Reviews by madducksView this member's profile
View this member's reviews by tag: IF Comp 1995 IF Comp 2005 Speed-IF -1 1-10 of 10
The premise seems in part that you are in a buggy game, similar to Undo by Neil deMause. There's nothing very interesting here. I had to read the source code for the solution. I'm not giving this one a star rating because I don't think this was meant as anything other than a joke and example. The only information I was able to find was from the minicomp entry on the wiki, which mentions:
"Authors were asked to submit both games plus their source code, so future IF authors could have example code to look at."
I'd pass on this unless you're specifically looking for inform 6 source code examples.
I was ignorant of the above during my first play-through and felt like the premise was the setup for a joke that never delivers a punch line.
Barrett's take on the requirements was to have the PC interrogate the three characters after their peculiar heist. It was fairly easy to exhaust the conversation tree and thereby win, but I never connected all the dialogue into a coherent story. It may have helped to know something about "Hank Buzzcrack".
Over all it seemed like the ludicrous situation and combination of characters was meant to carry the humor and deliver a few chuckles, but for this reviewer that never happened.
The minimal narrative frame is only given lip-service, and in fact at one point the fourth-wall came crashing down in front of me as I tried to examine the time machine and was told that "Its [sic] far beyond your ability to comprehend. Of course, as is typical of these adventure games, that isn't going to stop you from using it, now is it?" The introduction has a list of mysteries that never get answered or mentioned again. Additionally, the entire game has an unmentioned time-limit framed as a hunger puzzle, to which there is no solution. Even though this game is short, I completed it in half an hour, I recommend that all but the most die-hard completionists skip this one.
The only sign of the hand of man [...]
The line starts like a race horse threatened with milk wagon.
This world-famous fishing hole is this state's best kept secret.
But I do not mean to imply that the game is bad. For a subject of which I have absolutely no interest, I found it charming, well-implemented, and an extremely short diversion (replaying with no extraneous moves, I completed the game in 24 turns). Modern players may find it a bit shallow and dated, but I found that “The One” was very playable for its age and recommend at least trying it if you are looking for a short diversion.
"And there I wept as though my tears had never flown, I added to the waters around me through the pumps we call eyes."
The whole game is written in first person, past tense, and that probably works better than being told in second person that “you are crying” or that you hate the ex of your ex. Aesthetically, this was the game’s only good decision.
This is important because for me, at least, “On Optimism” fails entirely for aesthetic reasons. I found few overt typing or spelling errors (though plenty of clumsy phrasing, mismatching numbers and tense problems), I encountered only one bug, near the end of the game, which does not effect your ability to complete it, and in fact most people probably wouldn’t notice or encounter during a normal play-through. So in many regards it would appear that Mr. Lane did all the right things: he had beta testers, he clearly spent some time putting everything together and making things work.
But it does not work. The PC is practically a cipher except for the fact that he feels quite sorry for himself and he seems to at once worship his former girlfriend as perfect, while in the same scene he is examining physical embodiments of her flaws and lamenting them (despite this she is hardly characterized any better or with more specificity). There is no indication that the protagonist is intentionally written this way to make a point or illustrate a real character, or that the work intends to be anything more than an emotive description of a breakup. I would not recommend playing this one.
> examine you
to examine the narrator. The game is perhaps excessively verbose, but the quality of the writing keeps the extended passages from becoming too tedious. By the end of the game though I was pretty tired of the unrelenting resentment of the narrator.
Overall it's worth playing, it is extremely short and the pastiche of exaggerated tones and genres make a surprisingly rich texture, even if the end result is a bit jarring. If nothing else, the quotes preceding the game a worth are brief chuckle.
This might be of interest to puzzle aficionados and children, but probably too difficult for the latter and bit ordinary for the former.
This game had it's clever moments and successfully emulated the attitude of the source material and contains some pretty clever puzzles. Unfortunately this game also shows its age with very sparse implementation. I felt like the author passed up a lot of opportunity to write funny room descriptions in the style of Elmer Fudd, but alas, most of what happens in the text of the game is mere reference to the style of the cartoons it's based on.
The map alternates wildly between ecosystems (in one room you're in the forest, in the next, a desert mesa), but this could be accredited to cartoon logic. However most of the Warner Brothers cartoons I watched as a kid would feature one or two of our favorite characters and would keep a fairly consistent setting, maybe switching between the woods and interior of a house, at most. Most of the puzzles existed blatantly outside of the story, just as set pieces.
This game is based on a pretty neat premise with some potential for innovative work, overall though I would've hoped for more. I think most modern players would find it pretty underwhelming.
I was going to say quite a bit about the writing, which had some promise, but the following quote from the about text of the game pretty much removes the need to add anything to this review:
"I know this game is not very good; It even disappoints me.
I am not going to release a better version of this game, though."
The game is a puzzle-fest, however it is small and sufficiently clued such that playing without a walkthrough or built-in hints is possible. I found the largely grid-like world map and hollow nature of the world and characterization to be off-putting, but overall the puzzles were satisfying and the game is kept together very neatly. It was just long enough, I don't think the game would have been sustainable for much longer.
Overall I recommend it as a fun diversion, it took me approximately an hour to complete.
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