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 StoryYou are the involuntary and very hungry test subject of a semi-anthropomorphized dog in a labcoat who wants you to find all sixteen food items mentioned in They Might Be Giants' song Dinner Bell, which have been hidden in a near-perfect replica of your grandmother's kitchen. If you're very good, you might be allowed to eat.
Nominee, Best Writing; Nominee, Best Puzzles - 2012 XYZZY Awards
|Average Rating: |
Number of Reviews: 3
Write a review
According to the odd premise, you're the a subject in a pavlovian test being run by a dog, and must perform tasks meeting your training requirements. The tasks in question mostly require thorough searching and obedience to the game's not-very-subtle precepts, though there are a couple of puzzles that require a bit more sideways thinking to separate the quest objects from their surroundings. (Spoiler - click to show)I particularly enjoyed the solution to finding the one real pear in the bucket of wax pears. Though it's not an extremely long game, there's enough there to keep a player occupied for 45 minutes or so; this would not have been conspicuously undersized as a comp game.
Overall it's a very solidly made and tested piece. I didn't run into any bugs or situations where the parser patently should have been more intelligent, and there were many points where it was possible to refer to objects that were only figuratively present and still get some kind of interesting response.
What really sets this game apart, however, is its particular humor and narrative voice. Most of the game's major objects are things referred to in the They Might Be Giants song of the same name -- enough so that the song could almost serve as a walkthrough for most of the elements. More than that, though, the narration is often self-conscious and fourth-wall-breaking in order to deliver a payload of puns, references, and commentary. Those familiar with Polodna's blog posts and reviews will have a pretty good idea of whether they're likely to enjoy such asides. (I did.)
The game's final point is moderately noteworthy as well. (Spoiler - click to show)After a sequence of puzzles in which the player is railroaded into finding but not eating a series of foodstuffs, the game gives the player a chance to eat some cake; but rewards him with a final point and a different ending for choosing to follow his accustomed conditioning and setting the cake aside instead of eating it. It would probably be a stretch to claim that this is a serious commentary on agency and player conditioning, but it was a more memorable outcome than I had expected.
And, hey, it was a fun game.
Your goal is to correctly find all of the food in the room. This requires varying amounts of ingenuity. Some of the puzzles are 'leap of intuition' puzzles.
As others have noted, the writing is the strongest point of the game. The strange mix of obedience and resentment makes for a funny game with a sad undertone.
The game has enough easy puzzles mixed in with the hard to let beginners get pretty far without consulting a guide.
If you enjoyed Dinner Bell...
Related GamesOther members recommend these games for people who like Dinner Bell, or gave both high ratings:
|Rogue of the Multiverse, by C.E.J. Pacian|
Average member rating: (61 ratings)
Congratulations, convict 76954! You have been selected for scientific experimentation! You will be matter-transmitted to exotic non-Treaty worlds - where opportunities abound to take in fantastic sights and mingle with colourful locals!
|Cactus Blue Motel, by Astrid Dalmady|
Average member rating: (49 ratings)
Somewhere between New Mexico and Arizona, three friends were driving through a barren desert of red rocks, and wide empty skies. It was the end of summer, the end of high school, the end of so many things. And then they found the Cactus...
|Capsule II - The 11th Sandman, by PaperBlurt|
Average member rating: (13 ratings)
There's this pause on the Makida every time the current Sandman goes back into the cryotube, and before the new one awakes. A certain calm where all is still. The Makida's dull hum is heard, but that is all. No footsteps. No whispers. No...
Recommended ListsDinner Bell appears in the following Recommended Lists:
IF Playlist for the Brontoboards by Molly
This is a list I created as a general guide to interactive fiction for a thread I'm making on Brontoforumus. I'm trying to give a good overview to both parser IF (usually called "text adventures") and choice-based IF (or...
Apollo 18+20 by Teaspoon
Interactive fiction games, with one game per track on the album Apollo 18 by They Might Be Giants. The regular tracks are generally short games. The Fingertips tracks are one-move games (however the authors interpreted that). The games...
PollsThe following polls include votes for Dinner Bell:
Best games you've played in 2012 by Molly
The year of our lord Two Thousand Twelve is almost over, so let's reflect back on the games we've played this year and see which ones we liked the most. Note that the games don't have to have come out in 2012 to be eligible for this...
One Room Non-Escape Games by tggdan3
I'm looking for a one room game, where the purpose is NOT to escape that one room. (Eliminating games such as Enlightenment, Suveh Nux, 69,105 keys, etc). I'm not sure if there even ARE many such games, but I would be interested in...
This is version 5 of this page, edited by Teaspoon on 27 March 2016 at 10:24am. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item