Design and documentation journal for my interactive fiction (text games); also reviews and other miscellaneous stuff.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

IF Comp 2010: The People's Glorious Revolutionary Text Adventure Game

So I'm not really feeling like playing much these days.  I can marathon other games, even crummy games, but IF seems to take more application.  I will try my best not to take out this ambivalence on the game itself, but it's probably worth noting that I'm feeling a little impatient.  I want something juicy. 

The People's Glorious Revolutionary Text Adventure Game needs a better acronym.  TPGRTAG is not awesome. But it's available online - yay! - which is a plus. 

--  The People's Glorious Revolutionary Text Adventure Game --

 If I were wearing a fur hat, and it started to itch, I would start worrying about fleas.  In fact, I'm sort of scratching reflexively.  Because fur itself is usually all soft - it's only the parasites that are itchy. With the current explosion in bedbug populations, I'd be wary of wearing anything those things could be hiding in. 

Bonus points for nice list formatting, balanced by negative points for random uncapitalization.  Dear Authors, I know how difficult it is to get these things right.  In fact, by dint of Murphy's law there will be at least three horrendous eye-gouging mistakes in this paragraph.  But please, for the love of Marx, Lenin, and Snowball, check your text for misspellings, grammar errors, and formatting questionabilities.  Please?

That said, I've attended communist parties, and I can tell you the supplies you need: as much cheap vodka as two college-age students of able body can carry, plus enough punch to make it drinkable, and a DVD of The Smartest Guys in the Room.  And Twister, because nothing cheers up drunken revolutionaries like Twister.

Whenever I enter a command, I get a subliminal message from the game, but I can't tell what it is.  Something about "thanks to" and "Glorious".  Probably nothing, but it's kind of distracting.  I didn't notice this on any of the other online games.  Also "enter" from the help menu does nothing, which is bizarre and makes me wonder if the capatalist infrastructure is already broken.

Aww, no custom response for >WAVE FLAG?  :( 

Also, >TALK TO SEMENOV is not understood?  :((

Wait, I'm sorry, I seriously have to type out >ASK SEMENOV ABOUT DEVICE every single interaction?  Have mercy.

"The J. Edgar Hoover High School is the premier capitalist youth brainwashing facility in Freedonia."

One day I will found a school, and that will be in my brochure.  

""Trying to supply copies of the Communist Manifesto to the students in the classroom outside this closet," Rosalia says." 

Look, I know how this happens, because I've done it myself.  On the other hand, it's the sort of thing you notice if you test your stuff immediately.  And the spacing is strange.

>x beard
You can't see any such thing. That's exactly the problem.
I laughed.

I wish stuff got added to your list as you found out about it.  Now I have to remember stuff when I have a to-do list.  Sure, it's not a lot of stuff, but that's why I have a to-do list, right?

>x flag
This flag is the hateful symbol of the largest capitalistic nation in the world!

>burn flag
That would be unpatriotic.
Okay, then.

I don't know, I feel like the game is trying too hard to make me laugh, and not hard enough to respond to stuff.  I was in the middle of trying to destroy the government bathrooms when the display went weird - all I got were copies of the line at the bottom, the portion of the acknowledgements just below the game screen ("s Revolutionary Text Adventure Game is brought to you thanks to the Interactive Fiction Competition and p"). 

Save and restart didn't help, and I'm not feeling invested enough to keep going.  I think I saw enough.  It was cute, and I enjoyed playing it.  It's a little long for what is essentially a one-note joke game - by the end, I was tired of everything being a one-liner, and ready to be done.  But it's cute, and I suspect a better puzzle-solver might have been able to finish it before irritation set in.  I wish it tried a little less hard - as it stands, the game is an endless string of one-liners, and after a while, that wears thin.

Still, it's much better than I expected, given the opening.  I enjoyed it, despite my grumbling, and I think it's the most salveagable game I've played all comp.  That sounds like damning with faint praise, but it's really not meant to be.  Polish a bit, fix the spacing, figure out whatever technical issue is going on, tune the characters so they're a little less like those dolls that will say one of six things when you push its buttons, and I think it would be a great game.  Not a revolutionary game (hurr), but fun and quick and amusing.

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