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Aisle.z5
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Aisle.wlk
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Aisle

by Sam Barlow profile

Slice of life
1999

About the Story

"Late Thursday night. You've had a hard day and the last thing you need is this: shopping. Luckily, the place is pretty empty and you're progressing rapidly. On to the next aisle...

Aisle started out as a game which would not need the usual meta-verbs... i.e. a game with only one turn. The initial idea was: How do I make a game with only one turn interesting? Give it lots of endings--in fact there are many 'endings' and (hopefully) every sensible action results in an 'ending'. There is no winning action. There is however more going on than just this and the more endings you see the more things should become clear." [--blurb from The Z-Files Catalogue]

Game Details

Language: English (en)
First Publication Date: May 28, 1999
Current Version: revision 3 release 1
License: Freeware
Development System: Inform 6
Forgiveness Rating: Merciful
Baf's Guide ID: 431
IFID: ZCODE-1-990528-9252
TUID: j49crlvd62mhwuzu

Off-Site Reviews

SPAG
Sam Barlow's Aisle is without a doubt one of the most unusual works to hit the IF community in quite some time. In no sense is it a game; trying to "win" it is futile, and the suboptimal outcomes aren't bad choices to be avoided as such. Rather, the point is to explore the central character and take a look at the various possibilities available to him from one point in time. That said, however, it's not clear that Aisle is an entirely successful experiment. [...] (Duncan Stevens)
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Reviews from Trotting Krips
Yes, this is experimental IF. I cringe at the very thought, normally. Aisle, however, is far and away the most effective, enjoyable experimental IF game I've come across. It's flawlessly implemented, wonderfully written, and intensely evocative. It is a very moving experience, and should stick with you long after you leave your interpreter.
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Play This Thing!
Aisle is a one-turn game. Play a turn, and the game ends.

Restart. Try something else. The game ends again.

This isn't a case where working out just the right single move will win, either. (For that, try Andrew Pontious' brilliant but difficult Rematch.) No, Aisle is partly about exploration -- an astonishing number of commands are implemented, ranging well outside the usual set of interactive fiction commands -- and partly about assembling the story that you're interested in.
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Rock, Paper, Shotgun
Crucially, a number of the less eventful endings provide hints as to your characterís backstory, which in turn fill your mind with possibilities as to new actions you could attempt. Hence, Groundhog Day - each attempt you make at the game is informed by the events of the previous one(s). You revert back to exactly the same situation every time, but though the world hasnít changed, your knowledge has - and with that comes an uncanny sense of progress.
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SynTax
The writing is very good, evoking an atmosphere that I readily took part in. There were responses to all the inputs I tried, even to some that I typed simply because they always provoke a stock response from the game. My advice is to try as many ways getting information about the story as you can. Put yourself behind the trolley and into his shoes. Beware, I found some responses a little disturbing.
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Page Update History

  v.9: 20-Mar-2013 10:35 - Edward Lacey (Current Version) - Edit Page - Normal View
Changed external review links
v.8: 14-Jun-2009 04:20 - Dave Chapeskie
Changed publication date, forgiveness
v.7: 13-Jun-2009 01:24 - Emily Boegheim
Changed external review links
v.6: 13-Jun-2009 01:23 - Emily Boegheim
Changed external review links
v.5: 25-Jul-2008 17:17 - Emily Short
Changed external review links
v.4: 10-Jul-2008 16:40 - Emily Short
Changed external review links
v.3: 05-Apr-2008 20:32 - mrsambarlow
Changed cover art, author, external review links
v.2: 01-Mar-2008 05:52 - David Welbourn
Changed description
v.1: 16-Oct-2007 01:48 - IFDB
Created page