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About the Story
Sir Rodney Playfair, gentleman thief, has a simple plan: impersonate a psychiatrist, infiltrate a country house, steal a priceless Egyptian scarab and make it back to London in time for cocktails. All in a day's work for the illustrious 'Magpie'.
Nominee, Best Game; Nominee, Best Writing; Nominee, Best Story; Nominee, Best Setting; Nominee, Best NPCs; Winner - the Magpie, Best Individual PC; Nominee, Best Implementation - 2018 XYZZY Awards
1st Place overall; 1st Place, Miss Congeniality - 24th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2018)
McT's Interactive Fiction Reviews
Beautifully, professionally done – superbly implemented. Funny, clever and delicious. I doubt it can be completed in 2 hours, but this is currently the standard bearer in the competition for me. 10/10.
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A rich setting, motivated puzzles, and memorable characters
My introduction to interactive fiction was playing the Infocom games as a kid. They were fun then but a bit dated now, with an emphasis on contrived inventory and set-piece puzzles and less NPC interaction than modern works. “Alias ‘The Magpie'” plays like one of the best games from that era, but with a rich setting, motivated puzzles, and memorable characters. Score: 10
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The Breakfast Review
Now, this is Something Fresh. We are an imposter -- that is, we are a slippery gentleman thief pretending to be a famous psychiatrist -- and our objective is a scarab, a Cheops of the Fourth Dynasty. What follows is a Wodehousian romp complete with dotty aristocrats, disguises, and wacky hijinks.
I enjoyed this quite a bit. The voice is engaging and the writing knows just how much to say and how much to leave out. The puzzles were just challenging enough, and the gating is effective. The characterisations are comedic just verging on cartoonish, without going into eye-roll territory. It's certainly not deep or thought-provoking in any way, but this damn-well near exactly what I come to IF hoping to find.
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Good Old Days
+ Colourful and very detailed background
+ Wonderfully neurotic characters
+ Clever setup for a nifty chain of events
+ Best use of a cucumber in a video game ever
+ Had me laughing so hard I had tears in my eyes at times
- Some of the puzzles could have used a bit more or better hinting
= Just like playing a Pink Panther movie.
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Patrick Brian Mooney
This was a fun treasure hunt. The multiple levels of deception involved in pretending to be multiple people to various NPCs was also a fun mechanic. The multiple disguises were great, too, and most of the interlocking puzzles were wonderful. The map was elegantly designed and access control handled gracefully. In all of these ways, it feels a lot like The Wizard Sniffer last year, though with a smaller, more restricted field of action and with a larger verb set. But all in all, it's wonderful in some of the same ways. Rating 9/10
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Number of Reviews: 5
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Most Helpful Member Reviews
This is a great comedy based on misunderstandings and physical humor.
You are a thief, sent to steal a priceless object from a British manor. But to do so, you must assum a variety of costumes and identities.
Along the way, you discover the secrets of the household and the neighborhood, including lies, deceit, regret, and gorillas.
There were a few sticky points in puzzles that were fussier than they needed to be, but otherwise this is a prime example of what a polished parser puzzler can look like. One of the best games of the 2010’s.
Alias 'The Magpie' drew me in quickly, with its very English tone and sense of humor. I found it cleverly-written, well-implemented, and a lot of fun to play.
Like last year's The Wizard Sniffer, as the story in Alias 'The Magpie' unfolds it keeps raising the comedic stakes higher and higher in ways that leave you thinking, "How is this all going to hold together?" But it does. Does it ever: I have rarely laughed so much playing an IF game! J.J. Guest has already demonstrated a fine-tuned ear for comedy in To Hell in a Hamper, but it's clear he's gotten better with time: Alias 'The Magpie' is longer, features several more characters, and has a much more complex plot, but that comedic fine-tuning somehow manages to be even more on pitch.
My one critique is that I think a couple of the puzzles are rather difficult for a light comedy game. But this is a minor critique in what is a truly excellent parser comedy - one of the best IF comedies I've ever played, in fact.
Related reviews: IF Comp 2018, great for newbies, good author voice, funny, humourous, friendly, first person
This is only my third IF game/book but it is easily my favourite. It's very accessible to those of us without the experience of of IF conventions and expectations.
The puzzles are great and easily solved with help from the extension (and hilarious) hint system. It took me a bit longer than most but I didn't mind wandering around being an idiot, as everything had a purpose in the end.
The characters are amusing and easily recognizable if you've ever read Wodehouse, though they are more whimsical, though just as expertly written.
It will definitely make you laugh. And I don't think you'll be able to stop playing before you get to the end...
See All 10 Member Reviews
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PollsThe following polls include votes for Alias 'The Magpie':
For your consideration: XYZZY-eligible Best Individual NPCs of 2018 by MathBrush
This is for suggesting puzzles in games released in 2018 which you think might be worth considering for Best Individual NPC in the XYZZY awards. This is not a zeroth-round nomination.This is not an official list. The point of poll is...
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If someone were going to play one IF you've written, which one would you recommend? This can be based on any criteria you choose: personal favorite, highest rated, most representative, most accessible, whatever. (You can always change...
For your consideration: XYZZY-eligible Best Writing of 2018 by MathBrush
This is for suggesting games released in 2018 which you think might be worth considering for Best Writing in the XYZZY awards. This is not a zeroth-round nomination.This is not an official list. The point of poll is partly to suggest...
This is version 19 of this page, edited by J. J. Guest on 1 October 2020 at 4:57pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item