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Reviews by Aintelligence

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Glass, by Emily Short

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful:
saw right through this one! just kidding, January 10, 2011
by Aintelligence (Canada)
Emily Short always has a knack of spinning fairy tales into a fantastic, twisted story. Glass is no exception. Instead of completely spinning the story (like Alabaster for example), the story is unique because instead of playing Cinderella, or the prince, or even the stepmother, the viewpoint is through the family parrot.

Even with the shortness of the story, the characters were well crafted and developed throughout. Through the whole game, the characteristics of the characters really come to life with the writing. Very quirky writing helps keep the story's plot with idle, but humorous chitchat creating a good backdrop. It is also short and charming enough that I played it numerous times.

The game is short and has a fairly simple idea, but the story itself is remarkably complex. Instead of puzzlezs or mazes, the story is entirely based on the powers of speech, in this case from a bird. It is really incredible to see the imagination put into this making a few simple phrases from the bird can cause so many different outcomes. Phrases are not exactly many, but there are enough provided, that no story will be completely the same. Also helpful (but ot really nessicery because of the short length), is the phrase hints which tell you what phrase may work here. Of course they do provide a way to find as many outcomes as possible.

Not too much was changed in this fairy tale, but with the extra backdrop, well crafted character and unique perspective, it was something new and exciting. Might I add it was very 'glassy'.

1981, by Anonymous

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful:
Skeleton of a game, January 6, 2011
by Aintelligence (Canada)
I was expecting a game with a lot more charm, genius, and originality, because of the author, but instead I discovered an IF grave. It isn't as if this game doesn't have potential either. The story could definitely be developed upon with the style he is so good at, but the truth is, the story wasn't developed further, and the frame is all that is there.

In the first place, the story was extremely linear. No use of the brain was needed at all to complete the adventure. And being linear isn't a bad thing (indeed such games as Photopia are linear but spectacular), but such a story cannot be so restricted that It doesn't matter what you do. Descriptions were bland and rather tasteless with very little to look at except just what the author wanted you to do, and indeed there were very little objects or actions which could be used.

Characters were one thing the story did a fairly neat job on, especially the protagonist. The knowledge of the protagonist was well structured and developed to give you a slight chill at being this person. Other characters though, were not developed and remained 2 dimensional throughout. The game could have been quite something, but as for now: R.I.P.

Pick Up the Phone Booth and Aisle, by David Dyte, Steve Bernard, Dan Shiovitz, Iain Merrick, Liza Daly, John Cater, Ola Sverre Bauge, J. Robinson Wheeler, Jon Blask, Dan Schmidt, Stephen Granade, Rob Noyes, and Emily Short

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
You have migrated!, December 22, 2010
by Aintelligence (Canada)
Of the 'phone booth franchise', it's not too difficult to see that this one is the best, especially with so many people involved in the production. Like the other games, I started by lifting the booth to see what happened, and after, I got a little bit more adventurous with the phrasing. The game, although very short, was obviously very well developed with an outcome for almost anything I put. Furthermore, the outcomes of the phrases were a real riot and very witty. Unlike pick up the booth and dye, pick up the booth and die 2, and pick up the booth and dye etc. Etc. Etc., this game offers sustained amusement as opposed to a one-gag game. I often play this game when I'm bored just to see how many paths I can find. Very repayable and funny.

Along with Aisle, this game is a fun one turner to play (Spoiler - click to show)well, two at most... and should not be missed.

Photopia, by Adam Cadre

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
Brilliant, breathtaking, and deserving the praise. , December 20, 2010
by Aintelligence (Canada)
When I first noticed Photopia and it's popularity as an IF, I was very sceptical.  I was even more skeptical because the first part of gameplay was about two drunk guys swearing and drinking.  I thought, "Great! Another IF made in under an hour by two teens after a party.". I hardly gave it a chance at all, but continued reading to see where the fuss was about.

I can't tell you how much my heart changed during the story.  It starts out just a fragmentation of perspectives and story lines in no particular order, but as the story progresses, I became aware quite suddenly that the story had logic, thoughtfulness, and was so deep.  At certain points of the story (Spoiler - click to show) the part where the father is explaining about the stars to Alley, the place where you begin to fly, and the actual death of Alley I was really moved by the emotional writing and the ability of the writer to draw tears from me.  And yes, I admit, I did cry a few tears.

Really the one character which was focused on was Alley, but through different people (Spoiler - click to show)well of course there was also the spaceman, but that was invoked by Alley the personally changes really strengthened Alley's character, by showing her out of the eyes of many people around her.  Some argue her character is too robotic; being 'perfect' at everything and unrealistic, but I, on the other hand, do not feel this way at all.  Alley is not unrealistic at all.  The author keeps her very alive through the many perspectives.  I would argue that instead of being unrealistic, she is just not ordinary, in a world where ordinary sometimes means, well, like the two at the beginning of Photopia.  Alley's attitude and character make her not impossible, but a gem.  (Spoiler - click to show) The changing of perspectives was used very well to portray Alley, and to make us care about her death.  The story showed how unfair it was that such a person could be killed by pure carelessness, and was not only well-written, but had a strong moral



The story has few puzzles and the puzzles it does have are hardly worth being called puzzles at all.  However, in a broader perspective, the whole thing is one giant puzzle which you have to solve.  Slowly piecing the tiny bits and paragraphs, you have to interpret what is going on through a number of perspectives.  I believe that is what non-puzzle IF is all about; trying to determine the significance of the story you're reading through the characters, setting, and interaction. In my opinion,  Photopia was (and is) *the* driving force for modern non-puzzle gameplay as well as modern interest for Interactive Fiction.  I have not seen a non-puzzle IF come close to as good as Photopia, and I have certainly not played anything that is so emotional.

Photopia is (as stated in the title) Brilliant, breathtaking, and deserving the praise. 

Escape Into Fiction, by M27

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Gone with the wind, December 20, 2010
by Aintelligence (Canada)
There's not to much I can say about this one except that it was so incredibly brutal to Play. There was no freedom whatsoever in the game play, the author just deciding to go wherever the heck they wanted to take the reader. Some of the puzzles were so unfair to do. They just ended being a verb guessing game, which got to be very frustrating after the millionth word combination used. I said it was bad, but with som major renovations and phrase additions it could actually be something.

Legion, by Jason Devlin

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful:
Space-tastic (ok I couldn't think of a good title), December 17, 2010
by Aintelligence (Canada)
As you can see with the rather corny title, this game had a really good impact on me. At first, I had no idea what I was getting myself into with severed arms groping around over the rocks, and was furthermore confused with "her". Was she a monster? A godess? A spirit? As I got further and further into the game, it all made so much more sense.

The beginning of the game consists of you (or us) running around trying to figure out what the heck is going on. It is evadent that something is invading your home, and you have to stop it by using your powers and changing from object to object to solve the puzzle. This I think is the charm and attraction to the game. Like a good mystery story, you start with no knowledge of what's going on, and slowly gather information before *boom* this is what's happening! It's the mysterious way the author writes which makes the story attracting. The perspective of the character (well, character-s if you want to get technical) is very primitive but really thoughtful. (Spoiler - click to show) for example, the gun is to you just a metal rod with swirling energy. legion, is one of the best mysterious writing in IF and has such unique characteristics.

Puzzles in the game are fairly straightforward. At the beginning, the puzzles especially are designed to ease you into the story, which is nice because the style is alien. After, this though, expect slightly more difficult puzzles say low-medium. Most of the puzzles involve touching objects, and transferring from one object to another to get a better advantage, but there are all sorts involved. The sudden flashbacks were confusing and appear extraneous, but in the end are quite revealing. The puzzles really are briliant, and I'd love to say much more why I love them, but I would hate to spoil completely this well crafted gem. I will say that I enjoyed the many multiple endings that there were letting you try to find as many possible.

Although there are some annoyances which make the game a little bumpy, this game is amazing.

Party Foul, by Brooks Reeves

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful:
Party pooper, December 16, 2010
by Aintelligence (Canada)
We've all been in this situation. Stuck at a dull party trying not to be rude to the hosts or the people around you, with people all around you wanting to tell you their life story. If not, this is a great way to experience the torture with out actually going to a party. Imagine that, right in the comfort of your home! Anyway, this story was really a riot to play because I've personally been in this situation (not quite on the same scale though). The humor level is well maintained, quiet, sneaky, but intelligent.

The most impressive part for me, was how well implemented the characters were through the whole adventure. All of the characters reacted to the environment around them. When you find an object or complete a part of the puzzle, the characters act accordingly in both speech and their actions. ( I was fairly amused when Beth blamed everything on me) although the characters generally talked between themselves, the conversations varied, and although Beth's favorite topic was her pregnancy (and all of the characters had their favorite topics), the speech was non-repetitive with characters in the room jumping from subtopic to subtopic with a seemingly endless conversation.(Spoiler - click to show) example is the host worrying what your husband will do after you turn off the power Not only was the speech good, but (Spoiler - click to show) the actions of the characters were just as well. I was pleasantly surprised when I dropped my drink, the host took a few turns to clean it. well done.

The puzzles were very unique and strange. The logic and reasoning of the puzzles was slightly off, but in a quirky sort of way. Some of the puzzles required a lot of searching for the answer, then hitting yourself when you finally found it. They were certainly out of the ordinary and at times difficult to find, but once you got even the slightest lead on how to perform the task, the puzzles became quite easy. I liked a lot how the host would take objects away from you which you needed for a puzzle, and it caused me to frantically try to solve the puzzle before she took the objects away.

This is a nice short game so errrr... Cheers!

Hoosegow, by Ben Collins-Sussman, Jack Welch

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful:
It ain't bad I recon, December 13, 2010
by Aintelligence (Canada)
I was pleasantly surprised by this adventure. Taking place in a jail called hoosegow, after you were arrested by the sheriff, the story is that you have to get out of the jailhouse before your hanging tomorrow.

This game, like a few others, has a real spin on the classic speech. In everything the characters did, "scruffy, unshaven, slippery, uneducated cowboys In tattered vests" were written all over them. The author used southern slang for just about everything from "that ain't no verb I got knowledge of" to " is you talking plain English?" which significantly added to the style and story of the game.

The story is not, however, a simple 'escape the room' sort of game in which the puzzles are simple, but these puzzles involve a lot of logic, thinking and a little bit of guess the verb. I would say the puzzles were mainly fair, but there were a few spots I got hung up on because the solution was slightly obscure. However, if you really think of the puzzles in a really 'cowboy' way, they should not be too hard. What was hard though, was the numerous places where you had to play guess the verb, or even worse, guess the noun. Some spots could really use some more real editing. It really took away from the gameplay, I think, because I would get stuck in places where advance was impossible without the magic verb.

Cheeseshop, by David Welbourn

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful:
I'm just crackers about cheese!, December 11, 2010
by Aintelligence (Canada)
I had no idea interactive fiction could possibly be like this. It Was puzzelless (unless you consider rattling off all the types of cheese you've ever heard of), basically one room, but hilarious as ever. I was laughing so hard during the story, for the writing was fabulously done and I could just see John cleese in that role. The game has no bugs that I'm aware of, and was really smoothly run and designed. Hints were provided (and used by me) when you absolutely could not think of any more kinds of cheese. I especially enjoyed the AMUSE at the end of the game, adding classic python ideas

If you are a Monty Python fan to any degree, play this game

Robot Finds Kitten, by David Griffith, Leonard Richardson

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Not five stars but not a cat-astrophe, December 11, 2010
by Aintelligence (Canada)
This is a really fun little game if you're ever bored. You can select varying levels of difficulty to play, but really it's not a very hard game at all. I consists of a robot moving around a black screen examining all of the letters (objects) until it finds the cat. It's very simple with just letters or characters representing the objects in the world, but it's fun and repeatable.
The major thing I found wrong with it was that the control keys were really crazy with no apparent logic to them at all. They were in no particular order on the keyboard and you'd have to click around to finally find the direction you are after. Other than this major fault though, it was not bad


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