IFComp 2015: Grandma Bethlinda’s Variety Box

by Arthur DiBianca. (Parser-based; play here)

This game is an exploration game, where the terrain you explore is not spatial, but rather comes in the form of a toy. You’re supposed to interact with the toy, and there’s a dedicated command for that, presumably to spare the player the ‘guess the verb’ puzzle. In fact, the verb list in this game is very limited, which I suppose is the point, to get the player focusing on the box. That’s a new thing, and in this game I guess was handy.

For some parts of the game, I felt like I was zooming in to one tiny portion of the box and didn’t have peripheral vision – having to type commands separately sometimes gets tedious. 

But the problem is that the box and its components feels generic. As a player, my motivation for interacting with an object in-game is usually to solve a puzzle to continue the story, and I must be invested in the story. But Grandma has little to entice the player into spending time to poke buttons and turn knobs, and I felt it could have directed the player more. 

Maybe I didn’t play with it enough. Maybe I wasn’t doing it right. I’m playing it with the walkthrough at hand, and I’m having a lot of so that’s what was supposed to happen moments. There’s a lot more interaction in the later parts, though how you unlock it remains opaque to me.


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