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About the Story"You are the sole remaining inhabitant of an artificial world above a bizarre, inhospitable earth. A feral child raised by robots, you have just discovered the central computer of your Habitat, and unravelled the tale of a terrible catastrophe. But there is hope. Your task, as the heir to the human race, is to gather the data left in cold storage in the computers of the Caelan Cylinder, and from the icy landscape therein. You will face the wild processes of dead elemental minds, and see many maddening things in your journey through a landscape crawling with material informatics... all on a quest to create a future."
Icepunk is an experimental work combining a procedurally generated world, prefabricated content, non-linear exploration, public domain literature and social media excerpts - to probe the possibilities of Interactive Fiction.
31st Place - 20th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2014)
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First, the interesting stuff. Icepunk features a procedurally generated landscape, represented on an ASCII map. Likewise, each setting is illustrated with ASCII art. I'm sure this took effort.
Data, in Icepunk's setting, takes myriad forms. Some comes from the lingering traces of mechanical life - ice golems, families and so forth - but in building your future, you must destroy them. Data also comes in the form of excerpts from (public domain) books and, in one memorable instance, tweets (which nets you '5 TB of Frivolous data'...).
However, where Icepunk is weaker is its reliance on lawn-mowering. You have to make repeated trips out into the wastes and return to your home base to deposit the data in the central computer - this is not in itself anything bad, but there seems to be little enough variation in the landscape that regions start feeling homogenous. Also, you can only travel by clicking on a map symbol adjacent to where you are - making travel back to your home base at best, mundane; at worst, frustrating. The delay that I encountered in loading the page only added to the frustration. I imagine this would deter people from playing it through to completion.
Nonetheless, Icepunk is an interesting experiment in exploration in IF, one which gives a different meaning to 'datamining', even if it was let down by tedium.
(This was first published here: https://verityvirtue.wordpress.com/2016/02/03/icepunk)
A long, procgen graphical twine game about data stored in a frozen world, August 16, 2016
You've been tasked with converting the ice into data to restore the futture. Equipped with a gauntlet that converts material into data. Yo7 have to collect 100TB of data, requiring ten separate trips into a large graphical map of a region.
There seems to be an alternate mission besides the obvious one, with an environmental bent, but I just used the gauntlet to win. The ending was fun, but a bit underwhelming.
Overall, I found the game slow on mobile, and the grinding repetitive. Despite this, I enjoyed the game and will play again.
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