Have you played this game?You can rate this game, record that you've played it, or put it on your wish list after you log in.
Playlists and Wishlists
RSS FeedsNew member reviews
Updates to downloadable files
All updates to this page
About the StoryIn the beginning was the Word, and it was hungry.
Enter a steampunk adventure set in a London that might have been. The year is 1885. Bedlam Hospital still stands in Moorsfield, a decaying shell used to house the poor and the hopeless. Steam-driven mechanical wonders roam the streets. Gear-wheeled analytical engines spin out reams of thought onto punched paper tapes.
And in the darkness - in the alleys and the side shops - hide secrets.
Winner, Best Game; Nominee, Best Writing; Winner, Best Story; Winner, Best Setting; Nominee, Best NPCs; Winner, Best Individual NPC; Nominee, Best Individual PC; Nominee, Best Use of Medium - 2003 XYZZY Awards
1st Place overall; 1st Place, Miss Congeniality Awards - 9th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2003)
The game and source code are available at http://peccable.com/if/slouching-10/.
-- Emily Short
Adding to this very atmospheric narration, great setting and overall enjoyability of experiencing the game, Slouching Towards Bedlam can be recommended to anyone seeking a good and engrossing story.
See the full review
Jay Is Games
Once you start crawling through the game, you'll realize just how story-driven Slouching Towards Bedlam is, and the setting, character interactions and impeccable writing perfectly frame the experience.
See the full review
The pacing is superb: the pieces of the story come at just the right moments, the understanding comes gradually and not too slowly. The size of the game is next to perfect for the Comp, exactly filling up two hours in reaching one or two endings and reading the appendices. There are moments that made me completely forget about the real world, and focus entirely on what was happening in the game.
In short: you must play this game.
See the full review
>VERBOSE -- Paul O'Brian's Interactive Fiction Page
[T]he writing worked really well, and the coding was similarly solid -- I found no bugs at all. In fact, between the game's puzzlebox premise and its lack of flaws, I've found this review rather hard to write, so I'll just close by saying this: play Slouching Towards Bedlam. Your time will be well-spent, and you may find that it remains with you in entirely unexpected ways.
See the full review
|Average Rating: |
Number of Reviews: 8
Write a review
Most Helpful Member Reviews
First, the positives: The introduction is a superb piece of writing. The reader is immediately gripped by the mystery presented, and that mystery is fully explored in the multiple possible endings. The premise is unique; the atmosphere is memorable. Overall, "Slouching Towards Bedlam" practically shines with the kind of originality that is so highly-prized in the IF community, and this probably is the best explanation for its record-breaking high score in the Comp.
But, then, there are the negatives: The world implementation is a little spare. The NPCs are a little flat. Certain promising points of interest turn out to be either red herrings or truncated plot elements. To be honest, this game strikes me as half-finished in some ways -- the overall tone of the implementation has an unevenness that can be surprising.
Once again, I have to point to the IF Comp guidelines that say an entry should be designed to be solvable within two hours of gameplay. The authors clearly had more to give here, and the half-finished feel to some parts of the game could be nothing more than the result of their having reached the target play time and calling it quits. My suspicion is that they may have run a bit short on development time, however; some improvements in editing would have easily scored an extra star from me.
"Slouching Towards Bedlam" is a decent game made from a terrific story. My slight dissatisfaction stems from my sense that, with more work, it could be an excellent game made from a terrific story. It is definitely worth your time to explore, even if I don't count it among the greats.
I understood I was reading a beautiful game. My breath was shortening.
But I understood what the game really was when I fell into strange, unusual, incomprehensible messages from the system. I spent hours of wondering what was going on, and when I finally got it, I was kind of illuminated. My mind was cleansed. I found a great piece of Metafiction: the language was part of the world, and I, as Bastian in the Neverending Story, was part of it.
This is a rare game, where the language (both in the prose than in the system language) is part of the story, and one can't go without the other.
The story itself is quite odd, a science fiction settled in a steam-punk 19th century world. Strange machines require the most effort from the player to be understood, but they are great part of the game, and provide the most challenging puzzles. It's a pity that the city, the people, the historical features are not deeply detailed as the devices, but it's
nothing more than a small blot.
This game is thrilling and deeply exciting. Maybe it's too short. Once you get the mechanism, it's over. But it's worth re-playing it: there are different possible endings (Spoiler - click to show)(solutions say there are 5).
Slouching Towards Bedlam is one of the greatest games because of its original work on the writing and language aspects, never so deeply integrated with the meaning of the whole background. And thinking about a medium based on language, I said to myself: at last, what a great deed of creativity. Bow to Bedlam.
The game is about exploration and finding out what has happened in the asylum where the protagonist works. Assisting him is Triage, a hearwarmingly steampunky computer/dictation machine, that can give details and information of the surroundings. While it doesn't actually do anything other than follow the protagonist around and show information on request it is an important part of the whole and the game would be seriously lacking without it.
What brings Slouching Towards Bedlam above others is the way it builds and sustains the atmosphere and mood. The only other game that accomplishes the same is Anchorhead and I would be hardpressed to choose which one does a better job. Another nice touch is how meta-game commands (UNDO, SAVE, RESTORE etc) have been given an in-game explanation. They fit seamlessly into the story, not feeling like artificial additions.
The game is not entirely without flaws, of course. Some gameplay mechanics are unnecessarily awkward (for example making the player type long strings of numbers to a machine one at a time) but my main quibble is that some puzzles feel like they are there only because "IF must have puzzles". They break the mood and yank the player out of the game's world. The authors could have trusted their creation to work as a game without locked doors and hidden items.
See All 8 Member Reviews
If you enjoyed Slouching Towards Bedlam...
Related GamesOther members recommend these games for people who like Slouching Towards Bedlam, or gave both high ratings:
|Anchorhead, by Michael Gentry|
From wikipedia: "It is loosely based on the Cthulhu mythos. Anchorhead takes place in a New England town by the same name that bears a resemblance to Innsmouth, Arkham, and other fictional towns created by H.P. Lovecraft."
Ollie Ollie Oxen Free, by Carolyn VanEseltine
"War may sometimes be a necessary evil. But no matter how necessary, it is always an evil, never a good. We will not learn how to live together in peace by killing each other's children." - Jimmy Carter
|Resonance, by Matt Scarpino|
Recommended ListsSlouching Towards Bedlam appears in the following Recommended Lists:
Best Works of Science Fiction IF by OtisTDog
I've always been a science fiction buff, but works worth recommending seem even fewer-and-far-between in the world of IF than they are in the world of books. This is the list of my favorites for this genre. Please feel free to comment if...
Recommended Horror Games by E.K.
My horror preference is literary with a strong atmosphere, so those types of games will make a stronger showing here than splatterfests, but I have an affection for some of those too. List currently in progress.
PollsThe following polls include votes for Slouching Towards Bedlam:
Game mechanics as story by aaronius
In the best story-centered board games, the rules and system mechanics create or encourage the sorts of stories the game is supposed to be about; one suspense-themed game I discovered recently uses a Jenga tower to create rising dread in...
Games with unique hint systems by delano
I'm looking for games that offer hints in any way, except for printing them in sequence on the screen. For example: characters that offer hints; objects that, when examined or used in a certain way, suggest actions to the player; etc.
Best IF Titles by Fredrik
No doubt you have played some great games with great titles, or been disappointed to find games with great titles that did not hold up to expectations. What are the best titles of IF? They can be funny, elegant, evocative, or whatever...
This is version 11 of this page, edited by Matt W on 18 February 2015 at 1:00pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item