Please Pass the Milk Please

By ‘Adri’. An interactive snack.

This is an amusing, small game from the Apollo 18+20 IF tribute album.

Your brother Sam is sitting across from you.

On the table are a carton of milk, a plate of brownies, and two cups.

The title suggests that what you need to do is to pass the milk. But that’s not the only thing you can do!

Oddly fun; worthy as a short diversion. There are a few references to some other games, including:

>xyzzy

A hollow voice says, “Milk: it does a body good.”

Shade

by Andrew Plotkin.

Another critically acclaimed game!

As the help text suggests, this is a one-room game set in the PC’s apartment. Sounds unremarkable! As the PC, you’re all set and ready to leave for Death Valley for some art festival. You’re all packed, just waiting for the taxi when… where are your tickets?

Language: Nothing much to say. There is purposeful use of background ‘props’ such as furniture, possibly symbolic, though I haven’t quite wrapped my head around that yet.

Plot: Soon after finding the tickets, the story takes a surreal turn. The PC’s cool, almost detached narration belies the growing weirdness of the whole situation as the room morphs into something almost unrecognisable. The baffling ending may confuse some, but Shade is one of those games which you have to play more than once to fully understand.

Mechanics: Nothing remarkable. There is a kind of hints system, or at least a list of ‘things you have to do to progress’ in the form of a changing to-do list, also a sly hint about hint systems in the form of the help text.

The Baron

by Victor Gijsbers

Generally, I hesitate to review games which have already recieved plenty of acclaim and have been reviewed by much more able and experienced people than I am (for example, The Game Formerly Known as the Game with a Hidden Nazi Mode, if I haven’t gotten the name wrong), but The Baron was amazing.

The PC is the father of Maartje, who has been kidnapped by an evil baron. This is not an interactive fiction game per se, since it is not so much about solving puzzles and exploring foreign lands and arming yourself, but about the choices you make.

Language: At first it seems straightforward, but small details, carefully highlighted, make the mood darker and more complex.

Plot: As mentioned, this is not so much an adventure game as an exploration into human darkness. And there is a startling, shocking, brilliant twist near the end and it gets more and more interesting from there- comparable to the twist in 9:05 by Adam Cadre.

Mechanics: This game switches between normal command input to multiple-choice styles (where you choose from a list of options) during dialogue; the player’s choices influence the eventual mood and flavour of the game but not the eventual outcome.

(it lives up to the promised misery of fictional characters)

(it is really good in a mindbending sort of way)

Pacman

Um, classic videos games… in IF format? Really?

Having never played the original, I am unable to compare the two; however, this version is dark (well, as dark as it can be; it’s really short), if a bit linear. It’s exceedingly short, though.