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For all systems. To play, you'll need a TADS 2 Interpreter - visit tads.org for interpreter downloads.
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by David Welbourn

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by Nate Cull

Science Fiction

(based on 65 ratings)
5 member reviews

About the Story

You play as a xenohistorian on an expedition. You've been dropped (more literally than you planned) by a dropship over the ground of the Ancients. Your equipment was scattered and the dropship crashed. Now it's just you, your wits, and the Ancients to help you find a way home.

Game Details

Language: English (en)
Current Version: Release 1
License: Freeware
Development System: TADS 2
Baf's Guide ID: 247
IFID: TADS2-0009C6BD11F41112184F6ABF6D179F4E
TUID: b1xy3s75cjlty973


Nominee, Best Game; Nominee, Best Story - 1997 XYZZY Awards

3rd Place - 3rd Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (1997)

Editorial Reviews

Baf's Guide

A xenohistorical expedition to recover artifacts of "the Ancients" takes on a surprisingly human and personal tone in this far-future sci-fi story. Simple Planetfall-like puzzles, thoughtful prose that establishes moods with parsimony. Short but not rushed. Well worth playing.

-- Carl Muckenhoupt

A Brief Flash
The story packs a huge punch for such a small game, covering as it does themes of hope for humanity and for the individual. (Jonathan Rosebaugh)
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Post-apocalyptic IF? There hasn't been any, in my memory -- A Mind Forever Voyaging is the only thing that comes close -- but there's no reason why there couldn't be, and Nate Cull's Glowgrass, small but well-conceived, is certainly an interesting attempt. Though the game itself has some flaws, the story is intriguing enough to make it enjoyable. (Duncan Stevens)
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>VERBOSE -- Paul O'Brian's Interactive Fiction Page

Glowgrass is a well-written game with a pleasantly creepy aura, a pleasurable way to spend a couple of hours and hopefully a prelude to more quality work.
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Member Reviews

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Number of Reviews: 5
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Most Helpful Member Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Clunky mechanics but engaging game, June 6, 2013
by Andromache (Hawaii)
This was an easy game with an engaging premise, exploring an Ancient ruin. Indeed, there are no real puzzles in the game except maybe at the very beginning to get into the compound. There's a touch of horror to the story, but I wouldn't consider it disgusting. More...unnatural. Not enough to be severely unsettling, though.

There are some parsing hiccups along the way, but I found they were mostly surrounding one particular game item, (Spoiler - click to show)the cable. However, the parser does helpfully provide the correct verb if you try to take the object but can't manipulate it. (Spoiler - click to show)"Attach" and "connect," plus related antonyms, should have been implemented, but the problem can also be solved by referring to specific sockets you want to put the cable in. The real trouble with the gameplay is more about having to perform actions one by one. Like, you can't just head in the direction of a door. You have to perform each step individually, which is rather annoying after getting used to more modern games.

Jerkiness aside, the game was still easy enough to get through with no hints and my only major complaint is really that the story is kind of unresolved. I'm a bit confused about the ending. The author says material had to be cut out to make the game fit the parameters of the competition, and perhaps the story resolution was that material, but I'd be interested in seeing an epilogue.

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
Nice setting, August 25, 2009
The best thing about Glowgrass is the setting. It's an interesting premise, though sparsely implemented, that does a pretty good job of drawing you in.

The environment is pretty small, and the puzzles for the most part are quite simple - though as another reviewer mentioned, there are some flaws in the implementation. For example, if you throw x at y, you are told that you can't reach y with just your hands! (Spoiler - click to show)The really irritating part is that you ARE supposed to throw x at y... but if you specify the target, you're screwed.

The conversational mechanic is also a little unintuitive - if you're having trouble, just realize there's an ABOUT keyword, and it's crucial.

If you don't get caught on the rough edges in the mechanics, Glowgrass will probably only take you 15 or 30 minutes to finish, if that. It's worth playing.

Cute, short sci-fi game with great NPC and setting, July 1, 2015
This game was very enjoyable, chiefly because it took a very different direction than I thought it would. It is a short sci-fi puzzle with some moderately difficult puzzles. It took less than 45 minutes to complete.

As others describe in their reviews, I had some guess-the-verb trouble and got stuck on one puzzle because I was too impatient.

This game has an NPC that I found much more emotionally interesting than just about any other NPC in a game. I found that the Club Floyd transcript had a few helpful comments from the game's author that clarified the ending. Wonderful game.

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Recommended Lists

Glowgrass appears in the following Recommended Lists:

All-time favorites by Felix Pleșoianu
No common thread here... Turns out, I like all kinds of games. Even some puzzlefests.

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These are my current favorites.

Annotated list of best sci-fi games by MathBrush
A few months ago, I thought, "There really aren't that many sci-fi IF games". Then I started going through old games I had played, and downlaoded TADS, and was shocked at how many great sci-fi games there are. This is a list of my...

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The following polls include votes for Glowgrass:

Apocalypse How by katz
Post-apocalyptic games: equal parts cliche and fun. Authors are free to dispense with pesky NPCs, complicated modern technology, and implementing working everyday items. Players can have no inhibitions about acting like murderous...

Games for Beginners by WriterBob
I'm looking for games that are suited for adults who are new to IF. My purpose is to share these games with friends and let them get experience IF without being frustrated by mazes or guess-the-verb issues. Please avoid children's games....

Best sci-fi games by Ant-Fan
I'm looking for games from the sci-fi genre. I would prefer classic-style games, even if they're not classics (such as 'Across The Stars') because one of my all-time favorites is Planetfall, but really, anything goes.

See all polls with votes for this game


This is version 5 of this page, edited by David Welbourn on 1 September 2015 at 3:30pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item