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About the Story"A rewrite of Matt Barringer's incredibly bad game "Detective", this game was ported to Inform and subjected to treatment with Mystery Science Theater 3000 sarcasm. This version is the Silver Screen edition which includes some highly amusing stuff about the game."
[--blurb from The Z-Files Catalogue]
4th Place, Inform Division - First Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (1995)
-- Carl Muckenhoupt
What makes this the perfect target is that while Detective is far from the worst text adventure ever, it’s a great example of My First Text Adventure Syndrome. The plot is nonsensical, the writer clearly never even drew a map of his world, and rooms were patently slapped together without any kind of plan or understanding of how to write a text adventure. The MST3K version doesn’t fix problems like the chief’s introduction speech being baked into the room description and thus constantly repeated, but it reacts to them all – broken directions, bizarre situations, and the Mayor’s dreaded hallways.
-- Richard Cobbett
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[...] as it stands it's an old, bad game being subjected to ridicule. The robots while incredibly annoying are probably the best thing about this game, as at times their comments can sum up your feelings very well.
-- Nick Edmunds
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Number of Reviews: 5
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Most Helpful Member Reviews
Anyone who has ever been so excited to create an IF work that they dove head-first and made the game up as they went along will cringe deliciously - not only at how terrible the original game is, but how representative it is of those initial creations. Certainly, part of the amusement is at Barringer's expense (although he readily cops to how poorly written it was, and seems to take it with a grain of salt), but at least for this reviewer, an equal part of the amusement is the realization that it's no worse than what I've done; there but for the grace of God go I.
The original game is worth playing just for its infuriating unplayability, and at least has the excuse that it was made by a kid who put a minimal amount of work into this under-implemented and poorly constructed game. MST3k:Detective, on the other hand, is made by competent adults with obvious coding experience, so there is no excuse for it being as awful as it is.
If you feel like getting a kick out of playing Detective, just play the original and shake your head in wonder at its badness while inserting your own frustrated exclamations in the necessary places. You will have a much better laugh if you experience Detective firsthand and run the commentary in your own mind.
The authors of the MST3K version decided to make a parody where they play through with their commentary during the game. Usually, I would feel that it is pretty mean-spirited, but the game includes an interview with the author where he says that he's fine with this version of the game, and that he's a fan of Mystery Science Theatre.
The game is mostly fun because of its unusual format. It only really needs one playthrough; after that, you just hear the same comments over and over again, so there's not much replay value.
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In the spirit of Mystery Science Theater 3000, some games were so bad that somebody decided to come along and spoof them. Not all of them work on all interpreters, but it's good to play through each one for a few laughs.
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