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detective.z5
For all systems. To play, you'll need a Z-Machine Interpreter - visit Brass Lantern for download links.
detect13.zip *
Contains DETECT.D$$
Requires an AGT interpreter - see Brass Lantern for download links.
* Compressed with ZIP. Free Unzip tools are available for most systems at www.info-zip.org.

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Detective

by Matt Barringer

Mystery
1993

(based on 14 ratings)
2 member reviews

About the Story

"Often imitated, never equaled, an unvarnished port of Barringer's "Detective". [--blurb from The Z-Files Catalogue]

Game Details

Language: English (en)
Current Version: Release 1
License: Freeware
Development System: AGT
Baf's Guide ID: 63
IFIDs:  AGT-03500-0000BE87
ZCODE-1-000715-2D80
TUID: 1po9rgq2xssupefw

Spoofed by Mystery Science Theater 3000 Presents "Detective", by C. E. Forman, Graeme Cree, and Stuart Moore

Editorial Reviews

Baf's Guide


Another obvious first attempt. Although it's billed as a mystery, the only real goal in this game is to travel from your starting location to the location where you win, without wandering into any of the locations that automatically kill you. The room descriptions contain plot events (which seldom makes sense the second time you visit a room), and connections between rooms are often mishandled. It's pretty clear that the author has only a vague understanding of what adventure games are, and would probably be more comfortable writing hyperfiction.

However, fans of Mystery Science Theater 3000 should check out MST3K Presents Detective , an Inform port with adaptive heckling.

-- Carl Muckenhoupt

SPAG
Surprisingly, the only commands needed to solve 'Detective' are north, east, south, and west. It is possible to pick up a few items along the way in order to increase the score, but none of these items has any effect on the story.
-- Stefan Jokisch

I'm only writing this because unlike Stefan Jokisch (in his review), I think that you SHOULD get this game and you SHOULD play it. It's very quick (as little as 26 moves), loaded with such unintentional laughs, and unlike Space Aliens, you can play it to a conclusion, with no headaches or technical glitches. [...] Mr. Barringer's goal in writing the game was to entertain his audience, and as far as I'm concerned he suceeded in ways that the rating system can't show.
-- Graeme Cree
See the full review

SPAG

It's short, arbitrary and pointless, but it *is* short! It may even be historical. (Can you count yourself a true IF afficionado if you don't know of this game?) It's also sincere in its way. If you look at other bad IF, you often find a cynicism, rampant insults to the player, and sleazy bad humor. It's clear that the author's intentions are good.
-- okblacke
See the full review

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Member Reviews

5 star:
(0)
4 star:
(1)
3 star:
(0)
2 star:
(3)
1 star:
(10)
Average Rating:
Number of Reviews: 2
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful:
Famous for being bad, but actually not that awful, December 16, 2007
by Kake (London, England)
Related reviews: Matt Barringer, **
Although this game is famous for being really, really bad, I did kind of like it. Knowing that it was written by a twelve-year-old kid did help, mind. I think what I liked most about it was the energy and sheer gung-ho of it although the plot makes pretty much no sense at all, you definitely get the impression that the author found it tremendously exciting, and it almost doesn't matter that nobody else would feel the same. In a game written by an adult, this would be kind of embarrassing. In a game written by a pre-teen, it's not at all inappropriate. I honestly don't think that I'd be embarrassed to have written this game as a kid.

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
There are worse games out there, September 6, 2011
This game is famous for being terrible and that's exactly why I played it. I enjoy a glorious trainwreck!

It gets pretty much everything it possibly can wrong. Exits continue to shift, dead ends litter almost every room, hallways extend for millennia, it features an incomprehensible plot, items remain in room descriptions even after you pick them up, it has generally terrible writing and sports some absolutely bizarre deaths (though I quite enjoyed how out of place these were) and these are only to name a few.

The result is a game that feels like a bizarre, surreal dream. In all honesty, there was something I found quite enjoyable about the atmosphere it inadvertently emanates. The only thing that really bothered me was how much padding there was.

It's a poorly designed game, yes, but frankly I've played worse: games that were impossible to finish or contained puerile content. I'd rather play this poorly designed but well-meaning game over those.

It's also worth keeping in mind that it was designed by a 12 year old.

So is it worth playing? Only if you want to see what mistakes to avoid when making a game, or how poor game design can accidentally create a dreamy atmosphere. But I'd still recommend it over certain other titles.

If you enjoyed Detective...

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Polls

The following polls include votes for Detective:

Hilariously Bad IF games by american00b
Earlier today, I felt like playing an Interactive Fiction game that is the literary and stylistic equivalent of such masterpieces as Birdemic and The Room. I still have that feeling, so if you find anything like Plan 9 from Outer Space...

The worst IF ever? by theqbasicwizard
I'm wanting to do an episode for the podcast that deals with only the worst possible IF games ever programmed? You know the kind that if you would have played it for another minute longer, that you would have never played another IF ever...

Child authored IF by Hulk Handsome
It's incredibly unlikely to find a game created by a child (12 years or under) that's actually well made, but they can still be enjoyable. It's fun to see a young ones imagination run wild, limited only by their... likely poor coding...

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This is version 3 of this page, edited by Edward Lacey on 18 April 2013 at 5:06pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item