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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 overall; Winner, Scott's Choice Award - Text Adventure Literacy Jam
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Number of Reviews: 4
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I found this game by requesting an IF story with a character-swapping system similar to the indie horror game 'Ib.'
I enjoyed the game and found a few of the puzzles intuitive; the character's heights and abilities all felt easy to understand with some trial and error.
Unfortunately, even some simple tasks required too many 'guess the verb' queries and I had to use the walkthrough several times.
(The game's error messages gave me some trouble. For example, I entered the wrong phone number in the booth and got an 'unknown noun' error. That made me think that the game did not recognize phone numbers at all, when in fact I needed to be told I had typed the wrong number.)
Maybe people who are more used to IF conventions could play the game more easily than I did, or maybe the Adventuron engine is not as well suited to interpreting language as the games I am more familiar with.
The multimedia was a nice touch, with simple illustrations that still look nice, and the fact that they change as you change characters is useful as a UI feature.
I completed the game in about 20 minutes with a walkthrough.
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.
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