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The Fire Tower

by Jacqueline A. Lott profile

Slice of life / Travel
2004

Web Site

(based on 22 ratings)
3 member reviews

Game Details

Language: English (en)
Current Version: 1
License: Freeware
Development System: Inform 6
Baf's Guide ID: 2689
IFID: ZCODE-1-040528-A34D
TUID: fcm1ikz9ttr6i99a

Awards

Best of Show, Landscape - 2004 IF Art Show

Winner, Best Setting - 2004 XYZZY Awards

Editorial Reviews

Brass Lantern
For the time I spent playing it - it didn't take much more than fifteen minutes from start to finish - it was interesting enough to hold my attention, although that was partly because I kept thinking "there has to be more to it than simply wandering from place to place" and right up to the last bit, I was expecting some kind of puzzle to spring itself upon me. When it didn't, and then the game ended, I was left with the feeling that while it had held my interest for fifteen minutes, it wouldn't have kept me glued to the screen for much longer.
See the full review

SPAG
The first, powerful impact is of a beautiful landscape beautifully presented. It's tempting to describe sweeping scenes with flowery prose but the author resists that temptation. The text is sparse and transparent; it doesn't get in the way of the country depicted and everything is described with an infectious enthusiasm. I was left feeling relaxed, as though I'd been there, at least in part. I presume that was the main objective of the piece, so it's a success from the first play through.

That sense of "being there" is enhanced by the sheer interactivity of the piece. Faced with something that says, in essence, "See how interactive I am!" I start to verb the nouns. This setting is deeply implemented. Almost everything can be examined, heard, smelled, felt and tasted. I know more about Appalachian flora now than I did before playing.
See the full review

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Member Reviews

5 star:
(1)
4 star:
(11)
3 star:
(6)
2 star:
(3)
1 star:
(1)
Average Rating:
Number of Reviews: 3
Write a review


9 of 10 people found the following review helpful:
An Evocative, Real World Journey, September 26, 2009
by C.E.J. Pacian (England)
Knowing that The Fire Tower was an entry in the IF Art Show, and was praised for its environment, I was kind of expecting a game with a huge number of meticulously described scenery objects - something that I'd find a chore to get through. With this unfortunate expectation set in my mind, my first experiences with this game were a little confusing. There weren't that many things to examine - although they were very nicely described - and when I typed LOOK to remind myself of what there was I found the locations' descriptions to be abbreviated to a brief summary that focused on the exits.

That's when I realised that I needed to take The Fire Tower on its own terms. This is a game about hiking a route that the author is familiar with through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. While it is possible to stop and smell the flowers and run your hands through the waters of Tom's Creek, the most significant interaction in this game is simply moving and reading the description for the next location.

I'm sure that for many players this is too little interaction and too linear a journey, but if you're not looking to solve puzzles or map rooms, if you're quite happy to just read succinct and evocative descriptions of a real world place and your movement through it, then I think this game is in fact very substantial, in its own way.

One thing that makes The Fire Tower stand out to me, from a lot of other IF games, is not just that it's firmly grounded in everyday life, but that it feels like a very personal story. I'm sure that in reality this is a careful fictionalisation of the author's real journeys, but it's full of great little details - stopping to adjust your socks, for example - that very much convey a lived experience.

Depending on what you look for in IF, you may find The Fire Tower to be a very flimsy game. But if you're looking for ambience and a sense of place, you'll find them here in rich abundance.

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
A walk in the park?, July 16, 2011
by Aintelligence (Canada)
Being an enthusiastic hiker, the idea of this game really appealed to me. Not nessicerily as a game in itself, but more in the idea of creating a virtual hike. Honestly I was slightly surprised that even an attempt of a surreal hike was even made. I was curious about how much more text could picture a days hike than say, a video game.

Well, to start off, I was expecting a little bit more implementation more verbs, and examines, which in my opinion would have made the experience way more enjoyable. As it turns out there are very many herbs unimplimented (which may be just as well; it is if art anyhow), but what was really annoying was how few 'x' verbs there were. It just didn't work well having just general descriptions and a bare minimum af 'x' verbs. I wanted to be able to take in the scene, but instead, it was more 2-dimensional than i would have liked. Sort of like listening to a book read by Microsoft Sam. Blandish.

The parts that were implemented were well done though, and rather relaxing really. The descriptions were artistic enough to be fun and not a complete bore. Not a bad substitute for a hike in the park if you're stuck inside on a rainy day.

3.5 stars

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Good in all ways, April 25, 2013
by Marsh (Oxfordshire, UK)
I wrote the attached SPAG review, so won't add to that here.

If you enjoyed The Fire Tower...

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Recommended Lists

The Fire Tower appears in the following Recommended Lists:

Puzzle-less or puzzle-light by Felix Pleșoianu
The relative importance of puzzles in IF is a matter of some contention. But there's no doubt that puzzleless IF *can* be great. Here are some examples.

Games for beginners by Eric Eve
Many of the games in this list are ones I enjoyed as a beginner, but the main aim of this list is to suggest games that are reasonably short and not too hard (so that enjoyment should generally exceed frustration!), and which should...

Richly simulated worlds by Emily Short
IF in which the setting is especially deeply simulated, especially works that implement traditionally difficult systems (fire, liquid, ropes, recording devices, etc).

See all lists mentioning this game

Polls

The following polls include votes for The Fire Tower:

No Mazes, please! by AndyC
I am a returning player to IF (which I loved 30 years ago) having recently discovered the fantastic Frotz for the iPad. Looking at some of the old games again has really blown me away. I don't enjoy drawing maps but I love reading good...

NPC-less Exploration by Dannii
Supposedly one of IFs strengths is for exploring places with few other people, often abandoned places, but I can't think of many works which have zero NPCs and consist of a lot of exploration. Usually there's at least one NPC, or the...

Games with accurate (present or historical) settings by Emily Short
I'm looking for works in the general spirit of The Fire Tower or 1893: they can be puzzly or not, have a story or not, but they should attempt to represent a real-world setting as accurately as possible, and in some detail.

See all polls with votes for this game

Links




This is version 7 of this page, edited by Jacqueline A. Lott on 14 April 2013 at 4:50pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item