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About the Story"Centuries of ancestry, decades of memories, years of decline; now, barely two hours in which to reflect on the glorious past, that bygone golden age when nostalgia really meant something... " [--blurb from Competition Aught-Zero]
12th Place - 6th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2000)
-- Duncan Stevens
>VERBOSE -- Paul O'Brian's Interactive Fiction Page
Graham Nelson once described interactive fiction as "a narrative at war with a crossword." Letters From Home takes a definite side in this battle by being an interactive narrative where the main goal is to complete a crossword, and whose entire purpose is structured around puzzle-solving, the "crossword" part of the metaphor. The explicit connection with that metaphor is just one of the many pieces of Nelsoniana scattered throughout the game. From the introductory text, to the Jigsaw (grandfather clock and Titanic mementos) and Curses (sprawling mansion filled with relics of distinguished ancestors) references, to the somber traces of wartime, the whole thing comes across as a loving tribute to Graham. Being a Nelson admirer myself, I couldn't help but be impressed by the various clever nods to him peppered throughout this game.
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Number of Reviews: 3
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While the wordplay-saturated atmosphere was quite pleasant, it wasn't enough to keep me from resorting to a walkthrough after my first encounter with the time limit.
Completing the game without the hints would require multiple playthroughs, a certain amount of trial and error, and, most likely, a bit of research. When a description is curiously specific but the cultural or scientific reference escapes you, I wouldn't hesitate to resort to Google- some of the answers aren't to be found in-game.
I'm tempted to recommend this one for those who enjoy difficult cryptic crosswords, but the game lacks the structural fairness of that standardized form. The items and the letters into which you convert them do not have a consistent relationship.
A somewhat confusing wordplay game finding hidden letters, February 8, 2016
Eventually, I began to understood. Each letter is hidden in a weird way. For instance, you might find a railroad crossing sign and take the X in it, or find a line of people and take the queue (Q). There is no real rhyme or reason to the puzzles.
There is also a cryptic crossword, which I love, although it was a little weaker than some cryptic crosswords I've seen.
Overall, a well done but flawed game.
Crossword IF, February 18, 2015
While I enjoyed the technical exercise, I wasn't gripped enough by the game to invest too much of my time. I ended up using the clues to move things along (the clues are well done). This is a shame, since it made me hurry through the game and also not pay enough attention to the ending(Spoiler - click to show), which in retrospect was the best single piece of writing.
As a specific piece of wordplay, the game has a place, but as interactive fiction I find it falls short in terms of plot and engagement. That isn't really the point, I suppose. And I enjoyed the appearance of the great British removal man.
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This is version 6 of this page, edited by David Welbourn on 19 June 2015 at 9:32pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item