Posted by: Ben | October 4, 2009

if: Byzantine Perspective

A Z-code game in IF Comp 09 by Lea

But first, some spoiler space.

Right, that’s enough spoiler space.

Your task is simple enough.  Just nab the chalice.

Byzantine Perspective is a short game which treats your time and attention as precious, and this will be a short review.

It’s a near-perfect piece of puzzle design in which you must (1) work out what’s going on, then (2) use that information to achieve your ultra-simple objective.  I say near-perfect because it might be better to get a little more feedback on why you can’t examine objects you’re carrying, because (a) if you’re playing IF comp games you’re expecting to play lots of games that are crap, (b) the objects you’re carrying are described as being in your pocket, (c) your pocket isn’t implemented, or at least don’t appear to be and (d) you’re going to be trying commands like “hold up paper” which the game doesn’t understand.  Still, when the central concept of the game design is to mess with the traditional rules of location descriptions it’s necessary to think outside the box.  And in cases where it looks like a draw between me being thick and the game not giving me enough clues, my new resolution is to give the game the benefit of the doubt and then give it the same rating it would have got if I was absolutely certain that the game was playing fair.

It does make you wonder what other rules it’s possible to break in the service of creating original puzzles, and whether a game that could continue to find original uses for that sort of rulebreaking for just a bit longer might not be a serious contender.

Rating: Good

Next: Snowquest


  1. Yeah, it’s a connundrum. It does occur to me that a short piece of intro matter, that was relatively easy but well-coded, might get a sense of trust into the player and therefore get him over the “wtf?”hump.

    Also I think there could be some in-game reason why I don’t really understand what’s going on. This is hinted at, but not really addressed.

    As you say, a very good game.


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