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14th Place - 7th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2001)
A pleasant and reasonably easy jaunt through the countryside of a sort of Edwardian fantasy world at a time when there's no great treasure to unearth or evil wizard to defeat. You're a landed gentleman in pursuit of seven escaped horses, each named for a significant quality of character (Courage, Defiance, etc.) I was impressed with how good-natured it all is: all the NPC's are friendly and eager to help, pretty much all the areas are described as pleasant, picturesque, or elegant (to the point where this constitutes a weakness in the prose), and everything the player does exhibits goodwill and strength of character.
-- Carl Muckenhoupt
>VERBOSE -- Paul O'Brian's Interactive Fiction Page
Every aspect of The Chasing has its good points, and all of it is competent, if undistinguished. You aren't likely to remember it long after you've finished, but it does make for an agreeable afternoon's diversion.
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Much of IF begins with a problem, and we happen to be the lucky schmo charged with solving it; perhaps that's why much of IF tends to be frustrating, obtuse, or just plain negative in tone. This then is what sets apart "The Chasing". It's a very positive and neighborly work, as if "Ultima: Quest of the Avatar" were set in your local neighborhood, sans monsters and pointy objects. Your white horses escaped your stables last night, and you must wander around the valley looking for them, quizzing your neighbors on their whereabouts. In doing so, you discover your neighbors have little problems of their own, such as treed kites and runaway lawnmowers. But shortly after helping someone out, you discover you are starring in an allegory.
But golly gee Wally, it sure is a pleasant little allegory to be in.
"The Chasing" avoids the preachy tone that virtue-chasing games often have, and still keeps its gameplay varied enough to avoid boredom. NPCs tend to be one-trick ponies, but there's always a friendly one nearby, partly mitigating the loneliness that usually dogs IF. And while the pleasantness of the work sometimes runs pretty close to self-parody, there's something to be said here for balance in the body of IF works; perhaps the work purposefully overcompensates.
There's nothing here that will challenge puzzle-goers, but their children -- and IF beginners -- will only require a list of verbs common to all IF in order to chase down all those slippery, adventurous virtu-- er, horses.
Räisänen definitely has their own style of puzzle, in this and other games.
In this game, you are a nobleman who has lost seven horses, and who has been asked to find them, as well as delivering invitations.
The puzzle design rests on light puzzles mostly focusing on examining, waiting, and movement, similar to Arthur DiBianca's later games.
Gris et Jaune, by Jason Devlin
Average member rating: (24 ratings)
She wanted answers. He wanted a cure. You just wanted to live.
|Blackstone Academy for the Magical Arts, by Alana Joli Abbott|
Average member rating: (1 rating)
Cast spells, pass your exams, and save the world! Blackstone is more than a magic school: you'll compete for glory in the sky sailing tourney, find love, and steer the fate of magic itself. Blackstone Academy for the Magical Arts is a...
|Heretic Dreams, by Hannah Powell-Smith|
Average member rating: (10 ratings)
They would call what you did heresy. No one knows you swallowed the power of a god, but it will break you apart.
Not Too Long, Not Too Difficult by Eric Mayer
Being impatient and puzzle-challenged, I prefer rather short games that I can make it through without resorting to hints every other turn. The following leap to mind, in no particular order.
Favorite ALAN games by Anya Johanna DeNiro
These are some of my favorite games written in the ALAN IF-development language. With a lower learning curve and a more natural-language programming environment, ALAN v2 definitely filled an important role in IF before the advent of...