Have you played this game?You can rate this game, record that you've played it, or put it on your wish list after you log in.
Playlists and Wishlists
RSS FeedsNew member reviews
Updates to downloadable files
All updates to this page
Nominee, Best Story - 2004 XYZZY Awards
"The Cabal is a hilarious and highly polished game, one that should be played by anybody who has more than a passing interest in interactive fiction." (Greg Boettcher)
See the full review
|Average Rating: |
Number of Reviews: 5
Write a review
Most Helpful Member Reviews
The problem with it is its huge self-indulgence. This is a work, now several years old, about contemporary rec.arts.int-fiction politics. It is peppered with endless references to newsgroup personalities and squabbles that people outside the IF community are unlikely to understand, and even for those of us who were around at the time, it ages badly. A few years down the line, it's likely to need a critical commentary to make sense.
Fortunately, conspiracy theory is fertile ground for satire, and The Cabal hits a lot of good points. It collapses several favorite political theories, places and lore into being about text adventures. This highlighted, to me, how conspiracy theorists like the me-me-me angle while really it's just more about an uncaring world and people willing to accept how things are to get by.
There's only one potentially vicious part. Though most characterizations are clear jokes, one personality is depicted as living at Ruby Ridge, which left me uncomfortable enough to look for an explanation. I got one here--well, at an archive.org copy of it--and was impressed. The essay's worth it even if it's a necessary distraction from an otherwise free-flowing game, because it hits on conspiracy theories some writers have when really it's about laziness or time limitation. It's also nice to have conspiracy literature that actually cleans things up.
I found the puzzles worked as conspiracy debunkers by giving you the opportunity to go off on useless tangents. So many of them (Spoiler - click to show)give the solution up front, then provide absorbing writing so it's possible to get caught up in details that utterly don't matter. The final maze is particularly funny, as (Spoiler - click to show)the game seems far more likely to trap you if you map it by UNDOing.
The author did the right thing by throwing a large chunk of this work into multiple-choice conversation. It establishes the character-player as someone with bizarre thoughts but never really kicks him--it's more about outlining your basic conspiracy theory fallacies. It's good for a thoughtful laugh, even for someone who wasn't present when the game was released.
I would not replay this game. It was well-implemented, characters were stock and more plot device, but while I am enough of an IF gamer that I understood what was meant by story-based versus puzzle-based, I am not enough of an insider to appreciate the inspiration for this game and what it's poking fun at. The tie-ins with real-world conspiracy organizations helped to understand the story, but if there are any Freemasons, etc, they probably shouldn't play this. I know of RAIF, RGIF, etc, but I think this game appeals only to a small group of IF authors/players. Perhaps I could have rated the game higher if I were part of the "Cabal." :)
See All 5 Member Reviews
If you enjoyed The Cabal...
Related GamesPeople who like The Cabal also gave high ratings to these games:
|Four Sittings in a Sinking House, by Bruno Dias|
Average member rating: (18 ratings)
The thing about sinking is: the sea is not a void. If you're sinking, you're displacing something. A Grand Guignol entry for ECTOCOMP 2016
|En Garde, by Jack Welch|
Average member rating: (11 ratings)
A man who has lost his mind. A mouse who has lost his realm. A dog who has lost his family. And the scientist who will save the world.
|All Hope Abandon, by Eric Eve|
Average member rating: (32 ratings)
Your day got off to a good enough start when you met that blonde in the breakfast queue, but it's all downhill from there: you may be wishing you could escape a particularly dire lecture, but not by the one way the lecture has just...
Recommended ListsThe Cabal appears in the following Recommended Lists:
Games about interactive fiction itself by MathBrush
This is hopefully my last list. These are games that comment on the nature of interactive fiction or the interactive fiction community itself. The quality of these games varies wildly, and this list doesn't attempt to sort by quality....
Games that made me smile by MathBrush
I wanted to do a list of comedy games, but I think people rarely think "I want to play a comedy game"; to me, the phrase brings up some kind of jokey, goofy game, like many of the poorly made Twine games that people make now. Instead,...
Linear thriller games by MathBrush
These are games that are pretty straightforward, and which are designed to be easy enough that you can keep moving forward while hard enough to make you nervous. These games get your blood pumping.
PollsThe following polls include votes for The Cabal:
This is version 3 of this page, edited by Edward Lacey on 31 January 2013 at 1:25am. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item