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Stoned Ape Hypothesis

by James Heaton

Prehistoric Fiction

(based on 4 ratings)
3 member reviews

About the Story

In the early 1990's, ethnobotanist Terence McKenna published his book "Food of the Gods" in which he presented a theory explaining the cognitive leap forward observed in early homo-sapiens. His theory is often referred to as the Stoned Ape Hypothesis.

Game Details

Language: English (en)
First Publication Date: October 1, 2020
Current Version: Unknown
Development System: Ink
IFID: Unknown
TUID: 5h4b5etld37wilw8


Entrant - 26th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2020)


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Number of Reviews: 3
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
simple game with a simple protagonist, October 5, 2020
by WidowDido (Northern California)
Related reviews: IF Comp 2020
A very short choice-based game. I don't think there's anything in the way of spoilers to say the player begins as a sorta proto-human, eats a couple mushrooms, and begins to get a couple ideas about things we associate with humans ((Spoiler - click to show)technology, clothing, play).

There were a couple traditional games that can be found within the game. Designers and players interested in physical games being implemented into IF may want to play through the work on purely technical grounds. (Spoiler - click to show)The first is tic-tac-toe, which I feel I must have seen implemented in IF before. The second was a text-representation inspired by the ancient board game mancala. I was able to win it with no skill, simply choosing the same basket over and over again. I leave it to others to judge the quality of AI.

Unfortunately, I found the environment too sparse, the tasks too routine and uninteresting. However, the game is very short and people have a wide range of taste. If you have any interest in the above technical implementation, it will not take long to see it within the game.

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Make Yourself a Better Caveman, October 3, 2020
This entry has a friendly gauntlet structure where you solve puzzles to unlock parts of the story, beating computer opponents in a series of challenges before you arrive at the ending.

As a game, it works: your victories earn a series of power-ups, and your final reward is full integration with society.

As a story, I found it difficult to engage with this entry. It felt like the triangle of identities got in the way of allowing me to understand the character's motivation.

Curiosity drove me to move from location to location and uncover new options, but there was no clear reason for the character. I never got a sense that food, water, or shelter were matters of survival they just felt like background details.

The association with the Stoned Ape theory introduced a disconnect between the scope of this game, which covers a few days (?) in the life of a single organism, and the scope of the evolutionary theory, which plays out across generations.

Developmentally, I couldn't tell whether this character was starting from farther back than everyone else, making it the "rite of passage" story of journey that each member of the tribe must compete, or whether this character was a prehistoric Prometheus bringing enlightenment to his tribe.

From a mechanical perspective, the challenges were well developed. You make strategic choices based on the actions of your opponent, and it's possible to fail. This entry was well implemented; I never felt stuck, and I found my way through to the end without any major confusion.

I respect the work that went into this, and it's a solid effort.

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Simple, short choice-based game with a few puzzles, October 14, 2020
by RadioactiveCrow (Irving, TX)
Related reviews: About 15 minutes
There isn't a lot to this game. You play as some version of a primitive human, who finds some mushrooms, eats them and has a giant leap forward in consciousness, enough to eventually (Spoiler - click to show)join a human town. Even though this is a choice-based game the story line is very minimal and the game is mostly about solving some simple puzzles. That's really it, give it a whirl, it won't take long.

Two things I really liked about it:
1) How the prose got more verbose/detailed the more mushrooms were consumed. I thought it was a nice illustration of the increasing intelligence of the player character.
2) How the author was able to program a Tic-Tac-Toe and Mancala AI in Ink for the game.


This is version 5 of this page, edited by Zape on 10 October 2020 at 2:25am. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item