Operate!

The Textfire, Inc. prank is by now legendary (well, to those who know about it), but I downloaded the demo pack without this knowledge.

Operate! is one of the games in this demo pack, based on the game (well, that one where you have to take bones out of people).

From the first examination of the equipment it is evident that this game does not take itself seriously. The instrument tray is a gift from an insurance company, while the bone vat depicts bloodletting and assassinations. How charming.

The game is very short, taking about ten minutes to complete, but entertaining.

Valkyrie

written by Emily Forand.

I played this because 1. was bored and 2. it was on Emily Short’s blog.

Language: Writing lacked finesse, felt like it was written in a hurry and everything felt disjointed. Which is a pity, really!

Plot: The first scene described three funeral scenes, each with the same person in the background. Then there was a puzzling choice of what you wanted to be: mistress thief, wizardess or swordswomen (many women, not just one?!).

Mechanics: Twine is actually quite a fun software to play around with. It’s quite no-frills, but allows those who are not gifted in any way in programming (like me) to create a playable story. No infinite loop bugs here, but nothing remarkable either.

A Dark and Stormy Entry

A Dark and Stormy Entry

I didn’t realise this was by Emily Short! But it is. Though the copyright is to Lord Lobur-Bytton.

It’s an IF about writer’s block (like loads of others [like Violet]), but what makes it slightly different is that it is written rather in a CYOA (Choose Your Own Adventure) style. One doesn’t input commands, one inputs choices. There are several endings for about 3-4 choices, making it a very, very short game, but entertaining nonetheless.

Ecdysis

Ecdysis

written by Peter Nepstad.

Ecdysis: the process of shedding off the old skin (in reptiles) or casting off the outer cuticle (in insects and other arthropods)

Ecdysis is a relatively short IF based on entry 221 (!) of H.P. Lovecraft’s (him again!) Commonplace book, where he ‘wrote down fragments, plot ideas and scenario outlines’. 

It is not particularly evocative. It contains no puzzle and very little plot. The greatest value in playing it is the alarming ending. And, of course, the rather disturbing descriptions. (“You scratch the back of your head. It feels swollen and soft and you scratch so furiously that it begins to bleed.”) 

(explanation of the Commonplace Book from the .txt file which comes with the download) 

Walker and Silhouette

Hang on while I keep my feelings back in its little bottle… (oh gosh Endling)

Anyway. Cheerful, slightly silly, fun IF to chase the blues away!

“It kind of makes me angry,” I say.

Ivy looks at me strangely. “You have a very sedate angry face, but what does?”

You are Nathaniel Walker, police detective, and you’re outside the Mindflower Asylum for the Criminally Insane so you can pick up hardened criminal Ivy Blissheart (what a name).

Short and sweet, this game consists mainly of about 4 or 5 puzzles, all relatively easily solved. The details are cheeky and fun, though. The keyword system (similar to Blue Lacuna) gets a little messy in some parts, because of all the things to see and talk about, but overall I enjoyed playing this game. The switches in perspective were not confusing at all because of the distinct changes in voice.

Good writing, straightforward puzzles and useful hints. Enjoyable,  indeed!

Endling

The time and data storage are limited. I cannot leave you comprehensive records of everything destroyed by time. Instead, I have tried to open your eyes to the gravity of what you have lost, so you can build great new things to lose.

Exams are largely over. I am catching up with unplayed IF and what a pleasure it is.

This is from Endling by Kazuki Mishima.

At first it seems like it doesn’t work. “Load configuration file?” Well, okay, once I figured out how to start a game, it seemed like a database of little factoids, seemingly unrelated to each other. Then there were the notes by the author… And the line between what was really from the author and what was from the narrator blurred.

Even though there is no story in the traditional sense of the word, even though it basically is a bunch of factoids, it was still oddly moving.