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For all systems. To play, you'll need a Z-Machine Interpreter - visit Brass Lantern for download links.
original competition entry
For all systems. To play, you'll need a Z-Machine Interpreter - visit Brass Lantern for download links.

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Guess the Verb!

by Leonard Richardson profile


(based on 29 ratings)
4 member reviews

About the Story

"Now you too can GUESS THE VERB for fun and prizes! Read evocative and amusing room descriptions while manipulating interesting objects! Interact with the simulated motives and desires of quirky NPCs! No thesaurus required!" [--blurb from Competition Aught-Zero]

Game Details

Language: English (en)
Current Version: Release 4
License: Freeware
Development System: Inform 6
Baf's Guide ID: 919
IFIDs:  ZCODE-1-861002
TUID: 35arqepm2q92hcqu


11th Place - 6th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2000)

Editorial Reviews

Baf's Guide

Several mini-games in one--there's a device that transports you into various scenes--and also several mini-parodies in one, since most of the scenes poke fun at one genre or another. As a game, there's not a lot there; most of the puzzles are pretty easy, and it's possible to get through the game without seeing all of the scenes. But the humor makes this work--there are loads of funny responses, and even the instructions are hilarious. Not a perfect effort, but as a satirical take on IF, it works.

-- Duncan Stevens

>VERBOSE -- Paul O'Brian's Interactive Fiction Page

Here's a sentence I never thought I'd write: Guess the Verb is fun. In fact, I'll go even better than that: Guess the Verb is great! I was quite worried when I saw the game's title, fearing that I faced another Annoyotron, or at best a riff on the Textfire game Verb!. What I got instead was a highly enjoyable comp game that I'm eagerly looking forward to revisiting after the judging period is over. What a bargain! For one thing, the game is just screamingly funny. In fact, even the meta-game materials are hilarious. Not two minutes after loading up GTV I was giggling like a loon. My wife walked past and asked, "Good game?" "I haven't even started the game yet!" I replied. "I'm just reading the instructions!"
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Despite the problems I had with the puzzles and the walkthrough, I did find this an interesting diversion. I think it might be interesting to see some expansion on this game, some more involved scenarios, in a post-comp release that didn't have to fit a 2-hour limit, but even as is the game is worth a look; if nothing else, if you don't get a scenario you like, restoring to right before you choose is easy enough.
-- Tina Sikorski
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I laughed out loud at several parts of this game. The author's spoof "Introduction to IF Concepts" is particularly silly, and shows that this game is not for newcomers to IF at all. The intended audience is anyone who spends a lot of time playing and writing Inform programs and programming in general. Someone like the author, most likely. At one point, one NPC remarks accurately that the game might be getting a little too self-referential, which may limit its potential as a Work of Art, but does gives scope for a lot of knowing in-jokes. To be fair, there is also plenty of other humour spoofing funfairs, parenting, B-movies and so on.
-- Cedric Knight
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You must explore, plunder and stay alive - all while avoiding the most terrible of fates, being reunited with your parents. I enjoyed this game.
-- Dorothy Millard
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Number of Reviews: 4
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Most Helpful Member Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
Extremely funny throughout, March 8, 2008
Leonard Richardson's writing in this work is the most consistently funny piece of interactive fiction I've encountered. He has a flair for doling out expert satire using a tongue-in-cheek style that somehow never lets you know the joke is coming before you've already started laughing.

The game's concept was inspired by the eponymous "guess the verb" problem found in many poor-quality games, but you won't encounter that problem yourself, since the unusual verbs required are deliberately spelled out for you. Your not-too-difficult job is to find when to use them.

I simply can't understand how this game scored just 11th place in the 2000 IF Comp. Only two possibilities come to mind:

First, players might not have caught onto the central puzzle of how the verb-guessing booth's attendant can be fooled. Without this, the game would have never gone anywhere or ended very quickly. The real comedy starts after you've figured this out.

Second, players might have panned the game because it is not a traditional piece of IF; there is not a central well-defined story. Rather, this piece is more of a playground for both author and player, stuffed to the gills with hilarious riffs on both famous works and IF in general. Every "examine", "show", or "ask" is an opportunity for Mr. Richardson to make you chuckle yet again.

Either way, this ranking was a grave mistake -- Guess the Verb! is a gem and a must-play in my book. I am tempted to give it 5 stars, but I am holding onto that "perfect" score for the future piece from this author that will surely earn them.

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
Don't be scared of the title. It's misleading, anyway., December 1, 2010
by Andrew Schultz (Chicago)
Some smart-aleck was eventually going to riff on the IF trope in the title name, and I'm glad it was someone clever. GtV isn't a long game--the central joke would grow old--and it's not tough, but you can extend the experience by examining everything and rifling through hints of problems you've solved. I haven't seen anything this odd that actually worked in text adventures since _Nord and Bert_.

As an 11-year-old lost at a fair, you find a robot named Lalrry who will let you Guess the Verb for a shiny quarter. You have a dull one, and there's a useless quarter-shining machine nearby. Cue the twisted meta-humor to manipulate the genuinely creepy, though harmless, Lalrry. Each verb you guess sends you to a scenarios featuring an evil wizard, a mad scientist, a dwarf, a spaceship and the author himself, in a particularly metafictional computer lab. The last one actually works.

You're not really guessing the verb in these. You just need to find where to use it. You even help some poor souls who can't quite guess their own verbs or solve a puzzle while your nemeses guess theirs.

Given how small the areas are, the puzzles can only have so many solutions, so there's a ceiling to trial and error, unlike true verb-guessing. Still, GtV's effortless surrealism makes the game feel much bigger than its solution, and it may help you laugh off stress in the next game that requires actual verb-guessing.

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A frustrating but rewarding mix of 5 mini games, June 7, 2016
This game has some great content, which makes it a real shame that it is covered with an impenetrable shell of obnoxious obstructions.

The first puzzle is a huge issue. Solution: (Spoiler - click to show)There is a quarter shining machine that is completely useless, and a weird box behind the tent where you have to turn off one switch, so that the announcer's criteria for a shiny quarter turns to just shiny or quarter..

Once you get past that hurdles the central conceit of the game is genius. There are 5 mini games that you can get sent to, each with a different concept. They all have one thing in common: (Spoiler - click to show)the word that the wheel landed on is vital to the mini game..

The mini games are varied, with a couple of fantasy games, a few sci fi, and a real life game.

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Suggest a game


The following polls include votes for Guess the Verb!:

More than it appears to be... by dacharya64
I'm looking for games that aren't exactly what they seem. Perhaps they come across as simple or romantic or anything really, the point is that things take a turn for the worse (or perhaps the better) and everything begins to change....

Lost Treasures of the IF Comp by Molly
It seems that for every Comp game that's still talked about today (e.g., Slouching Towards Bedlam, Shade, Photopia, etc.), there's ten or so that have been almost completely forgotten; some of them even placed in the top ten or higher....

forgotten gems by Marius Müller
I'm looking for games that don't show up in the IF histories or recommended lists, for what reason whatsover. Old games that maybe weren't boundary-pushing or noteworthy, but still give you a fun play experience. If you ever thought...

See all polls with votes for this game


This is version 6 of this page, edited by Edward Lacey on 25 March 2013 at 5:29am. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item