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Story File
Competition version
For all systems. To play, you'll need a glulx interpreter - visit Brass Lantern for download links.
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Steam and Sacrilege

by Phil McGrail

2016

(based on 9 ratings)
1 member review

About the Story

The Automatic Hotel, once hailed as a symbol of scientific progress and invention, stands crumbling. Surrounded by protesters trying to save the historic landmark and mired in rumors about the hotel's once-great steam-powered automatons, the building now represents something much more sinister. It's the last place that you saw your husband alive.

You must find a way to enter the mysterious hotel and discover the secretes of its celestial prison. But more importantly, you must make a choice. Which is more important the life of your husband or the survival of humanity as you know it?

Game Details

Language: English (en)
First Publication Date: October 1, 2016
Current Version: Unknown
Development System: Inform
IFID: Unknown
TUID: 7nrdsgr7tbeie9k3

Awards

47th Place - 22nd Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2016)

Editorial Reviews

The Breakfast Review
It really feels as though the very narrow path to victory was implemented, and then the red herrings way off to the far fringe were implemented ... but all the background stuff in between the two was left out. Or possibly that the game was building up in more than one direction, and the remnants of those discarded ideas/puzzles were never properly edited out.
See the full review

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Number of Reviews: 1
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful:
An instantly compelling premise is failed by hopelessly broken implementation, November 11, 2016
by Steph C
Related reviews: IF Comp 2016
Let's start with the good: I LOVE the concept of taking a steampunk setting and looking forward to the present day, when all these glittering gears and robo-men are a part of history. This game suggests a steampunk haunted house, a combination of science fiction, ruin porn, and horror which would be an absolutely fantastic setting for a game. Unfortunately, this isn't what it delivers. There seems to be exactly one correct path implemented, and stepping off it snaps the game like a dry twig--and it's not at all clear what you're intended to do. I only managed to get through the opening scene through exhaustive trial and error (all the while being told I couldn't see or interact with things around me).

The present-day setting was even more decrepit. I have no information other than I have to go to work, but wandering out of the house took me into a maze of one-way passages and blank, undefined rooms. A man came to the door while I was in the kitchen. Then he came to my door again while I was wandering down main street and the same scene played out again. I went down an alley and got stuck. I bumped up against a metal door I couldn't see. A caretaker held me captive (apparently?) I have no idea what else you're supposed to do; there's probably an action you can take in the kitchen that triggers the rest of the story.

This game desperately needed to do one of two things:
1) Embrace the nature of the parser and fully implement the environments and for gods' sake have playtesters.
Players are going to be poking around, trying different things, and if the setting collapses like a souffle at the slightest touch, that's poison.
or 2) Use a format suited for telling a more linear story, like Choicescript. What little I saw of the story was compelling, and made me want to read more, but getting any of it out of the game was like pulling teeth.

If the idea hadn't been so good, I probably wouldn't care about this so much, but it was such a good idea, and I wanted this to be a good game so badly, and then it was unplayable.

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This is version 4 of this page, edited by verityvirtue on 22 November 2016 at 12:48pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item