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by Martin Bays


(based on 17 ratings)
2 member reviews

Game Details

Language: English (en)
Current Version: 1
License: Freeware
Development System: Inform 6
Baf's Guide ID: 1916
IFID: ZCODE-1-020927-6D05
TUID: rl2xdcgxy0t66x9j


Nominee, Best Individual Puzzle - 2002 XYZZY Awards

19th Place - 8th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2002)

Editorial Reviews


If I had to describe this game in one word, I would pick "crazy." This game, or series of mini-games, is wacky. Yes, it makes some sort of weird sense, but you will probably only get a headache trying to figure it all out. No, it is not confusing. The stories or sections in themselves are easily understood. Trying to put all of them together and figure out what the author's point is will drive you crazy, so just sit back and enjoy the ride.
-- Tony Baechler
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>VERBOSE -- Paul O'Brian's Interactive Fiction Page

[T]his is an excellent work of IF, and a fascinating metatreatise on "puzzleless" IF in general.
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Number of Reviews: 2
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A bizarre anthology of three point-making philosophical games, February 3, 2016
This is a game of mini-games. As the author says, each of the three short games are unrelated except by concept. Each game strives to make a philosophical point by putting constraints on the user.

The games vary in enjoy ability. One of the games was actually quite enjoyable, with dynamic constraints. The other two were not very exciting.

The writing is melodramatic; it really reminded me of what you might expect if you told a university English class to "write something deep". It's hard to tell, though, if the author is doing this purposely or not, which is a point in the game's favor.

There is unnecessary profanity in the first game, a strange departure from the tone of the rest of the game.

For those who have played through all three games and read all of the author's additional notes and material:

(Spoiler - click to show)There is a fourth "endgame" which, I believe, is what the author refers to when he says part of the game is inspired by House of Leaves. At first, I really enjoyed this game, but then I began to realize that the game seems to place the new staircase only when a large percentage of the map has been explored, and then places it in the unexplored spot closest to the entryway. Because of the House of Leaves reference, I do not believe this puzzle is intended to be solved.

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
More of a philosophical art piece than interactive fiction, January 5, 2016
by Janice M. Eisen (Portland, Oregon)
Constraints is a metagame composed of three short chapters and a z-abusing finale. It is, for the most part, very well written, and it provokes thought about free will and whether everything is futile. I wouldn't say it was fun, but it's worth playing through to appreciate the experience.

The best section is the third, because there are more things to try, even if in the end the lesson is the same. I gave up on the final section after I realized that (Spoiler - click to show)the Rogue-like dungeon never ends, there's nothing to do apart from map it, and it's designed so that the next staircase doesn't appear until you've mapped most of a level. Certainly in line with the rest of the game, but no less frustrating for all that.

Your attitude toward the "game" will probably depend on your tolerance for frustration. It's an interesting and worthy experiment.

If you enjoyed Constraints...

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The following polls include votes for Constraints:

Fate vs Free Will Games by loocas
I imagine that the interactive nature of IF would allow themes of fate and free will to be used powerfully. Perhaps the PC is given a glimpse of his or her future and the player tries to avoid it. Are there games in which this is done?...

Autonomic narration by Artran
I'd like to discover more games like Photopia, Rameses or Glass, in which the narration is rather independent on a player, and in which the interaction is somewhat limited because of strong characterisation and lack of real puzzles. In...

Non-human Perspectives by Tigrita
I'm looking for IF narrated by aliens, animals, anything.

See all polls with votes for this game


This is version 3 of this page, edited by Edward Lacey on 17 April 2013 at 4:59am. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item