Posted by: Ben | October 16, 2008

if: The Ngah Angah School of Forbidden Wisdom

(videogame. ALAN. Räisänen. Interactive Fiction Competition 2008.)

Review of this below. Spoilers.

Being a series of three thematically but not procedurally connected puzzles, all of which are well implemented and reasonably logical but only one of which requires fevered squinting at a Jpeg to solve. TNASoFW loses no points from me for its brevity (and gains points for not making me replay the game from the beginning when it kills me, which is more than once).

This is another game where the plot is kept at arms length from the interactivity, the backstory provided in infodumps at the beginning and end of the game. What I wouldn’t give for the game of the introduction, as I track my one true love to the ends of the earth with only a trinket and my common sense. Perhaps that would be a little too ambitious for this particular competition.

But still, having passed the entrance exam, I felt a disconnection from the player-character in that I didn’t want to hold her hand or ride her tiger, I wanted to stay at the School of Forbidden Wisdom and achieve enlightenment, but the game wouldn’t let me go any further East. My only engagement with the story was typing in the right input to solve the puzzles, but it felt like I wasn’t solving them for the right reasons.

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