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The Cabal

by Stephen Bond profile


(based on 17 ratings)
3 member reviews

Game Details

Language: English (en)
Current Version: 3
License: Freeware
Development System: Inform 6
Baf's Guide ID: 2294
IFID: ZCODE-3-041127-3315
TUID: i8rgwxt2m2nf8fco


Nominee, Best Story - 2004 XYZZY Awards

Editorial Reviews

Healthy Paranoia
"The Cabal is a hilarious and highly polished game, one that should be played by anybody who has more than a passing interest in interactive fiction." (Greg Boettcher)
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Number of Reviews: 3
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful:
Ages badly, December 23, 2007
This game has a lot going for it in respect of craft: it's well-written by someone with a keen sense of humor; the characterizations are often amusing; though the game is quite linear, the pacing works pretty well and I rarely felt bored.

The problem with it is its huge self-indulgence. This is a work, now several years old, about contemporary rec.arts.int-fiction politics. It is peppered with endless references to newsgroup personalities and squabbles that people outside the IF community are unlikely to understand, and even for those of us who were around at the time, it ages badly. A few years down the line, it's likely to need a critical commentary to make sense.

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Went over my head, December 25, 2012
by Andromache (Hawaii)
There were times during Cabal that I laughed aloud, and the irony of the player character investigating conspiracy theories while being the very thing he was hunting was not lost on me. I appreciated that I was able to enjoy the narrative and not get bogged down by puzzles. Honestly, I wouldn't even call them puzzles. They have the veneer of puzzles, but solutions are clear and obvious if you pay attention to the writing and you're basically told what to do. (Spoiler - click to show)The twisty maze was familiar and evoked prior memories of torment. It was fitting it was part of the new Archive somehow. And the elevator puzzle, the only true one, was actually pretty intuitive after a few rounds of getting slapped. Heh. The ending didn't surprise me much. (Spoiler - click to show)You're clued early on that the player character is a bit strange, maybe not all there. The narrative is well done, and despite personally not liking the PC much, the story was short enough and the game easy enough that I was able to finish it with little effort. Parsing was excellent. No errors about not understanding what I wanted, even if the game is conversation-based for the most part. I even got the game and author references, though not the politics. Being someone who favors modern IF and IF as art form and narrative, I had a hard time getting into the mindset of the player character.

I would not replay this game. It was well-implemented, characters were stock and more plot device, but while I am enough of an IF gamer that I understood what was meant by story-based versus puzzle-based, I am not enough of an insider to appreciate the inspiration for this game and what it's poking fun at. The tie-ins with real-world conspiracy organizations helped to understand the story, but if there are any Freemasons, etc, they probably shouldn't play this. I know of RAIF, RGIF, etc, but I think this game appeals only to a small group of IF authors/players. Perhaps I could have rated the game higher if I were part of the "Cabal." :)

1 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
Entertaining and amusing, September 8, 2010
OK, I'm fairly new to IF so I probably didn't get half of the references to all of the big names. Though I've since learned a fair bit about them.

The action was well paced, never let me get bored. I did get stuck for a while on a few of the puzzles (there's not that many), but given time to relax and think about them I could work them out.

The setting and story telling in it I liked, finding it easy to immerse myself into Stephen's variation on reality. (Spoiler - click to show)I liked the many references to the Illuminatus. I'll probably play it again to see if there is much variation if I do things differently.

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The following polls include votes for The Cabal:

This Is Who We Are by Sam Kabo Ashwell
A considerable number of games exist largely as the commentary of the IF community (or some subset of it) upon the medium and the community itself. These works are likely to be befuddling to outsiders, but provide windows onto blah blah...


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