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Story File
Contains ThreeCardTrick.gblorb
For all systems. To play, you'll need a glulx interpreter - visit 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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Three-Card Trick

by Chandler Groover profile

Flimflam
2016

Web Site

(based on 24 ratings)
3 member reviews

About the Story

You're going to perform a three-card trick or your name isn't Morgan the Magnificent.

Game Details

Language: English (en)
First Publication Date: April 6, 2016
Current Version: Unknown
Development System: Inform 7
Forgiveness Rating: Merciful
IFID: Unknown
TUID: afy6ej5cn9hof20m

Awards

Nominee, Best Story; Nominee, Best Setting; Nominee, Best Individual Puzzle; Nominee, Best Individual PC - 2016 XYZZY Awards

5th Place - First Quadrennial Ryan Veeder Exposition for Good Interactive Fiction

Entrant, Main Festival - Spring Thing 2016

Editorial Reviews

Astrobolism
A very cool, short, and easy parser game which uses a number of fun tricks to manipulate the mood, pacing, and story.
See the full review

Christopher Huang
Rich, flavourful, with a lot of character, and it goes down smooth as oil. Like a glass of rich Madeira... or possibly Amontillado. For the love of God, Montresor!
See the full review

Emily Short's Interactive Storytelling
It’s a compact and effective horror story. The player’s actions are highly directed at every point, but there are stakes enough, and a sufficient illusion of freedom, to make it really satisfying.
See the full review

Narrativium
Cool gimmicks abound in Three-Card Trick: directional commands are played with, there are misdirections to make Derren Brown proud, and there is one hell of a surprise later on. Actually, make that two.
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Old Games Italia
Il titolo è autenticamente capace di tenere sulle spine il giocatore, riuscendo a stupirlo con alcuni veri colpi di scena, ma -soprattutto- tratteggiando in modo magistrale un mondo di gioco affascinante e misterioso, di cui però ci viene volutamente rivelato solo una parte piccolissima. Esempio perfetto di un autore che sa dire molto con poco.
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PC Gamer
I love this. Three-Card Trick is a devious piece of interactive fiction... Dark, inventive, and wonderfully written.
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Wade's Important Astrolab
Three-Card Trick manages to develop multiple dimensions of surprise and suspense over its duration, and thus, like a good magic trick, is itself surprising in a delighting way.
See the full review

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Member Reviews

5 star:
(9)
4 star:
(9)
3 star:
(5)
2 star:
(1)
1 star:
(0)
Average Rating:
Number of Reviews: 3
Write a review


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Magic tricks with a dark heart, July 19, 2017
by verityvirtue (London)
Related reviews: choleric
Groover's works are dark and delicious, and this one especially so. You are Morgan the Magnificent, the esteemed magician. Last year, your two-card tricks granted you the favour and popularity from the most influential, wealthiest patrons.

Now, however, a rival has emerged: ostentatious, flashy Ivan, and his three-card trick. Now is your chance to regain your rightful title.

Despite a carnival-like setting - one often associated with summer and fun and play - there is an unsettling undertone (why would you need guards around a group of magicians?) which hints at higher stakes than are initially stated.

Highly polished both in style and substance, Three-Card Trick once again features several parser tricks which enhance its delivery. Text is doled out to control pacing; directions are highly simplified, similar to What Fuwa Bansaku Found.

It's a delicate balancing act Three-Card Trick does. It remains one step ahead of the reader, through to the end; yet, the required actions are hinted with sufficient contextual clues - one is unlikely to get stuck for too long - to give the sense of player agency. This is a game that is well deserving of its multiple XYZZY nominations.

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A shortish, story-driven parser game about dueling magicians at an exposition, April 7, 2016
Chandler Groover has put his characteristic mark on the magician genre. The game is similar to "An Act of Misdirection" in tone and concept (where the player is forced to perform magic tricks without completely knowing how, in a grim setting). However, the focus is on atmosphere over puzzles. I felt on the edge of my seat the whole time, wavering between fear and mild disgust.

The game is about dueling magicians who will go to any length to disrupt each other. This part reminded me in a good way of The Prestige, especially as the magicians use new tricks to upstage each other and try sabotage.

The game is thoroughly polished, and credits a lot of testers for a compact game, which helps explain its smooth gameplay. I encountered no bugs, and the parser was very well-stocked with synonyms. Playing this game was like watching a thriller, with the parser so slick that it essentially disappeared, leaving the player to interact directly with the story.

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Absolute love this original, creepy work from Groover, January 17, 2017
by streever (America)
The opening feels like a farce, with an appropriate level of slapstick and humor-filled writing, before the early twist that brings this into a darker, more macabre mood.

Groover experiments with navigation frequently, and in this work, the area of play is established as a two-tiered festival ground organized in circles. On either tier, the player heads 'in' to the center, where most of the action occurs, or 'out', to the transit spot between the two tiers.

Mechanics are simple and satisfying, divided into two sets of actions. First the player must explore; second, they must perform the magic trick. Puzzles are fairly constructed and should be easy to solve, aided by well-written prose.

This is a compact, atmospheric piece which I highly recommend. It may be my favorite of Groover's work, which I hold to a high standard as it is some of the best new work appearing.

If you enjoyed Three-Card Trick...

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Recommended Lists

Three-Card Trick appears in the following Recommended Lists:

Favorite "atmosphere" games by MathBrush
These are games that are fun because of the atmosphere and plot more than the puzzles. These games are not too hard and not too easy. They generally have a big over-arching theme. I have included most horror and comedy games in other...

Polls

The following polls include votes for Three-Card Trick:

For your consideration: XYZZY-eligible Writing of 2016 by MathBrush
This is for suggesting games released in 2016 which you think might be worth considering for Best Writing in the XYZZY awards. This is not a zeroth-round nomination. The category will still be text-entry, and games not mentioned here...

For your consideration: XYZZY-eligible individual NPCs of 2016 by MathBrush
This is for suggesting games released in 2016 which you think might be worth considering for Best Individual NPC in the XYZZY awards. This is not a zeroth-round nomination. The category will still be text-entry, and games not mentioned...

Games with non-standard directions by Andrew Schultz
I'm wondering about games (primarily parser) with weird directions beyond NW/SW/SE/NE, up, down or inside/outside. I like the example in the Inform docs (Charles S. Roberts) about hexagonal directions but have no clue how to go about...

See all polls with votes for this game

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This is version 12 of this page, edited by Xavid on 26 January 2017 at 12:48am. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item