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
About the StoryThe Chinese Room is a hilarious romp through the world of philosophical thought experiments. Have you ever wanted to win Zeno's race? Free the denizens of Plato's Cave? Or find out what it's really like to be a bat? Now is your chance!
Nominee, Best Writing; Nominee, Best Puzzles; Nominee, Best NPCs - 2007 XYZZY Awards
Play This Thing!
The Chinese Room is a little like Norman Juster's Phantom Tollbooth in interactive form. Taking place entirely in the realm of philosophical thought experiment, The Chinese Room tackles questions about the nature of perception, the foundations of ethical systems, and the theoretical basis of calculus. If you've ever wanted to meet Aristotle or Karl Marx in text adventure form, this is your opportunity.
See the full review
|Average Rating: |
Number of Reviews: 3
Write a review
There were a few negatives, though. I encountered a rather bad case of guess-the-verb with (Spoiler - click to show)the invisible unicorn and the burden of proof -- the game wouldn't accept things like PUT BURDEN ON UNICORN or GIVE BURDEN TO UNICORN -- which is quite annoying when you have a turn limit. The solution, by the way, is to HANG the burden on the unicorn, which was completely unintuitive, at least to me. Another issue is an unwinnable scenario; avoidable, though: just don't enter the castle until you feel you've solved all the other puzzles. (Spoiler - click to show)The veil is part of the puzzle to get into the castle; don't waste your time trying to find a use for it, and same for the various implements the steward will offer you once you solve her (his?) puzzle.
Because of these issues I am reluctant to give five stars, but it is an excellent game nonetheless and I strongly recommend it.
Finally, the executive summary: This is a very entertaining game with a short to medium play time, great writing quality, and a focus on puzzles over story (since the game is rather surreal, there's not much of a story, but this is intentional and done well, in my opinion).
The game was generally fun, but before I get to the good, I had three bones to pick:
1. The game insults those who look for a walkthrough. To me, this implies that the authors strongly believe that their game is coded well enough that someone who knows the solution to a puzzle will be able to type in the correct answer without a problem. This brings me to the second point:
2. The implementation is spotty; you must (Spoiler - click to show)LIGHT LANTERN WITH LIGHTER, not LIGHT LANTERN, and this is typical of several other parts of the game. When poor implementation abounds, it is frequently necessary to seek help.
3. The game has a condescending tone. The player is an educated atheistic male. The game has some issues with 'male gaze' (although see the comment below by Sobol), includes female philosophers but has little interaction with them, and has the same tone towards religion as reddit's atheism board: "Aren't we so glad that we are superior to those silly peasants with their moral fables?" In fact, the game bashes on religion as much as it can.
I normally don't point out flaws in the works I play, but I can't stand this much smugness.
Outside of that, the game itself is enjoyable, and the puzzles are fun. Quite a few of the puzzles depend on examining things twice (once to see something interesting, then again to see what you need). The in-game help system was well-done, and the images and writing were imaginative.
Recommended for puzzle fiends and those interested in philosophy.
If you enjoyed The Chinese Room...
Related GamesPeople who like The Chinese Room also gave high ratings to these games:
|9:05, by Adam Cadre|
Average member rating: (442 ratings)
The phone rings. Oh, no ó how long have you been asleep? Sure, it was a tough night, but... This is bad. This is very bad. The phone rings.
|The Shadow in the Cathedral, by Ian Finley and Jon Ingold|
Average member rating: (21 ratings)
When the monks took me, aged six months, into their care, they named me Wren. Maybe because I was small, insignificant, and happy to eat any crumbs they threw my way. But these days I'm Wren, 2nd Assistant Clock Polisher; and that's a...
|Save the Date, by Chris Cornell|
Average member rating: (19 ratings)
"Itís a perfectly normal evening, and you have a quiet dinner planned with one of your friends. And so begins one of my weirder games. Save the Date is a game about a lot of things. Friendship. Stories. Hope. Destiny. And above all else,...
Recommended ListsThe Chinese Room appears in the following Recommended Lists:
A Year on IFDB: The games that have stayed with me by Spike
About a year ago I discovered post-AGT interactive fiction. Since then I've played a lot of great IF games. This list consists of the ones that have stuck with me the most. They're not necessarily the ones I rated the highest immediately...
IF For Libraries by pwaak
I have examined the licensing and reviews for these games. They all conform to the selection policy of a typical public library in Texas. Your mileage may vary. Academic libraries may consider this list conservative while school...
PollsThe following polls include votes for The Chinese Room:
The great puzzlefests by Victor Gijsbers
Playing Curses!, I started wondering which games belong to the canon of great puzzlefests. With this term I mean puzzle based games that are long, difficult and punishing; but also fair, engaging and truly rewarding to work through. The...
Games with Impossible-to-film moments by aaronius
I'm looking for games that demonstrate the power of text-based games. Games with sentences that would make developers of 3D games weep, like "The army of ten million robots marched over the liquid landscape," or "She concealed her anger...
This is version 6 of this page, edited by MathBrush on 8 February 2017 at 4:47pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item