Ratings & Reviews of the 2007 Interactive Fiction Competition

The Ratings

Game Technical Puzzles Story Overall
Game T P S
Lost Pig 10 9 10 10
Lord Bellwater’s Secret 10 8 8 9
The Chinese Room 7 10 6 8
Jealousy Duel X 7 5 8 7
Orevore Courier 8 5 7 7
Varkana 7 7 6 7
A Fine Day for Reaping 2 8 9 6
Slap that Fish 7 8 3 6
Packrat 1 7 9 6
Fox, Fowl and Feed 7 7 2 5
My Name is Jack Mills 5 3 8 5
In The Mind Of The Master 2 4 7 4
Wish 5 2 5 4
Beneath: a Transformation 2 5 4 4
Ferrous Ring 3 2 5 3
Eduard the Seminarist 4 2 4 3
The Immortal 3 2 2 2
Press [Escape] to Save 1 1 2 1
Across The Stars 0 0 0 0
A Matter of Importance 0 0 0 0
My Mind’s Mishmash 0 0 0 0
Deadline Enchanter 0 0 0 0
Reconciling Mother 0 0 0 0
An Act of Murder 0 0 0 0

Got a really late start on the reviews this year, and only finished three-quarters of them. Sigh.

The Chinese Room

Technical: 7
Puzzles: 10
Story: 6

Aside: In college, I was forced to take a philosophy class to fulfil the breadth requirement of my major. Unfortunately, because I waited too long to take the class, I was forced into taking “The Philosophy of the Mind” with John Searle, arch-nemesis of high-AI (and pretty much all of computing).

Searle’s anti-AI argument centered around a Gedankenexperiment called “The Chinese Room,” in which an automaton responded to external stimuli deterministically without comprehending the semantics of the stimuli. Having received a rather poor grade in the class, the phrase Chinese Room leaves a distinct ascerbity in my mouth.

(Searle was also indirectly responsible for raising my rent, so that’s two I owe him.)

I have the distinct concern that this “game” will implement that experiment, as the authors are philosophy students. End Aside

Worst fear realized: it’s the Searle argument. Possible chance for redemption: the game is declared as an “adventure into the green valleys of silliness.”

String is not a recognized noun.

Huh. The authors gave the same argument about the uselessness of the Chinese Room argument that I gave Searle’s twit of a teaching assistant: that, while you can argue that the RoomSystem does not comprehend Chinese, you cannot use the same argument to deduce that the SearleSystem comprehends English.

Gah, I hate philosophy!

Heh, heh:

[…] you begin to hear a slow whirring growling sound coming up through the floor. You presume it is John Searle turning in his grave.

Hm, scarecrow.

Joy, it’s Zeno, as expected. Anyone up for a rousing run of Beyond Zork?

The limit of a 16-bit virtual machine rears its head.

Fun, I guessed a moral philosophy for the maze. Now how do I use it?

What did Ray Cummings say about time? “Time is what keeps everything from happening at once.”

More joy, the Slippery Slope fallacy.

This game has much in common with the lateral thinking puzzles of Nord and Burt.

And… I’m out of time. A game of this size, plus the decoupling from “traditional” adventure game structure, obviously makes it impossible to finish in any reasonable amount of time; however, it’s not the kind of storyline that leaves me angry for not reaching the conclusion. I could have run though the walkthrough, but decided against it; I might come back to it some day.

Beneath: a Transformation

Technical: 2
Puzzles: 5
Story: 4

ASCII art splash page… well, there’s no accounting for taste.

Too, many, commas. (A sin in which I will admit indulging, but still a sin.)

Worms of the Earth? Oh no, not another Howard-inspired game! I still haven’t recovered from The Tower of The Elephant.

The command Ask pet shop owner about box returns a canned response.

Cost is a perfectly good synonym for expense, thank you very much.

Hit the hundred move mark without having a clue what my goal is.

Ho hum, collecting arbitrary crap in case I need it.

This year’s Matt Barringer Memorial Persistent Object Award goes to… the bill that remains on the wall even after I take it!

BUG: Every time I enter the pet shop, I regain the owl.

Hey, bang-you’re-dead puzzles went out with the Scott Adams era! I call police brutality!

Gah, OK, walkthrough time. I can’t command the dog, so I need to find the exact syntax required.

Events keep repeating; flags or fuses should be used to manage that.

Gah, far too time-sensitive for my taste; and the interpreter I used did not support multiple undo commands so I ended up restoring far too often. I suspect I would need to be more familar with Howard’s short story to appreciate the plot, but for me the game had too many find-x-use-x puzzles. That, coupled with the numerous bugs, made the play tedious.


Technical: 5
Puzzles: 2
Story: 5

I’m not very fond of games that dictate a character. “You are blah…” is probably my least favorite opening line. The player character does not need to be described in minute details at the opening. It brings to mind adverb-laden prepubescent choose-your-own-adventure novels, not to mention bad porn.

The author’s name sounds familiar, but I don’t see it in any of my past notes.

Hm, feels like a dream sequence. Well, at least it isn’t Dadaist psychobabble.

Hm, “yourself” is in scope for get all. A possible bug.

Slight inconsistency in directions at the tunnel entrance (…leads down. Light streams from within / The light streams from the north).

“Slot” is a perfectly good synonym for “slit.” (Better, in my opinion.)

So, wait. Am I dreaming, or what? The cut-scene implied that I awoke, but now I’ve returned to the dreamscape.

This is a very linear storyline.

I just noticed that the cut-scenes are in third-person, but the game proper is in second-person. I hope that’s intentional, and has a good reason to be.

Dun-dun-DUN! Tragedy strikes. Completely unexpected except for the rampant foreshadowing.

Um, at the moment I am not invisible, the gel having been washed off by my swim. This is a bug.

Oh, it’s over? That was… fast.

A pleasant, if uninspiring, diversion; but far too linear for this medium. There were only two obstacles, and both were of the find-x-use-x variety. The subject matter was shallow, and far too cloying for my taste; but it might appeal to young girls. Not being a young girl, I felt shoehorned into the player character and hence the low story score.

Jealousy Duel X

Technical: 7
Puzzles: 5
Story: 8

Bestill my heart… a genuine Flash game! Is there no end to the insidiousness of Macromedia Adobe?

It’s a good thing my machine can run executables from last century, or I may have missed this misogynistic masterpiece.

I have an urge to dredge up some old HyperCard stacks…

Hit points? What the hell are HIT POINTS in a hentai dating simulator?

The personal ads are entertaining on a thoroughly puerile level, which of course is the author’s intent. Damn reptile brain, stop hijacking my neocortex!

Lovely… a click-based game and a maze. Two lousy tastes that are worse together.

The maze is tiny, thank goodness.

Oh, good. I actually died from a psycho stalker. I was afraid I would be stuck in this purgatory forever…

The inability to save is the most annoying feature of this game — I’m loathe to experiment when I'm farther along as I’d have to redo everything.

Running out of time, but found the walkthrough online…

A fun romp, but does it really belong in the comp? Hell, yes! I’m going to go all avant garde here and argue that the medium isn’t important, but the content and intent is. Structurally, it is a farce: it had a deliberate and outrageous plot. There were a wide variety of options and a few possibilities for the player to force himself into an unwinnable situation. Granted, the puzzles were a bit weak, but logical and consistent within the tone of the story; I originally expected a loose collection of unrelated puzzles like most Flash games and was pleasantly surprised. Compared to some of the pompous, pseudo-literati submissions of years past, this was a breath of fresh air.

I expect that this game’s rating distribution will be U-shaped: either it will be loved or hated.

Lord Bellwater’s Secret

Technical: 10
Puzzles: 8
Story: 8

Yet another game that pressures me into a predestined persona. Well, at least the author is using the Queen’s preferred form for the past tense of “sneak.”

In many ways the introduction is not only superfluous but downright aggravating. Rather than setting up expections or establishing mood, it simply sets a few vague goals: the player is supposed to do something — something dangerous and possibly illegal — but is not told what. To me, this suggests either the author was lazy or excised a foregame which established goals in context.

Ah, the goals are to be introduced via flashbacks. I partially withdraw my criticism of the introduction, only to replace it with a criticism of this tired technique. Typing in wait is only slightly more annoying than hitting the space bar to plow through reams of prose.

A gothic murder mystery! We haven’t had one of these for a while.

Huh. I wonder if all 1,000 books are implemented. Ten-to-one the author expected us to give up after twenty or so.

So, we have a wastrel heir here; not unexpected, as Anthony Trollope said that England was crawling with such vermin during those times.

Interesting: the game keeps internal state of my actions and notes my movement around the room accordingly. Expands the feel of the room without forcing the player to be explicit about which part of the room to be in. Nice touch.

OK, obviously the old man had serious issues about the abilities of his son. Deadline, anyone?

Heh, heh. “Wastrel.” It really is the only word you can use for that kind of flotsam.

Wow, just… wow. I once toyed with the idea of having a single location for an entire game, with two hundred objects in said room (a vase of daffodils, three paintings, a dozen books, dust bunnies, &c) but decided against it because it would be too boring. I’m sorry I didn’t try; but then, I may not have had the richness of this game.

Obviously, the author owes a lot to Deadline and its ilk; the collect-evidence-build-case structure was unmistakable, as was the end-game plot summary. I would have liked some form of score to reflect how much confidence I had on a successful outcome (e.g., You’ve proven James is a parvenu but you can’t prove he killed Elsie) but that wasn’t really necessary to track progress.

Lost Pig

Technical: 10
Puzzles: 9
Story: 10

A game written from the POV of a troglodyte. Interesting, but since troglodish usually replaces first-person with third-person, that means the entire game is essentially written in first-person, and you know my opinions on that.

Smell me is an interesting response. So is taste me.

The author has taken serious time to alter the boilerplate responses from the library, and I have completely forgiven him for writing in the quasi first-person.

This game is strongly reminiscent in tone to Bellclap, in that I feel more like I am directing Gronk's actions rather than being Gronk; unlike Bellclap, this works.

I am glad that the author chose not to implement conversation as a modal menu-driven maze. Even though the list of topics are supplied (which cuts down on guesswork, mind you), it seems more natural to have to supply the command structure. I think this meshes well with the mental model where I direct Gronk's actions rather than play his part.

Huh. I cannot ask the gnome about the opposite of green.

Finished without help with six points out of seven. Last lousy point! Time to hit the walkthrough and see what I've missed.

Ah, a moral LLP. OK, you can have that one.

An excellent competition entry. The puzzles were strong yet logical, and the story quite amusing. I was a bit distracted at the voice when I started, but by the end of the game the quasi first-person felt natural; it would be disconcerting to hear the disembodied narrator of traditional games say "you" in that context. The amount of work the author went to to make the library keep the illusion of the naïve Gronk was flawless.

Ferrous Ring

Technical: 3
Puzzles: 2
Story: 5

Ugh. Definitely do not like menumode. Menu-based interations (especially select-verb-select-noun interactions) are fine for graphical games; however, they are acceptable because they are graphical games. The two-column layout is disconcerting at best, especially since the content column is so wide (Spatterlight, MacOS X 10.3). Switching back to normal mode…

Turn on printer.

I’ll switch the printer on so I can get this photo printed off.

Turn off printer.

[That’s not switchable.]

This “good/bad” dichotomy is annoying. I realize it’s a relic from the pseudographical menu mode, but it is still annoying.

Painfully purple prose:

Stillness hangs in the echo of the hordes that sheltered here last night. The walls exude an indifferent iciness, and I feel my movements naturally slowed.

Riots in the UK?

Ah, some sort of global catastrophe, and not enough shelter to save everyone. Typical end-of-the-world scenario.

What exactly am I investigating? Somebody drops extra video on my tape and I have to scour a city about to drop into the tenth level of Hell for the sender? I’m sensing a lack of motivation here.

Man, this game could use a think about or remember command.

Gah, I cannot chain commands!

OK, it took forever but I solved the book problem, and it triggers a schizophrenic episode, like in Figgs and Phantoms.

Hey, I said to take the blue line and it shoved me on the purple line anyway, only to tell me that I needed to take the blue line! Should I just put the game on autopilot?

Autopilot it is, as I have so few options at any point in the storyline.

Finally we are told what U.E. stands for!

Uh, OK. A rather prosaic, highly-linear post-apocalypse story with some heavy-handed moralizing thrown in for good measure coupled with an unintuitive control system made for a rather painful ninety minutes. The author was concerned that trying to do so much experimentation in a single entry would be overwhelming; I agree.

Fox, Fowl and Feed

Technical: 7
Puzzles: 7
Story: 2

It’s pretty obvious from the title what the major puzzle of this game is going to be, and therein lies a problem.

We have someone who is either ignorant of the history of this puzzle with respect to Infocom (it was part of Zork Zero), or feels that they can do it "better." Trying to improve on a classic automatically biases the reviewer against the submission (as in the case of Hunt the Wumpus).

Yep, it’s a variation on a theme. The eponymous puzzle is there, but a few twists have been added to complicate the process.

BUG: If the rope is tied to the fox, and the fox is on the dock, you cannot pick up the fox from the rowboat even though the game engine says you did.

Gah, last step was nearly impossible. Finally had to resort to the hint system after a half-hour of random guessing.

Definitely a one-note game; and nothing fantastically special about the puzzle. Obviously, if someone had never encountered the puzzle before (I first heard about it as the wife-gigolo-mistress problem) the game may have been significantly different; as it was, this felt like a prologue to a much larger submission, rather than a submission itself.

Press [Escape] to Save

Technical: 1
Puzzles: 1
Story: 2

First submission, eh? I won’t be too cruel…

Kill Jimmy.

You don't want to attack him when he is asleep.

Yes, yes I do.

How can my prayers be answered if I wasn’t allowed to pray in the first place?

A guess-the-verb and a guess-the-noun puzzle in one:

Get hand.

You can't see any such thing.

Grab hand.

Like a timid child, you go over and cautiously you grab his hand…

Cute, but not as elegant as Trinity:

The space around you articulates. “No!” your mind shudders. “That's not a direction!”

“It's a perfectly legitimate direction,” retorts the voice with cold amusement. “Now come along.”

All I’m doing is typing wait. This is hardly interactive…

Oh, Mars. Should’ve recognized it…

Grr, too many grammatical errors (e.g., “What is important is that you should why you are here”) for my pedantic brain to tolerate. Removing sarcasm dampener.

First game with a Crichtonesque infodump!

This reads like a Star Trek fanfiction, complete with deus ex machina particles.

More bugs:

The person is waiting for you to speak.

Talk to person.

Select an option below.
Sorry, no topics available.


Your assuming, due to the toilet, the bathtub, and the sink with the drawer underneath…

Open drawer.

You can't see any such thing.

Major bug: Attempting to talk to the person after he wakes you kills the interpreter:

[** Programming error: tried to read from ->415 in the array "pQArray" which has entries 0 up to 414]

[** Programming error: tried to read from ->416 in the array "pQArray" which has entries 0 up to 414]

[** Programming error: tried to read from ->417 in the array "pQArray" which has entries 0 up to 414]

and so on until the interpreter dies…

I guess that’s the final straw — too many programming errors, too many grammatical errors, and too many cheese points in the plot. There were no puzzles to speak of, aside from knowing when to sit silently and when to talk. This submission was in serious need of playtesting, both to capture the runtime errors and to offer the author feedback on the weakness of the story.

My Name is Jack Mills

Technical: 5
Puzzles: 3
Story: 8

Richard M. Stallman would be proud…

Mmmm… interactive pulp.

Well, we’ve got who, what, when, and how. But where?

Ah, ask the same question multiple times. Well, I suppose… but increasing the game vocabulary might have been a better solution.

Aha! Verb trouble:

Get on container.

You can do whatever you need from outside the waste container. You don’t want to reek of trash the rest of the day, do you?

Climb on container.

You get onto the metal lid.

No, you’re just the friggin’ receptionist:

Ask receptionist about room 405.

The receptionist ponders for a while, then shakes his head. “I’m sorry, sir, but I can’t help you with that.”

Uh, that’s it? Thirty minutes from beginning to successful end. Well, I can’t accuse it of being too long for a comp entry, nor can I say any of the puzzles were ludicrously difficult. Still, one wants more of a challenge out of a game. The mood was right but the plot too linear, too leading. Everything I needed was dropped in my lap.

Orevore Courier

Technical: 8
Puzzles: 5
Story: 7

Nice feelies…

Now that’s an introduction! No dictation of character, no superfluous description; just establish the setting by describing what the character finds most important at the time, and in doing so, establish the mood of the story: humorous space opera. All done in a single paragraph. Oh, I swoon…

Brian Rapp, Brian Rapp… oh, right. Let’s hope this is more traditional and less experimental.

OK, I am on my fifth restore…

Tenth restore…

Fifteenth restore!

Gah, finally. This was very reminiscent of last year’s Möbius in that a number of actions had to be performed in the correct order within a very narrow window of time. Given that the number of possible actions were limited to button-pressing, there was less problem solving and more exhaustive experimentation required to reach the satisfactory ending.


Technical: 1
Puzzles: 7
Story: 9

All right, here we go. The first true sword-and-sorcery epic for this year’s comp. And what an epic: a fairytale princess, a dire deadline, and a morally questionable hero.

Open pack.

You open the battered pack, revealing a faux brass lantern, a doorknob collection, a trusty rope, a discarded sleeve and a blanket.

Examine doorknob.

You can't see any such thing.

Heh. Enjoyed walking off of the side of the bridge. Very reminiscent of the engine room in HHGTG except this case was obviously going to be fatal.

Scenery objects would be good in handling these cases:

Climb rubble.

You try to scale the mountain, but slip and nearly impale yourself on a broken flagpole.

Get flagpole.

You can't see any such thing.

There seems to be a number of rooms that exist solely to enlarge the map. Normally, I wouldn’t have a problem with that, but in a competition entry, such red herrings are inappropriate.

The keyring was a nice trick: spent too much time trying to figure out what to do, when the direct approach worked best.

Get in chest.

I don't think it's wise to enter a chest that's not empty.

Look in chest.

The oversized teak chest is empty.

Examine chest.

The teak chest in the teal room overflows with a glittering pile of pantaloons.

You are something of a pantaloon conossieur, and your heart beats faster at the prospect of pawing through a pile of pantaloons unobserved. Unfortunately, the same thought seems to have occurred to the guard, and he sleeps with both fists buried in slightly outdated seawear.

I find your lack of synonyms disturbing. Also, it’s “bejeweled.”

Open door.

Which do you mean, the western door or the bejewelled door?


You can't see any such thing.

I find your lack of gender disturbing.

Examine boy.

The poor lad must have just opened the great window when he pitched forward onto the stone sill in this cursed slumber. Twenty years of snow and rain have fallen on his shivering body.

Pull boy.

It is fixed in place.

OK, been fighting this for an hour. Made some progress, but obviously not enough. Did I miss something at the beginning?

Duh. Duh. Here I go wallowing in the charm of the drawbridge, never thinking that the same logic could apply to other things.

Whoops, unexpected hint:

Get in chest.

I know you're very excited about using the chest as a boat, and I don't want to minimize your accomplishment. However, I must point out that a teak chest is not exactly a seagoing freighter. If you're going to do this, may I recommend that you travel light?


Get out.

At last you reach the southern wall again. As you round the corner, you see a small landing carved into the stone.



Yep, that’s a definite bug. You can leave the chest “safely” any place along the moat.

“A sea of violated vellum.” How poetic…

Bug: The chest, while still floating, returns to the Guest Room.


Tie rope to me.

[** Programming error: tried to "move" yourself to yourself, which would make a loop: yourself in yourself **]

Why would you want to tie your rope to yourself?

OK, following the walkthrough verbatim

Funny story, very well-written. The puzzles were generally good, and fit the theme of the story well; however, the implementation left a lot to be desired. Perhaps it was too ambitious for a neophyte IF author, perhaps the author just needed more playtesters. Some of the obvious glitches should have been caught by early testers, if not in beta. I think the author just cannot escape the deviate-from-the-plot-and-die style of IF writing (cf. Manalive).

In The Mind Of The Master

Technical: 2
Puzzles: 4
Story: 7

Like death and taxes, the two things you can expect from every IF Competition are Santoonie and David Whyld.

The goal is to find out the goal. Well, I’m game…

Changing identities? Sounds like a mystic version of Suspended.

Um, bad formatting with this interpreter (Spatterlight). Let’s try MacScare… nope, Adrift still has that charset problem.

“a Apartment.” A Apartment? Get Grammar Girl on the hotline, stat!

…and arch-nemesis of The Doctor, I suppose.

Remember I was bothered with the first/third-person in Lost Pig? This pompous royal third-person trumps that easily. It’s like something out of a Seinfeld episode.

Ah, Adrift; I almost came to miss your simplemindedness:

Examine coffee.

Player sees no such thing.

Automatically switching disguises seems like a lost opportunity for a puzzle.

If I’m a master thief, how come I cannot pick a simple lock?

Whoops… identity crisis:


The thief decided a further attempt to gain access to the club was a waste of time. The bouncers were never going to let a simple postal worker inside.

Gah, a random death trap? Didn’t those die out with feathered hair?

I think I’m in a no-win situation…

Well, that was interesting. Like Whyld’s previous games, strong emphasis on the supernatural, with an equally strong choose-your-own-adventure flavor. The characters were not fleshed out; it was obvious that the author had detailed backgrounds for them in his mind, but failed to share that information with the player. In the end, the lack of resolution was quite unsatisfying.

Slap that Fish

Technical: 7
Puzzles: 8
Story: 3

Gah, I hate hypermedia…

OK, the player is either delusional or this is a silly Dadaist advenure.

It’s Dadaist… or I’m missing something obvious.

This is getting monotonous.

OK, so the first set was just to get me cocky, make me think all fish can be defeated in the same way. I should go back and try to optimize my score.

Damn shark… time for the walkthrough.


[TADS-1010: object value required] You try to meditate, and clear your mind, but

Not a bad little diversion, not bad at all. Not much of a storyline, and the opening almost made me abandon the game early, but the later puzzles made up for it. The limited map and even more limited inventory made alternate solutions difficult, especially in the case of the shark and the eel, but that is what the author intended.

A Fine Day for Reaping

Technical: 2
Puzzles: 8
Story: 9

Well, somebody has to play death, and since Dawn French isn’t available…

Hone scythe.

I don’t understand what you want me to do with the Grim Reaper’s Scythe.

Gah, too too much text.

I don’t even know where to start in describing how wrong this is:

Press first floor

You press, but nothing happens.

Examine buttons

You can use the buttons by typing 0, 1, 2 or 3. 0 to go to the hotel lobby, 1 or 2 to go to the appropriate floor and 3 to leave the lift at the current floor.

I can’t leave the lift! Interpreter bug?

Gah, I hate hate hate Adrift! Stupid parser…

Examine stool

You look suspiciously at the uneven, wooden stool that Jiniyu intends you to sit on. It looks like a sure way to get cramp in your back muscles.

Sit on stool

That’s not something you can sit on.

Another Barringeresque paradox:

Jimiyu Wangai sits on a rickety wicker chair, facing a squat, uncomfortable-looking stool. Between the two seats is a frail table, on which sits a chess board.

Jimiyu Wangai’s empty body is lying on the ground.

Bah, there are too many technical problems for me to continue, which is a shame because the premise and the writing were excellent. It’s a pity the author didn’t include a true walkthrough as the elevator turned out to be a guess-the-verb puzzle that I couldn’t solve.


Technical: 7
Puzzles: 7
Story: 6

Hm, a README.TXT file with useful information; namely workarounds for last-minute bugs.

Gah, it’s multimedia. Is this really necessary?

Prologue: that the bad guys are in town is virtually assured (short game if they aren't).

Huh, periods at the ends of questions screw up the parser.

Gah, a conversation-driven game. These are the worst, as everything you need is not in scope but must be guessed.

All right, I am either going to kill Ardavaan by the end of the game, or marry him. It’s that kind of a story.

Something odd is happening with the interpreter… it’s slowing to a standstill. Too much text, perhaps?

Running out of time, proceeding to the walkthrough.

Oh no, sudden perspective change… very familiar. Reminiscent of the endgame of Off the Trolley and equally bothersome.

Gah, massive endgame infodump!

A rather linear storyline, with a deep Emily-Shortesque mythology that has to be painfully extracted one conversation at a time. The endgame infodump didn’t really resolve the lingering questions, nor did it explain the change in personality of Nivanan.

Eduard the Seminarist

Technical: 4
Puzzles: 2
Story: 4

Another religious-themed submission? Will this be Vespers or The Bible Retold?

Scardanelli? Name sounds familiar…

Broken mimesis alert:

Examine book.

It is a German book about a "Pfarrer und Poet". Reading it would give away too much of this game.

My German’s rusty, so I can’t cheat do background research via Google.

I can’t take the lamp but I can take the candle? Odd.

“X and Y” are not good names for NPCs.

Stupid light source puzzle…

Aha! Preposition trouble:

Throw rope out window.

I only understood you as far as wanting to throw the rope.

Throw rope out of window.



Climb rope.

The rope is hanging out of the window; do you want to grab it and climb out?


That was a rhetorical question.

Once you’ve started on the rope, you’re committed to going down; you cannot return to your room.

There is no indication in the room description that there are other beds in the room; and less who has which bed.

The verb punt should have been implemented. (In more ways than one.)

Gah, there are way too many irreversable actions in this game. (PBoR #5: Not to have the game closed off without warning.)

Things that appear after actions are performed should be given some indication of their arrival.

The tree… it’s a trap!

Why can’t I automatically drop the damn pole?

Forget it… walkthrough time.

Examine Scardanelli.

You see nothing special about Scardanelli.

Wow, what an ending, what a spectacular, unexpected ending. I mean, the space monkeys and epic laser battles and… ach, I’ve got nothing. All this for a poetry reading, sheesh.

The Immortal

Technical: 3
Puzzles: 2
Story: 2

In the immortal words of Johnny Cochrane: If the intro’s verbose, the player’s morose.

If I’m wearing a helmet, why would I have to protect my eyes and mouth?

Should the song be part of the room description? It’s not really Barringeresque, but it’s close.

What’s the use of a sword if I cannot use it? (Yeah, I know, I know…)

It’s not so much an afterlife, more a sort of après vie.

Oh, good grief. Another “find your true identity” game?

This is either an homage to Douglas Adams or a poor parody. Not sure which.

BUG: No matter where I am, if I examine the bag then the hobgoblins wake up and kill me. I think the bag was supposed to be a static object.

So, was I shot or did I commit suicide? Inquiring minds want to know!

OK, there was no warning about the ice. None whatsoever. Not fair at all.

Oh, cute. I guess I’m a god. Can I be the God of Coffee? Seeing that there are no objections, I will assume that I’m the God of Coffee.

So I’m buddies with Death? Well, people tell me my coffee habit will kill me. *rimshot*

Running out of time, going to walkthrough…

Which does not work.

Damn, I’m Death, not Coffee.

Or I’m not. Makes no sense, not anymore. Nothing really made sense; a lot of abstract imagery buried in reams of prose, hiding everything that I needed to know. The walkthrough was both useful and useless; I didn’t understand the reasons for my actions, or why the sudden deaths would occur if I deviated from the path.

Across The Stars

Technical: 0
Puzzles: 0
Story: 0

All the reviews from this point were done post-competition. Unfortunately, I got a late start this year.

A Matter of Importance

Technical: 0
Puzzles: 0
Story: 0

My Mind’s Mishmash

Technical: 0
Puzzles: 0
Story: 0

Deadline Enchanter

Technical: 0
Puzzles: 0
Story: 0

Reconciling Mother

Technical: 0
Puzzles: 0
Story: 0

An Act of Murder

Technical: 0
Puzzles: 0
Story: 0