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About the Story
"Now you too can GUESS THE VERB for fun and prizes! Read evocative and amusing room descriptions while manipulating interesting objects! Interact with the simulated motives and desires of quirky NPCs! No thesaurus required!" [--blurb from Competition Aught-Zero]
11th Place - 6th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2000)
Several mini-games in one--there's a device that transports you into various scenes--and also several mini-parodies in one, since most of the scenes poke fun at one genre or another. As a game, there's not a lot there; most of the puzzles are pretty easy, and it's possible to get through the game without seeing all of the scenes. But the humor makes this work--there are loads of funny responses, and even the instructions are hilarious. Not a perfect effort, but as a satirical take on IF, it works.
-- Duncan Stevens
>INVENTORY - Paul O'Brian writes about interactive fiction
Here's a sentence I never thought I'd write: Guess the Verb is fun. In fact, I'll go even better than that: Guess the Verb is great! I was quite worried when I saw the game's title, fearing that I faced another Annoyotron, or at best a riff on the Textfire game Verb!. What I got instead was a highly enjoyable comp game that I'm eagerly looking forward to revisiting after the judging period is over. What a bargain! For one thing, the game is just screamingly funny. In fact, even the meta-game materials are hilarious. Not two minutes after loading up GTV I was giggling like a loon. My wife walked past and asked, "Good game?" "I haven't even started the game yet!" I replied. "I'm just reading the instructions!"
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Despite the problems I had with the puzzles and the walkthrough, I did find this an interesting diversion. I think it might be interesting to see some expansion on this game, some more involved scenarios, in a post-comp release that didn't have to fit a 2-hour limit, but even as is the game is worth a look; if nothing else, if you don't get a scenario you like, restoring to right before you choose is easy enough.
-- Tina Sikorski
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I laughed out loud at several parts of this game. The author's spoof "Introduction to IF Concepts" is particularly silly, and shows that this game is not for newcomers to IF at all. The intended audience is anyone who spends a lot of time playing and writing Inform programs and programming in general. Someone like the author, most likely. At one point, one NPC remarks accurately that the game might be getting a little too self-referential, which may limit its potential as a Work of Art, but does gives scope for a lot of knowing in-jokes. To be fair, there is also plenty of other humour spoofing funfairs, parenting, B-movies and so on.
-- Cedric Knight
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|Average Rating: |
Number of Reviews: 4
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Leonard Richardson's writing in this work is the most consistently funny piece of interactive fiction I've encountered. He has a flair for doling out expert satire using a tongue-in-cheek style that somehow never lets you know the joke is coming before you've already started laughing.
The game's concept was inspired by the eponymous "guess the verb" problem found in many poor-quality games, but you won't encounter that problem yourself, since the unusual verbs required are deliberately spelled out for you. Your not-too-difficult job is to find when to use them.
I simply can't understand how this game scored just 11th place in the 2000 IF Comp. Only two possibilities come to mind:
First, players might not have caught onto the central puzzle of how the verb-guessing booth's attendant can be fooled. Without this, the game would have never gone anywhere or ended very quickly. The real comedy starts after you've figured this out.
Second, players might have panned the game because it is not a traditional piece of IF; there is not a central well-defined story. Rather, this piece is more of a playground for both author and player, stuffed to the gills with hilarious riffs on both famous works and IF in general. Every "examine", "show", or "ask" is an opportunity for Mr. Richardson to make you chuckle yet again.
Either way, this ranking was a grave mistake -- Guess the Verb! is a gem and a must-play in my book. I am tempted to give it 5 stars, but I am holding onto that "perfect" score for the future piece from this author that will surely earn them.
Some smart-aleck was eventually going to riff on the IF trope in the title name, and I'm glad it was someone clever. GtV isn't a long game--the central joke would grow old--and it's not tough, but you can extend the experience by examining everything and rifling through hints of problems you've solved. I haven't seen anything this odd that actually worked in text adventures since _Nord and Bert_.
As an 11-year-old lost at a fair, you find a robot named Lalrry who will let you Guess the Verb for a shiny quarter. You have a dull one, and there's a useless quarter-shining machine nearby. Cue the twisted meta-humor to manipulate the genuinely creepy, though harmless, Lalrry. Each verb you guess sends you to a scenarios featuring an evil wizard, a mad scientist, a dwarf, a spaceship and the author himself, in a particularly metafictional computer lab. The last one actually works.
You're not really guessing the verb in these. You just need to find where to use it. You even help some poor souls who can't quite guess their own verbs or solve a puzzle while your nemeses guess theirs.
Given how small the areas are, the puzzles can only have so many solutions, so there's a ceiling to trial and error, unlike true verb-guessing. Still, GtV's effortless surrealism makes the game feel much bigger than its solution, and it may help you laugh off stress in the next game that requires actual verb-guessing.
What more can you ask for in a game but robots, scientists and evil wizards combined into a single game? Very little. The name of the game "guess the verb" was very unappealing to me, and likely the reason I kept putting this game off. It sounded like some of the games which are so poorly developed that you have to enter "scale cliff" instead of "climb cliff". Or it looked like those horrifying high school tests asking you to come up with as many similar verbs as possible. Anyhow though, due to some of the good reviews, I decided I'd give the game a shot-a long shot.
Well it wasn't at all like the scenarios above, and in fact I found it had very little to do with guessing verbs at all, or really for that matter carnivals. It was one of those things which have very little plot or story direction, but somehow I didn't question the writing or the time I spent playing it. It was well worth it. There wasn't really time to get bored with the story, as the story twisted and turned surprisingly quickly. That mixed with the witty dialogue made the experience one of a kind. The humorous prose was well maintained throughout the story, and i certainly chuckled to myself several times, even in the help files. (Spoiler - click to show) the bit about the needing the manual to progressing the game (mad scientist) was especially funny
Humor is for sure the prize of the piece, not really focusing on the puzzles at all. Take it from me, the king of failing at puzzles, they were fairly elementary, generally only dealing with one or two simple tasks to finish. No confusing maps, crazy objectives or anything.
What I find really compelling to this game is how it is fun and enjoyable. Perhaps a starter game for beginners because of the easy puzzles, but also fun for the seasoned professional, who would get more of the IF jokes. Recommend it? I'd go even a little further than recommend it.
It lacks story, characters and difficulty but somehow it works. Bring on the stuffed aliens.
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