IF Competition Discussion: Eduard the Seminarist

“Eduard the Seminarist” from IF Comp 2007.

This is, I think, meant to be a historical fiction of some kind, but it wasn’t easy to get my bearings, and I didn’t play long enough even to suss out the premise fully. Very under-implemented, very obvious about its gamy-ness, and not giving me anything to do or anything to care about.

Most of the turns I did spend on the game, I spent trying to interact with my surroundings in really obvious ways (like reading books, wearing clothes, and so on) and being rebuffed at almost every attempt.

6 thoughts on “IF Competition Discussion: Eduard the Seminarist

  1. I played this game through to the end (with the help of the walkthrough–I had the same problems with obvious things not doing much of anything. I also frequently ran into dead ends with no way out requiring frequent use of undo and restart–it felt more like the best way through was to just try random things until something stuck instead of being able to puzzle it out.

    A few of the puzzles are completely unfair in that the necessary solution (which I discovered using the walkthrough) relies on a knowledge of the surroundings which is not described anywhere. Case in point: one puzzle early on requires you to know that there are two similar objects in a room and to specify which one to use. If you simply name the object, the game silently chooses the WRONG one without asking, and there is nothing in the description which indicates there is even a second one in the room. You must infer it from very vague clues elsewhere. The second object is essentially an easter egg in the game.

    Finally, the ending of the game is just that–an end. There is no drive towards a climax or resolution of any sort, and it is completely unsatisfying.

  2. One of my favorites in the Comp. Looks like it will be underrated, though. For whatever reason, I was able to solve even the most “unfair” puzzles, except one: (SEMI-SPOILER) having to show the note to your friend you’re supposed to meet is ridiculous.

    A revised version of this game that cleans some stuff up and makes a few additions could be very solid.

  3. Well… I only liked it relative to most other games in this year’s Comp, which was very weak, in my opinion.

    The main thing is probably that I favor puzzles over story in general, and I was able to glean the situation, the motive, and the proper actions. Being able to solve puzzles goes a long way towards justifying their construction, even when they’re decidedly non-standard. Such puzzles may be called “unfair” when you can’t solve them and “creative” when you can. Either view–whichever happens to the player–is valid, of course. I hope the positive version happened to more players than just me.

    That being said, I would have to see some improvements to the game before recommending it to anyone but die-hard IF fans.

  4. (Spoilerfied post)

    My main implementation issue was climbing out the window. There was some message about how I should’ve tied the rope to something other than the bed, yet the actual solution (after checking the walkthrough) is tying it to the bed. I’m still not sure why one version killed me and the other one didn’t.

  5. I gather from other reviews that there are actually several beds present and only one of them is safe to tie things to– and the game will default to choosing the wrong (fatal) one if you’re not specific enough.

    I didn’t get that far myself.

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