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About the Story
Somewhere near a quiet English village in 1969, a forbidding-looking computer factory looms over the woods. Most of the local kids prefer to avoid the place, but computer-obsessed Barry Basic has decided to go nosing around the building.
2nd place - Text Adventure Literacy Jam
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Number of Reviews: 3
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This is a neat production where you must control three teens. One, Barry Basic, has snuck into an old-fashioned computer control room where he shouldn’t be, and he managed to get locked in. His friends need to help him out. You need to change points of view several times. Games like this where you change perspective usually frustrated me, but this one helped me along really well and still left me the freedom to feel like I was solving stuff.
This game had several neat parts: seeing how and why Gill liking English was relevant, having Barry’s more athletic friend Tony need to help him several different ways, and the accomplishments at the end that encourage you to try everything. Each friend-pair also has an interaction that moves the plot forward, and the game never forces pedantry on you. By this, I mean things like when you’re finally leaving for home, you don’t have to switch between Barry and Gill and Tony and have them all leave. They all do together, as friends should.
And I think that’s the sign of a good game. Once it asks for your time and makes you figure how the three different friends should interact, it doesn’t bog you down to stay or trip you up in unnecessary detail. It also has a good economy of items–there are enough for good puzzles, but not too many. All items have a purpose, even those with easter-egg deaths the game notes once you've won. After all, Barry isn't really supposed to be in the control room, and this drives the point home without being preachy.
Also, the game features a rotary phone. Rotary phones are good for a cheap laugh, but in this case, they’re part of an early plot point. So this is retro/nostalgia done right. The control room also has these details as well.
Playing this game reminded me I never got to do enough (relatively harmless) sneaking around with friends. We weren't athletic enough. So I missed out, but this game helps me enjoy how it would've been, without the fear of things going on my permanent record or whatever.
The most ambitious game I've encountered so far in the Text Adventure Literacy Jam, Barry Basic and the Quick Escape features 3 playable characters that you can switch between at will: co-ordinating their actions and making use of their individual skills is crucial to success. The titular Barry Basic has got himself stuck in a guarded building, and he needs his two friends to help get him out so they don't miss their tea-time. While Dungeon of Antur had fun RPG combat, and Sentient Beings had its cool day/night cycle, Barry Basic goes furthest in integrating it's central mechanic with almost every aspect of the game, teaching the value of teamwork while delivering a really fun and highly-polished experience. There are even achievements: I finished the game with just over half of them.
This game pulls off a difficult feat: there are 3 characters you can play as and you can swap between them at will. That's fairly difficult to pull off, but the game does well.
Puzzles are reasonable, as intended for a 'tutorial'-type game. The story is kind of random, but the characters are well-defined, have distinct personalities and see and interact with the world in different ways.
Your friend ends up locked in a strange compound after a tour and needs help escaping. You have to go and save him!
Overall, I didn't feel a real emotional investment in this game, but it was pleasant, one of the smoothest to play out of this game jam.
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This is version 12 of this page, edited by jakomo on 13 April 2021 at 2:16pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item