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About the StoryIt looks different in the dark.
You're eight years old. You wake up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, but you soon realize that not everything is as it seems in the house tonight. Where has everyone gone? Your family is missing and strange things are lurking in the shadows. Night House is an atmospheric text adventure about things that go bump in the night.
The Breakfast Review
The puzzle design is cunningly done; there's also a bit of playing with the player's expectations with regard to who the protagonist actually is. I found that revelation quite delicious. A lot of the imagery was also nicely creepy without running over into over-the-top grotesquerie.
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You are a child wandering around a house at night; the environment (at least at first) is the standard NPC-free house with furniture and objects, but effectively conjures up the eerieness of ordinary things in the dark when you're young. The setting was especially effective to me because it's set not just during childhood, but specifically my childhood, circa 1990-ish: late-eighties action figures, late-eighties game systems, floppy disk computer, Trapper Keepers. Someone older or younger wouldn't find this as instantly relatable, but it worked for me.
Later on you encounter more explicit horror elements, and a sense of ongoing realization that something is off, not just with the house, but with you, and your assumptions about yourself.
This one is written in Quest, a rarely-used format despite its ease of use (for simple stuff, anyway) and some of its nifty features, like the automap. It also provides you with a compass rose, a list of objects, and actions you can do with those objects. I made my first couple of games using Quest and went to some trouble to turn off the suggested actions because I wanted a plain parser game, but they're quite good at making the game accessible; you can do 90% of what you need to do in this game using only a mouse. It's a structure Detectiveland also used to excellent effect.
The remaining 10% is where players are likely to get stuck: there are several places where you have USE things together or GIVE objects using the parser, and the game hasn't trained you to think of that as an option. (There are some places you need to ASK, too, but you're fairly well prompted about what you need to do.) There aren't any actual bugs in the finished version (that I could find), but some of the puzzle solutions are pretty obscure. Most players will likely need to resort to the walkthrough.
(IMPORTANT NOTE: download this one and play it offline if you possibly can! Many players have reported their online sessions being ruined by the hosting site timing out.)
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This is version 6 of this page, edited by Doug Orleans on 17 December 2016 at 10:19pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item