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About the Story"The mystery, for you, started two years ago.
"Come here, there's something I want to tell you," your old grandfather had said, "Quick, before your mother comes back in the room."
The smell of antiseptic and an unidentifiable odor that seemed to emanate from the very walls of the old-age home made you uncomfortable enough. The thought of your grandfather having a secret he wanted to share only made that unplanned visit to the Shady Pastures Convalescent Home all the more nerve-wracking.
"If you have any mind for it, go back to Dalton. Your Grandmother left something she wanted you to have." Before you could ask him specifics, he turned away as your Mom reentered the room with a bottle of water. The topic would not come up again, which was fine by you. No one in your family had been to the Dalton property since your grandmother died over eight years ago, and as far as you knew, the place could have burned down by now.
When you thought back to your childhood, you could remember spending the summers with your grandmother at the old house in Dalton, located on the Texas Gulf Coast. Grandma Eleanor Sorich always had smiles for you, and made you feel that she understood you better than you did yourself. When she eventually passed away, you were deeply saddened, as if you had lost one of your best friends.
Grandpa Sorich, on the other hand, was a different story. A bitter man who spent most of the time during your visits off by the Dalton Harbor with his drinking buddies. As far as you could tell, their marriage was more of convenience than love. At her funeral, he showed only the faintest hint of remorse. He spent the years after her death mostly silent in an old age home... until that visit.
It's been two years since your chat with Grandpa. In that time, you have often reflected back on the conversation, curious as to what would make your grandfather act in such a mysterious fashion, and curious about what your grandmother could've possibly wanted you have.
Finally, an unexpected road trip across the country has allowed you to make a brief detour at the old family property. You find yourself back in the draining heat of Dalton, Texas, assessing the old Sorich property your family all but abandoned years ago. It hasn't burned down, but indeed stood patiently waiting for someone to return. The house, like your grandfather, has not aged gracefully, and looks as if it too is just waiting out the rest of it's years...." [--blurb from Competition Aught-One]
15th Place - 7th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2001)
I think I detect, in many places in this game, indications that the authors are relatively new to TADS, and that they are comfortable doing the straightforward tasks but uncertain about the customizing nuances that smooth over awkward bits. [...] An unambitious little game with some nice atmospheric touches, lacking a lot in surface polish.
-- Emily Short
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I'm not usually a fan of what I'd call a 'real life' adventure, set in recognisable locations rather than dungeons or mythical settings. But The Coast House is a well structured and well written game which kept my attention.
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>VERBOSE -- Paul O'Brian's Interactive Fiction Page
All in all, a fairly solid piece of work if not for the simple lack of basic proofreading. Somebody needs to pick this game up and beat the errors out of it like dust out of an old rug. Once this happens, The Coast House will become a nicely atmospheric piece of IF.
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Number of Reviews: 2
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The puzzles in The Coast House are relatively easy, and the game is quite forgiving. You donít die, at least not that Iíve experienced. The prose has a few grammatical errors, but not enough to really disturb me. I found the lack of a clear goal a bit confusing, as I had no real direction to follow. It was largely a matter of going through the usual paces of exploring the map, examining everything, trying to use things together to achieve a simple result, and maybe something will happen to move the plot along. Had the game been a bit longer I would likely have given up, not really feeling driven to accomplish anything.
What causes The Coast House to stand out is the effective atmosphere generated by the prose. Iíve never been to the east coast of Texas, and especially not to Dalton, but I now feel as though I would recognize it if I did. Great attention has been given to detail, generating feelings of nostalgia and loss. That is quite an accomplishment for such a short game, and it is clear that Dalton, or a town much like it, is close to the heart of the author(s).
Having said all that, would I recommend The Coast House? Only if you are looking for decent example of atmosphere. Apart from that, the events were really quite ordinary and after finishing the game I thought to myself, ďWell, that was nice.Ē But that was it. No wow factor for me.
The game isn't large, so it doesn't take too long to finish. But it could be much better-clued. Without clues, this game is like playing monopoly for the first time without instructions.
There was one action required at the end that I found unusually gruesome, but somewhat logical in hindsight.
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