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A Comedy of Error Messages

by Adam Le Doux

2011

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Number of Reviews: 2
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
A Comedy With Some Error Messages , December 7, 2011
by Joey Jones (UK)
Related reviews: IF Comp 2011
In A Comedy of Error Messages, you play an avid gamer's loving computer, and it is your task to stop a disastrous blind date from happening. The idea is great and it was mostly well implemented. The puzzles were pretty easy but even so the time limit was very harsh.

The game does a good job of imaginatively realising virtual environments, even if it does lead to some head scratching moments when you consider the metaphysics of what's going on.

As a comedy game it was fairly amusing, especially if you get the references. The humour for the most part relies on an familiarity with internet-culture. A lot of things people generally find funny aren't really funny per se, but are just shorthand for shared experiences. I think my favourite line was (Spoiler - click to show)'The bird looks as if it wants to give you the bird. But it can't, since it's a bird.'

I liked the ability to choose your gender, race and sexuality at the start- and how it affected the shape of the things, even if it was essentially the same plot. I can see how this is an improvement from what I understand to have been the old 'Elfen Maiden' default; when I played the unwanted date played an Orc princess. There were a few moments where this wasn't completely implemented, and the text assumed incorrectly that my master was a man.

I didn't complete the game on the first run through as the time limit ran out. This wasn't because I was particularly stuck, I had a good idea what I should be doing at any given time, but I must have wasted time along the way. I could see the reason for having a time limit but it doesn't gel well with my usual playing style: I like to examine everything and talk to everyone and try to see if things work that I think should work.

The fact that I wasn't as effective at playing a time-based game as I could have been is no real criticism of the game, but I did I think there were game design elements that didn't help. I would certainly have completed the game first off if it weren't for the fact that errors and mistakes increase the turn count. Every time I tried to go up when there wasn't an up, or tried to examine something that I misspelt or the author hadn't implemented, the minutes crept inexorably onwards. In the end, every time I did something that didn't work, or had a look around the room to remind myself of exits, I'd undo immediately afterwards.

But the game was interesting enough to motivate me to finish it and I was pleased it all worked out in the end.