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Story File - Post Comp
The post-Comp release, incorporating many usability improvements and fixes
For all systems. To play, you'll need a glulx interpreter - visit Brass Lantern for download links.
Story file
The original IF Comp 2020 release
For all systems. To play, you'll need a glulx interpreter - visit Brass Lantern for download links.

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The Eleusinian Miseries

by Mike Russo profile

Humor
2020

(based on 17 ratings)
7 member reviews

About the Story

Well, isn't this a lark! After solid years of going after old Alky to let you in on that Mysteries wheeze of his, at last tonight's the night. He's dragged you from Athens to Eleusis for the to-do, but no sooner had you clapped eyes on the wine and canapťs than he informed you of a spot of work in need of doing. You've heard of work, you're sure you'll be good at it!

Game Details

Language: English (en)
First Publication Date: October 1, 2020
Current Version: Unknown
Development System: Inform 7
Forgiveness Rating: Merciful
IFID: B9B8E811-548B-4868-858B-0C3FA51E0698
TUID: 6gspor90p8s1s1b

Awards

6th Place - 26th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2020)

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Member Reviews

5 star:
(4)
4 star:
(13)
3 star:
(0)
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Average Rating:
Number of Reviews: 7
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Most Helpful Member Reviews


7 of 7 people found the following review helpful:
Flippant, October 11, 2020
The "Eleusinian Miseries" follows a vacuous, self-absorbed player-character as he is introduced into an ancient Greek mystery cult. Amusingly, the cult resembles American universities' fraternities, and their mild hazing rituals and toga parties, except its members speak with British idioms and have names like Alky and Puffy.

While "Miseries" characters are well-acquainted with ancient Greek clothing, foods, vases, and architecture, they are also flippantly vague on other Greek folkways. The PC's unrequited adoration of his friend, his ineptitude at practical tasks, and his surprising aptitude at accidentally emasculating statues of Hermes appears to be a joke about the virility of either the ancient Greeks, American fraternity brothers, or British trust-fund kids. Regardless of the way you read it, it's pretty funny.

The game is structured by five distinct scenes. The first scene is a well-designed and implemented set of find and fetch tasks. The second scene is a little under-clued and linear, with a brute-force puzzle (Spoiler - click to show)(you'll need to try a lot of clothing combinations until you find out what amuses your cult-mates) and a guess-the-verb puzzle (Spoiler - click to show)(if you want to splash or spatter something on yourself, try "wash" instead). The third scene is more open and involves some lateral-thinking repair puzzles. The fourth scene has little interaction, but carries some thematic weight for the game. And the final scene is a clever optimization puzzle which points to several alternate game endings.

"Eleusinian Miseries" is a funny, engaging, well-structured game, with only a few implementation problems.

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful:
One of the funniest parser games I've played, October 15, 2020
by RadioactiveCrow (Irving, TX)
Related reviews: 2-3 hours
"The Eleusinian Miseries" is a puzzle-filled parser-based game set during the annual Eleusinian Mysteries, the initiation rites into the cult of Demeter and Persephone. Most of that last sentence I had to google to make sure I was getting it right, I know very little about Ancient Greek cultural history, and if you are like me then don't let that deter you. Just think of it all as taking place during your final initiation into a fraternity that is very dedicated to authenticity. You play one of the current pledges with only a few tasks left to complete before you can be fully accepted into the group.

The game is a series of puzzles incorporated into a small map played out over several acts. If you aren't familiar with Greek terminology then keep a dictionary handy to look up some words. The game does a pretty good job of kind of cluing you in on what some objects are in modern English, but I still had to look up several and knowing the function of many of the objects is key to solving some of the puzzles. For the most part the puzzles are fun and fair. With a limited number of locations and objects you can usually brute force your way to a lot of the solutions. Most of them just needed a bit of common sense applied, and the parser seemed pretty forgiving with phrasing. That said, there were a few puzzles that I had to look at the walkthrough to get past. After seeing some of the solutions I'm glad I didn't wait longer as I don't think I would have ever figured it out. On a couple of the puzzles though, the way I solved it is not the way listed in the walkthrough, so I think many of the puzzles have multiple solutions.

While many of the puzzles were very enjoyable, it is really the humor that makes this game great. Don't forgot to stop and read the prose in between completing tasks as there are more than just funny lines, but hilarious whole scenes. It is unusual to me to see humor mixed into a parser game this well and at this level. My compliments to the author.

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Delectable and farcical, December 6, 2020
by AKheon (Finland)
Related reviews: comedy, IF Comp 2020, parser-based, Inform
The Eleusinian Miseries is a parser-based comedy game by Mike Russo, published in 2020. The game is about partaking in secret religious rites in Eleusis, (Spoiler - click to show)although in practice itís close to just being an excuse to gorge on food and drink, at least as far as the main character is concerned.

The game is, above all else, a puzzler. It consists of several mostly self-contained scenes with clear goals on what to do. The design is streamlined enough that itís usually not hard to figure out what to do, although sometimes locating needed items or understanding how to complete the various objectives might be a problem. I personally got stumped at a few parts, but I wouldnít say the design here is unfair in any respect.

The writing is rather verbose but polished. The game presents itself as a farce, and it definitely has some comical, unfortunate situations in store for the hero. The narrator voice has a lot of personality, being jovial yet a bit dainty and spoiled - it really fits the character of a cultured wastrel with a short attention span.

A part of me was expecting the game to go even further in some respects. The tone of the comedy strives to stay rather clean and prim at all times, which might clash a little bit with the hedonism- and debauchery-laden setting. Then again, Iím not too familiar with the major inspirations behind the story, or historical farce in general. Maybe this is the most authentic approach for this style? I couldnít say.

With around 2 hours playtime and a detailed implementation that is fun to mess around with, thereís a good amount of content to be found in The Eleusinian Miseries. Itís worth checking out for a solid puzzler, especially if youíre interested in anything pertaining to ancient Greece.

See All 7 Member Reviews

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Trying to find a good comedy. by H. W. Wiliams
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This is version 9 of this page, edited by Mike Russo on 3 January 2021 at 3:20pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item