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Story File
Contains vague.taf
Includes readme, walkthrough and map.
Requires an ADRIFT version 4 interpreter. Visit the ADRIFT site for download links. (Compressed with ZIP. Free Unzip tools are available for most systems at www.info-zip.org.)

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Vague

by Richard Otter profile

2009

Web Site

(based on 3 ratings)
2 member reviews

About the Story

With amnesia it is quite possible to have a complete or partial loss of memory, but this isn't like that. It is not that you can't remember who you are or anything about your life, you have no thoughts what-so-ever. Your mind is totally blank, as if it has been completely wiped clean. You seem to have no personality, no memories, no feelings; nothing. It is almost as if you do not actually exist and are just an empty shell.

You are also not wearing any clothes, but far from being worried by your own nakedness you have no thoughts about it at all. It is just part of the nothingness.

How did you arrive? You do not know. Where did you travel from? You do not know. What do you need to achieve? You have no idea, no idea at all.

Yet more badly written interactive fiction or does it all have some meaning?

An entry in the 2009 Spring Thing competition.

Game Details

Language: English (en)
First Publication Date: March 31, 2009
Current Version: 1.00
License: Freeware
Development System: ADRIFT
IFID: ADRIFT-400-4E830B842514842BFDB4EE4A7928B777
TUID: bzh907aohymvfac

Awards

Nominee, Game of the Year - InsideADRIFT Awards 2009

2nd Place - Spring Thing 2009

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Member Reviews

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Number of Reviews: 2
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful:
Don't try this as your first Richard Otter game, September 28, 2009
by Victor Gijsbers (The Netherlands)
(A previous version of this review appeared during the Spring Thing 2009 on my blog, The Gaming Philosopher.)

Richard Otter has written a truly weird game. It apparently consists of rooms taken from all Otter's other games. You have to find items with the name of a Richard Otter game on them, then give those items to people in the location that was taken from that game. Interspersed with this are puzzles of the "give the cloak to the shivering beggar" variety.

I only played one Richard Otter game before (Unauthorised Termination), but you don't need to be familiar with his work in order to play Vague: all locations contain clear hints about what game they are from.

However, walking through a game world that consists of totally different rooms which mean nothing to you, conversing with characters who say little more than "Identify this game!", and hunting down pieces of paper with titles written on them is not fun. There is no story. The puzzles aren't clever. The pieces of the diverse games are not united into a coherent and surprising whole. (At least not as far as I can see, though those who have read more Otter games may find meanings I have missed.)

Vague plays a lot like a failed commercial for the author's other games. It is not itself an interesting game experience.

On top of that, the implementation is far from perfect. Please never write something like this, that takes all agency away from the player:

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> wear coat

"For some reason you are unable to do that. It isn't that the coat does not fit, you do not want to wear it."

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There are strange parser errors:

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> get dart
You pull the dart from the board.

> throw dart at colin
You are not carrying the knife.

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There is careless implementation of objects:

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> open wallet
You can't open the wallet!

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My recommendation is that you first play other Richard Otter games, and tackle this one only if you want more. Unauthorised Termination would not be a bad place to start.

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
The fourth wall, August 22, 2011
by Jim Turner (Ireland)
I first played Vague when it was entered into the Spring Thing 2009 and to be honest I didn’t get it. I gave up after a few turns and left it at that. After talk on the ADRIFT forums recently about reviewing and playing games I’ve had another look and thought I would review it.

The player starts brainwashed and naked. Cliché. All the NPC’s are stationary and badly-implemented. Typical bad IF. The game starts by telling you it is likely to be bad. Usually a sign of bad IF. When I first played that’s what I thought.

Now I see that Vague is all about breaking the fourth wall. Almost looking at the game from the point of view of the player character rather than the player. It just doesn’t do it very well.

I think using locations and characters from his own stock of games was the big mistake (and I’ve told Mr Otter that). Most reviewers got hung-up on this and said so. The game is really just a treasure hunt. Like the old school way of having the player carry out random acts and finding and linking together random objects. He would have been better using clichéd locations, you know typical IF locations like bedrooms, garages etc.

It also wasn’t tested enough as it has a number of minor bugs, lacks a little polish and has the ADRIFT weirdness and all that.

But second time around I now think it is - okay. Not the best but I enjoyed playing it.

Vague on IFDB

Recommended Lists

Vague appears in the following Recommended Lists:

ADRIFT Authors' Iconic Works by DB
I have attempted to assemble a list of some major (and some minor) authors for the ADRIFT platform along with a game iconic of their style. The games are listed by seniority of the authors, where seniority is determined by the year of an...

Polls

The following polls include votes for Vague:

A Poll About ... A Poll About ... Hm. That's Funny. I Can't Recall. by Ghalev
As of the founding of this poll, the IFDB has only seven games with the "amnesia" tag. I don't buy that for an instant. Please vote for games where the player-protagonist-person is dealing with a bout of forgetfulness (usually about who...

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This is version 1 of this page, edited by Emily Boegheim on 10 April 2009 at 7:40am. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item