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Nominee, Best Game; Nominee, Best Story - 1997 XYZZY Awards
-- Carl Muckenhoupt
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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Number of Reviews: 4
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Most Helpful Member Reviews
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.
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.
Trying to (Spoiler - click to show)plug things in or connect them is a well-known problem with this game (see prior reviews). If you use the word "connect" by itself, you'll get a loverly TADS error. And if you type "HINTS", guess what? There aren't any! However, the ABOUT tells you that this game is not a puzzle-fest, but a story. That's cold comfort when you're left wondering what to do with the objects that you can't fit together in any way.
There are a few interesting moments that I was able to discover, but they don't make up for the dispiriting and frustrating whole.
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