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The Tempest

by Graham Nelson and William Shakespeare


About the Story

You play Ariel in William Shakespeare's comedy The Tempest. The text and descriptions are lifted from the original works, i. e. in old English.
[--blurb from The Z-Files Catalogue]

Game Details

Language: English (en)
Current Version: Release 3
License: Freeware
Development System: Inform 6
Baf's Guide ID: 316
IFID: ZCODE-3-970929-CAE2
TUID: rvttymjuxw86pjap

Off-Site Reviews

>VERBOSE -- Paul O'Brian's Interactive Fiction Page

The Tempest attempts a great deal, and achieves much of it despite being somewhat flawed. The work presents itself not as a game, but as an "interactive performance" which asks the player to perform as the magical will of Shakespeare's Prospero, guiding the spirit Ariel (a.k.a. the parser) through the plot of The Tempest (the play), though not necessarily in the order in which Shakespeare wrote it. Remarkably, this complicated positioning of subjectivity works quite well (and opens some unexplored territory for the mixing of first, second, and third person forms of address in IF). It is blended with a new approach to dialogue which prevents the player character from speaking at all but presents many screenfuls of dialogue between other characters (and sometimes including Ariel himself), the exchanges broken up by pausing for keystrokes between each character's lines. In a sense, the player's commands to the parser become essentially stage directions issued to an onstage persona via a magical conduit. This idiom also works beautifully, bestowing the game with a powerful aura of theatrical performance. The Tempest is entertaining and innovative; it often feels quite magical to inhabit the Prospero/Ariel connection, and to take part in a groundbreaking interactive experience. I think that the game also has great potential as an educational tool, allowing readers to experience Shakespeare's language in a new and thrilling way.
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Nelson takes considerable care to make this a performance of the play, not an innovation on it. Most obviously, you are prevented from speaking your own words -- you cannot ASK a character about anything -- though Ariel will speak lines at the appropriate time, independently of you. [...] The desire to avoid dialogue that isn't Shakespeare's is understandable, but it shouldn't override the necessity that a player understand what's going on.

-- Duncan Stevens
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Unfortunately I became irrevocably bogged down right near the beginning of the game, unable to do anything more than flit around between 3 locations, and get the same long speech from Ariel repeated over and over again with each attempt to do something in the game. I'm not sure exactly how progress can be achieved, as apart from mentioning that as Ariel you can "make music" at some stage in the game, there seems to be astonishingly little that you / Ariel *can* do.

-- Bev Truter
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Page Update History

v.5: 22-Mar-2013 16:25 - Paul O'Brian (Current Version) - Edit Page - Normal View
Changed external review links
  v.4: 22-Mar-2013 16:25 - Edward Lacey
Changed external review links
v.3: 15-May-2008 11:29 - Paul O'Brian
Changed external review links
v.2: 11-Mar-2008 22:58 - David Welbourn
Changed description
v.1: 16-Oct-2007 01:49 - IFDB
Created page