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About the Story"Visiting Grandma and Grandpa on the farm for the weekend is not your idea of a good time. Mom has told you countless stories about the great adventures she had growing up there. Days spent feeding the chickens and pigs, and riding the horses, but that was before Grandpa got too old to work the land. Now the farm consists of barren fields, rusting equipment and empty pens." [--blurb from Competition '99]
-- Duncan Stevens
The farm is supposed to be abandoned, nonworking, and there are plenty of nicely done stray details that convey decay and neglect, such as a barn door hanging by a hinge, a rusted-out tractor with a dead battery, a groundhog-eaten garden, and a mildewed haystack. In that respect, it's a vivid setting--it's a specific rather than a generic farm. There are also lots of unexplained details, however (notably a huge ball of twine and a metal hook whose presence and function remain mysterious), and the writing is uneven at best--punctuation errors and unfortunate phrasings.
-- Duncan Stevens
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>VERBOSE -- Paul O'Brian's Interactive Fiction Page
When so many IF games take place in science-fictional or fantastic settings, it's quite refreshing to play a game that is firmly grounded in the real world. Even better than that, the setting is fully realized, to an impressive level of detail. Most all of what I call the first-level nouns (that is, nouns that are mentioned in room descriptions) are implemented with descriptions. The writing is crisp, conveying an excellent sense of place. Lots of details are present, not because they somehow serve the game's plot, but simply because they bring the farm and its environs to life more vividly. Yes, there are some problems in the writing as well. There's the occasional comma splice or punctuation stumble, and from time to time the sentences seem to lose their rhythm, foundering like a lame horse. In addition, the prose sometimes descends into a sort of juvenile, scatological humor that works against the sincere tone of the rest of the game. Despite these few flaws, in general the game's prose achieves a satisfying clarity. I grew up in suburbia, and my ancestry is decidedly urban, so I've never experienced firsthand most of the game's referents. Nonetheless, after playing On The Farm I really have a sense that I've been there.
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Number of Reviews: 2
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You're spending the weekend with grandma and grandpa on their small, old, run-down farm. There's nothing much exciting happening, and the farm doesn't even have electricity, so it looks like it is going to be a long and boring weekend. But as a game, it's actually rather enjoyable.
There is no strong main objective (perhaps except making grandma happy again), and there are no time limits or ways of getting the game into an unwinnable state (except dying), so the gameplay revolves more around exploration. The writing, though nothing to write home about, isn't bad, and the game actually succeeded in making me feel like a kid having fun exploring the old farm and the surrounding area.
The puzzles aren't very sophisticated; they're more of the 'fetch a pale of water for grandma's soup' type, and mostly not to hard. The game features short built-in hints, and the list of hints change when you move from room to room, and as you solve other puzzles. Even so, I did get stuck at one time, and had to resort to the walkthru. (The basics of what I had to to do was clear, even before looking at the hints, but exactly which command to use was not obvious, and the result of a similar action had a not very encouraging outcome.) So even sometimes the mechanics of the gameplay did disturb the story, it mostly worked well.
Before finishing this review, I'd like to add that for people using an interpreter supporting graphics, there's a very nice picture of the farm when you start the game, and a picture of a sunset when you quit or finish the game. These are the only graphics featured, and while they add a nice touch to the experience, they are in no way necessary for enjoying the game, so do go ahead and play it even if your interpreter doesn't support graphics.
To conclude, I'd like to think of the time spent playing this game as a rather enjoyable day on the farm.
A cute story about helping your grandparents make up, February 3, 2016
You explore a farm, learn about your family's history, and try to help the two of them out. The main puzzles of the game involve a battery used in three locations.
The writing was charming, the puzzles were mild, and the setting was fairly unusual for interactive fiction.
Good for fans of mildly puzzly slice of life.
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