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All Quiet on the Library Front

by Michael S. Phillips

Slice of life/Collegiate
1995

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- Harry Coburn (Atlanta, GA), August 24, 2019

- Mr. Patient (Saint Paul, Minn.), July 29, 2017

A lightweight game about a library focused on interactive fiction, February 3, 2016

This game was entered in the very first IFComp, which was originally intended to provide examples of code for the then-new programming language Inform. It didn't actually work out that way, because few people released code and many TADS games were also entered, but that's how it started.

This game came in 5th of six in the Inform division. It is about a library that you know contains a copy of a biography of Graham Nelson. The library also contains the Infocom games, Christminster, Avalon, Curses!, Balances, and references to interactive fiction servers.

The gameplay is fairly light, just searching and trying basic NPC actions. Many of the points are bonus points for bizarre actions.

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Unmemorable, April 12, 2014
by Tracy Poff (Hamlin, West Virginia, United States)
Related reviews: IF Competition 1995
All Quiet on the Library Front by Michael S. Phillips is a 1995 interactive fiction game, entered in the first annual interactive fiction competition. The premise is that the PC is a student enrolled in CS 441 - Interactive Fiction who has been slacking off for the entire term. To save his grade, the PC must navigate the university library to acquire a biography of Graham Nelson, to use as a source for a term paper.

Phillips's first (and, to date, only) contribution to interactive fiction, Library has the hallmarks of a first game: it is set in a fictionalized version of the author's workplace; it contains many references to the IF community; it has a rather thin premise. That said, it's competently implemented and reasonably well written.

Library's main sin is that it's too simple. Its puzzles are very straightforward, its NPCs don't seem to do anything but serve their very limited purposes, and there's little else to do but what's required. I only finished with 26/30 points, and I have no idea what the other points could be for, but I don't have any particular urge to get the rest.

Most of Library's scenery is implemented, though some actions, like x me, give default responses. On the other hand, you can (Spoiler - click to show)kiss alan for a response that's both humorous and useful as a hint--well done.

Overall, Library is just mediocre, and there are too many better works of interactive fiction for me to recommend it. If I were rating it for the ifcomp, I'd give it about a 4/10.

Play time: 30 minutes to win, plus about 10 more of exploration.

This review is based on Release 2.

- Egas, August 4, 2013

- Silentobserver, November 17, 2011

- NoiselessPenguin (London, UK), January 28, 2011

- lupusrex (Seattle, WA), October 3, 2009

- Dave Chapeskie (Waterloo, Ontario, Canada), April 23, 2008

- Wendymoon, January 13, 2008

- Miron (Berlin, Germany), December 10, 2007

Baf's Guide


A small game set in a future in which adventure games are considered high art. You're a college student writing a paper about Graham Nelson, and must retrieve a book about him from the library. Packed with references to other games. Features gentle built-in hints.

-- Carl Muckenhoupt

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