Home | Profile - Edit | Your Page | Your Inbox Browse | Search Games   |   Log In


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.)

Have you played this game?

You can rate this game, record that you've played it, or put it on your wish list after you log in.

Playlists and Wishlists

RSS Feeds

New member reviews
Updates to downloadable files
All updates to this page

Dead Like Ants

by C.E.J. Pacian profile


(based on 39 ratings)
5 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


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

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


- View the most common tags (What's a tag?)
(Log in to add your own tags)

Member Reviews

5 star:
4 star:
3 star:
2 star:
1 star:
Average Rating:
Number of Reviews: 5
Write a review

Most Helpful Member Reviews

6 of 6 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.

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A short fantasy game about anthropomorphic insects that defies IF conventions, July 20, 2015
Dead Like Ants is indeed about ants. You play an ant in red overalls sent by the queen to appease 5 creatures located on your tree.

The game uses non-standard directions (such as "widdershins") and it provides other surprises that toy with your expectations of interactive fiction.

The numerous NPC's were surprisingly charming. The writer derived inspiration from Hans Christen Andersen, Lewis Carroll, and the musical "Into the woods". The game has an overall fairy-tale feel.

Once you pass the initial surprises, the games puzzles are not very difficult. This is a game to be finished in less than half an hour. I recommend it to everybody, because it has a great effect and doesn't take long to play.

See All 5 Member Reviews

If you enjoyed Dead Like Ants...

Related Games

People who like Dead Like Ants also gave high ratings to these games:

Love, Hate and the Mysterious Ocean Tower, by C.E.J. Pacian
Average member rating: (28 ratings)

The Edifice, by Lucian P. Smith
Average member rating: (58 ratings)
"Something new in your everyday hunter-gatherer routine: where did this strange edifice come from? Dare you enter and explore the secrets of this... thing, or do you try to face your enemies? Like you have a choice." [--blurb from The...

At Wit's End, by Mike Sousa
Average member rating: (9 ratings)
"A case study of Murphy's Law in action. In-game hints available." [--blurb from Competition Aught-Zero]

Suggest a game

Recommended Lists

Dead Like Ants appears in the following Recommended Lists:

Best fantasy games by MathBrush
These are my favorite games that include some sort of magical or fantastical element. Games with mostly horror or sci-fi elements are on other lists. I've included my four favorite "High fantasy" games highest on the list (dragons,...

Favorite "atmosphere" games by MathBrush
These are games that are fun because of the atmosphere and plot more than the puzzles. These games are not too hard and not too easy. They generally have a big over-arching theme. I have included most horror and comedy games in other...


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!

I am new to interactive fiction, could anyone recommend a game for me? by Urtikor
Hello, I just recently came across interactive fiction and I want to try it out and see if it's my kind of thing. I tried Dreamhold for maybe half an hour, but even though it seemed well written, solving puzzles isn't interesting for me....

See all polls with votes for this game


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