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medusa.z5
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Medusa

by Jim Fisher

Seasonal/Slice of life
2003

(based on 1 rating)
1 member review

Game Details

Language: English (en)
Current Version: 106
License: Freeware
Development System: Inform 6
Baf's Guide ID: 2053
IFID: ZCODE-106-030314-F3C6
TUID: 29pgq4rm62zyk725

Editorial Reviews

Baf's Guide


Written as an example of the author's conversation system--which is a variant on menus. The conversation is reasonably interesting and complex, but it's not really the point.

-- Duncan Stevens

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Number of Reviews: 1
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Another crack at the conversation challenge., March 31, 2010
This is not quite a game, but it's definitely something more than a simple example of the Inform 6 conversation system it's intended to demonstrate (which seems to have been updated since the release of this work).

The intended demonstration is of a flexible conversation system that controls standard ask/tell behavior through a keyboard-driven interactive menu. Selecting from the menu generates the equivalent command, which is entered for you at the main prompt. It's an interesting approach, that allows for a pretty direct comparison between two classic methods of NPC interaction, and it gave me more appreciation for the narrative flow that a well-done menu system offers when compared to ask/tell.

The fatal flaw of the system (to my eyes) is that it seems maintain a running list of "open" topics for you long past when they are conversationally appropriate, and this contextual distance is not reflected in the way the NPC responds if you suddenly change topics. Thus, as your list of options increase, the conversation can go from seeming very natural to seeming very odd as the NPC gamely responds to any thread you choose to continue.

I'm not saying simulating more realistic responses here would be easy -- far from it. I want to be clear that this apparent oddness is a symptom of success; it's a side-effect of breaking the illusion of natural flow that the menu system so ably provides at first. That the oddness wouldn't be noticed using the ask/tell model is likewise an indicator of just how unrealistic "conversations" using it are.

Putting model details aside and considering Medusa as a brief interactive fiction experience, I can't help but think that it's above-average, and that it would make a great opening sequence for a longer work. It would also be a good start on a decent "slice of life" entry for a one-room game competition, though, in its present state, it's a far cry from more widely-known works such as Emily Short's Galatea.

Take note: The split-screen display doesn't quite work right using Gargoyle, but it worked fine with plain old Frotz.

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