IF Competition Discussion: Press [Escape] to Save

More discussion of competition games.

This game starts with your character being sent to jail, followed by an implausible meeting with your cell-mate, a visitation from the Ghost of Incarcerations Past, and — well, then it gets really surreal.

I’m afraid I can’t really recommend this one on merit: it’s oddly implemented; full of typos, spacing bugs, and grammatical infelicities; nearly incomprehensible as a story, and unfair with respect to its puzzles. There is a kind of wild energy about it, though, which one usually finds in authors new to the craft. For a while, I found myself giggling incredulously at just about every turn.

If you enjoy MST3K and “so bad it was awesome” describes something you would like, then by all means, take this one for a spin.

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This is really badly written. Really badly. So badly that the badness becomes entertaining, lively, and characteristic: which actually makes it more fun than some of the featurelessly correct prose I’ve encountered elsewhere in comp games. We have:

Unlikely gestures:
Your weak, but surprisingly fearless eyes meet his.
Jimmy stands up to his feet.
The figure then clears his tall throat.
He gives you guys one last look before putting his head down in his hands again. “Go!” he motions with his hand.
The person is here. But his head isn’t in his hands. Its down on the floor with his body. Dead.

The Surreal Realm of Knowledge:
This stone corrdior sets the the tone for this dimension. With oddly angled walls, verry little lighting, eery echoes, and weird writing on the walls, you feel vulnerable to the evil in this realm.

Helpful advice:
“This is called a sklorpfel, and it will be your source of light.”
“This map will help you get your bearings straight in that sinister mind jungle.”
“Others have died because they failed to kill the monster properly, and you should not follow the same path.”

Inexplicable vagueness:
Behind all the stone and debris to the north, a passageway is seen.
[L]ooking up towards the sky you see in the distance a void.
With fervor and adrenaline, you shoot the figure, four or even five times.

Psychological insights:
But I couldn’t stop drinking from the winepress of the mind.
A monster that’s not really a monster, but rather a human being that’s made some pretty poor choices. A person just like the person himself. And Jimmy.

Every comp has some underimplemented, badly designed games, and I guess if we’re going to have those, it’s nice if they at least provide some redeeming entertainment value. This one did.

3 thoughts on “IF Competition Discussion: Press [Escape] to Save

  1. Wow, your quotes are *far* more amusing than mine. For what it’s worth, I had about the same response. I didn’t laugh as much *playing* the game as I did in reading those specific lines again now, but every turn seemed a bounty of strange and unintionally funny word choices.

  2. Pingback: IF Competition: The Absolute Worst IF Game in History « Emily Short’s Interactive Fiction

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