Posted by: Ben | November 15, 2008

if: The Absolute Worst IF Game In History

(videogame. Z-code. Menezes. Interactive Fiction Competition 2008.)

Not impressed with what the randomiser was giving me, I skipped down the list to play the intriguingly titled Absolute Worst IF Game In History. Depending on how it turns out, rating this could be tricky. If it lives up to its title, I’ll have to give it a 10. But if it’s merely very, very poor it should probably get a low score. Then again if it looks like it’s going to do very badly I should give it a higher score in order to push it up the rankings, since only a truly deserving game ought to finish bottom.

So I played it, but didn’t finish it, concluding that it probably wasn’t finishable. Then I looked around to read some reviews of it.. I discovered that some seasoned and dedicated players had finished it. So I took up the challenge and completed the game. It took dedication and hard work, but I did it. (Hint: GET OF works nicely as a final command.)

Any idiot can code an unsolvable maze, a bunch of rooms with identical descriptions linked by irreversible compass directions. But the arrangement of rooms in this game seems to present just the level of challenge appropriate to an IF Comp game, especially after some of the stupidly easy and/or telepathically hard puzzles on offer elsewhere (sometimes in the same game.) There is even a distinct sense of progression through the maze, teaching the player new directions and gradually increasing in difficulty. It’s almost as if the author has put some effort into balancing it. Which is a shame, when the concept was so thoroughly misbegotten.

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