hardcore IF game player. I tend to enjoy IF that's heavier on narrative than puzzles.

That being said, this game made me laugh harder than any IF I've ever played. I wandered through the maze, randomly typing in directions. I figured- well, this is a pretty good representation of when and why I get burned out from playing IF games. I assumed I would wander forever, nothing would happen, and I'd call it a day.

On a lark, I started typing in any verb I could think of. I typed in, "sing." It said, "Your singing is abominable." Then: Congratulations! You won the game in 14 turns!" etc.

I laughed so hard, my face still hurts. Granted, I played it again and I did not win by singing.

Who knows? Start typing in silly things and maybe you'll get lucky like I did.

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
A review and a request, May 4, 2012
by Andrew Schultz (Chicago)

I'm not big on pointing out a bad game is very bad. Eventually, there are only so many ways to say it. So why does this game merit a review, as a 5- or 6-room maze?

I managed to map it, or I think I did, by seeing (Spoiler - click to show)if the room I went to had a description or not and undoing a whole lot. This is an interesting exercise in logical deduction--and if you like this sort of thing, it's worth doing once if only to say 'Hey, I'm better at this when the Zork I thief maze scared me and I actually had ITEMS to leave around.' It is not as potentially hair-pulling as some guess-the-verb games without walkthroughs. In theory. However, GtVs have plot and humor, and you can see what the author is thinking later, and you can pretend he really meant to X or Y.

So my practical side is satisfied that this game is just awful. But my solve-everything side noted that Googling showed you apparently CAN get to the last room and get that item. But straightforward logic doesn't seem to work. Or maybe you have to visit rooms in a certain order. So I feel half-guilty writing a review for a game like this because it may make someone else try the same thing I did.

Yet at the same time I think anyone who likes to play with fire (or the occasional bad game) doesn't deserve to suffer more than five minutes through. If there is anyone out there with a walkthrough, or who remembers, "Oh, you do this," it'd be community service to post it.

But please don't try to play the game again if you don't!

0 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
It's a JOKE, people!, February 1, 2011

I think this game has been taken MUCH too seriously by those who've reviewed it. Anyone "pained" by the experience of playing it obviously did not take the title literally enough. I mean, c'mon! It's called "the worst" because it IS the worst. LOL. I thought it was funny. I'll give it a terrible rating because that's what it deserves, but I don't think the author ever intended anything more. ;)

5 of 8 people found the following review helpful:
No, no, no, no, no...., April 25, 2009
by gruelove (UK)

Not a great deal to say about this one really; because there's nothing to it. You enter a maze and find that everything about it is randomized, from directions, to dead ends, even your own death is a random event.

I can only think that the author was conducting an experiment to see how many suckers he could get to play it, and then proceeded to laugh up his sleeve at us.

Anyway. Don't bother with this. AT ALL!

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful:
could be worse, November 23, 2008
by Jeremy Freese (Evanston, IL)

And, as a result, is not worth looking at. Although I view it as more of a conceptual experiment than the pure troll endeavor others do. I mean, it is an interesting question, what would the worst IF game be like? This game would represent a coherent view of the answer under the constraint that it had to be something one could code in under fifteen minutes.

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful:
What., November 18, 2008

There is a maze. You enter the maze and wander around randomly until you either win (with a standard victory message) or die (as above - standard death message). That's all. That's all there is. Do not waste your time. There is nothing amusing or interesting about this so-called "game".

4 of 9 people found the following review helpful:
Close, but no cigar., November 16, 2008
by James Hall (UK)

Poorly implemented 'troll' game whose only feature seems to be a maze. Nothing to recommend at all.

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