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The Tempest

by Graham Nelson and William Shakespeare

Literary
1997

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- Audiart (Davis, CA), February 26, 2017

A narration of The Tempest, with some mild interactivity, February 3, 2016

This is a text adventure version of The Tempest. This is the entire play, just slightly reworded and split up into various pieces. As you move about the game, you unlock different conversations which get pagedumped onto the screen a line at a time.

I love the Tempest, but I didn't really enjoy reading it this way, if anything because Parchment kept scrolling to the top of the screen whenever a new line of text occurred.

You can't really do anything besides try to trigger the next section of the game. However, all of Inform's basic messages are changed around, and the parser itself is changed all around.

You play Prospero, commanding Ariel.

>VERBOSE -- Paul O'Brian's Interactive Fiction Page

The Tempest attempts a great deal, and achieves much of it despite being somewhat flawed. The work presents itself not as a game, but as an "interactive performance" which asks the player to perform as the magical will of Shakespeare's Prospero, guiding the spirit Ariel (a.k.a. the parser) through the plot of The Tempest (the play), though not necessarily in the order in which Shakespeare wrote it. Remarkably, this complicated positioning of subjectivity works quite well (and opens some unexplored territory for the mixing of first, second, and third person forms of address in IF). It is blended with a new approach to dialogue which prevents the player character from speaking at all but presents many screenfuls of dialogue between other characters (and sometimes including Ariel himself), the exchanges broken up by pausing for keystrokes between each character's lines. In a sense, the player's commands to the parser become essentially stage directions issued to an onstage persona via a magical conduit. This idiom also works beautifully, bestowing the game with a powerful aura of theatrical performance. The Tempest is entertaining and innovative; it often feels quite magical to inhabit the Prospero/Ariel connection, and to take part in a groundbreaking interactive experience. I think that the game also has great potential as an educational tool, allowing readers to experience Shakespeare's language in a new and thrilling way.

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- Walter Sandsquish, February 2, 2011

- albtraum, February 8, 2009

Baf's Guide


An adaptation of the Shakespeare play by one of the latter-day demigods of IF. While ample intelligence and creativity went into the making of the game (unsurprisingly, with Graham behind it)--the parser is completely hacked to make all the responses Elizabethan--it doesn't work very well as a game. You get long chunks of the play as cut-scenes, and the game amounts to figuring out what to do to trigger the next cut-scene--but some of the actions are so obscure that having the text of the play on hand doesn't help. Worse, you can't speak to any of the other characters, since that would presumably violate the confines of the play. The Elizabethan responses are amusing, but they're probably the best thing about this game.

-- Duncan Stevens

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