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DeadLikeAnts.zip
Contains Dead Like Ants.t3
EnvComp entry
For all systems. To play, you'll need a TADS 3 Interpreter - visit tads.org for interpreter downloads. (Compressed with ZIP. Free Unzip tools are available for most systems at www.info-zip.org.)

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Dead Like Ants

by C.E.J. Pacian profile

2009

(based on 35 ratings)
3 member reviews

Game Details

Language: English (en)
First Publication Date: March 23, 2009
Current Version: 6
License: Freeware
Development System: TADS 3
Baf's Guide ID: 3188
IFID: F45B1592-DA5D-7722-45B7-100B1E55D763
TUID: x8toy0ku3y2af6se

Awards

Nominee, Best NPCs - 2009 XYZZY Awards

Editorial Reviews

Baf's Guide


A good game with a nicely fleshed out and unusual world, many Easter eggs, an interesting plot twist - and almost non-existent puzzles. The only problem I saw about it was the following. Beating the game consists of several... uhm... iterations, but the twist mentioned above becomes apparent after the first of them, so that from this point on, it's pretty clear what the rest of the iterations would be about. Also, I felt such an unusual game deserved a more unusual ending.

--Valentine Kopteltsev

Jay Is Games
The premise of Dead Like Ants seems straightforward enough: resolve the conflicts posed by the five dangerous creatures threatening the colony. This could easily become an epic quest, but Pacian chooses instead to go down a simpler, more poetic route. The game's main goal is not so much to present a steep intellectual challenge as it is to tell a story and offer a thought-provoking experience; on those counts, the game succeeds brilliantly. Pacian possesses real talents in the realms of language and characterization, and the game's insect cast in particular benefits from his (or is it her?) skills. (by Jess)
See the full review

SPAG
Dead Like Ants was a joy to play. As short and simple as it is, it packs a great deal of emotion, effortless whimsy, and a strange kind of humor which is dark yet not depressing. In the afterword, the author credits Lewis Carroll as inspiration, a muse whose contribution is powerfully felt without coming across as derivative in the slightest. And the prose is so... the only word I can think of is smooth, by which I mean that it succeeds in being elegantly sparse without sacrificing evocativeness. The parser will rarely give you a response over a line or two long, and yet each description contains all the information you need and still pulls off sounding downright pretty. (by Nate Dovel)
See the full review

Brass Lantern
EnvComp Reviews
Includes reviews of Dead Like Ants by Greg Boettcher, Stephen Granade, Jon Ingold, Jacqueline A. Lott, Mike Roberts, Dan Shiovitz, Lucian Smith, Mike Sousa, Duncan Stevens and Jake Wildstrom.
See the full review

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Member Reviews

5 star:
(7)
4 star:
(16)
3 star:
(12)
2 star:
(0)
1 star:
(0)
Average Rating:
Number of Reviews: 3
Write a review


5 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
Surreal, Dark, Beautiful, April 12, 2010
by Danielle (The Wild West)
This wasn't what I expected when I picked it up. I figured some kind of game about ants, maybe being tortured by people...perhaps like ANT BULLY: THE TEXT ADVENTURE.

Instead I got this really strange piece with insects anthropomorphized into beings more like people (a widow, a lawyer, a damsel, not a spider, slug, and damselfly); more importantly, I got a tale of twisted tenderness and ambiguous triumph.

The navigation was a little strange ("sunwards" and "widdershins" replace some traditional directions), but once I got that figured out, interacting with the other characters was...interesting. After a number of encounters, you start (Spoiler - click to show)wondering how THIS daughter is going to die. It puts the reader/player in an interesting position, to (Spoiler - click to show)root for your character's demise, so you can "win".

That (Spoiler - click to show)"repeated-death-to-gain-victory" mechanic would be all well and good, but it's the epilogue (Spoiler - click to show)from the Queen's point of view that elevates it from "a strange tale" to "a strangely beautiful tale."

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful:
Beautiful if slight little game, November 23, 2009
by Victor Gijsbers (The Netherlands)
Dead Like Ants is the only game I know of that uses cylindrical coordinates rather than compass directions, which is logical when the protagonist is an ant living in a tree. More interesting than the physical environment, however, is the social environment of an (anthropomorphic) ant colony, with its lack of individualism. If ant colonies produced literature, it might look like Dead Like Ants.

The game is short and polished, and combines atmosphere and message into an enjoyable package. The gameplay, however, is definitely on the slight side: it consists mostly of exploration, but the exploration becomes predictable rather quickly. Nevertheless, it is recommended.

2 of 7 people found the following review helpful:
A nice and easy game. Twisting usual IF conventions., April 6, 2009
by flap
And here is a new good game by E.C.J. Pacian.
For those who finished "Gun Mute" and have been very surprised but the main characters motives, don't worry lads ! Even if some characters might quickly surprise you, you won't be brought on the same trend which might not be yours.

There definitally are a few things that E.C.J. is good at : First, twisting the conventions of IF.
The geography is quite unusual, but simple and very effective in that story.
The main mecanism of the game is also quite unexpected. Hopefully, the author added some warnings in the "About" sections, to encourage the player when things look terribly wrong : It is likely that it actually is the way to go.

Secondly, E.C.J. also shows a great ability at describing ambivalent characters. When I started playing, I was afraid of seeing very cliché antropomorphism. Oh yes, for sure there is antropomorphism. But it is perfectly well assumed and brought in a fresh and crispy way. Some simple details, but described with great consistency throughout the game, make perfectly clear the dual nature of the characters.

So, in the end, it is a nice and simple game, to be played in one hour. The story might have you to think a bit once finished. But it failed to create much emotion to me.

However, before my last turn, and feeling the end coming, I thought to myself "Geee, this would make a nice introduction for a bigger story !"

If you enjoyed Dead Like Ants...

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Polls

The following polls include votes for Dead Like Ants:

Oh, You BEAST: Games where you're an animal! by Ghalev
I know of a small handful of games where you play a beast, and I want to know of more. (By beast I mean a cat, a dog, a chicken, an orangutan, that kind of thing ... not looking for mythical monsters and not looking for part-timers, so...

Best Endings by Marshal Tenner Winter
I need help with my endings in my works so I'm asking for any suggestions for games that have great finales, denouements, and/or epilogues, so that I may study what others have done. Thanks!

Emotional IF by Sorrel
I'm looking for IF that inspires one or more strong emotions in the player – an IF that pulls on your heartstrings a little.

See all polls with votes for this game

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This is version 9 of this page, edited by Edward Lacey on 23 April 2013 at 3:57am. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item