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About the StoryWho's the best and brightest Gamer of 'em all? Find out by joining the 27th Annual All-Night Diddlebucker Run! You'll compete against hundreds of other teams in the world's most popular scavenger hunt! Find the treasures, find the clues, beat your competitors to the finish line and your team will win one million dollars and a lifetime supply of Diddlebucker popcorn! Even more, you will prove that you and your teammates are the true champions of Diddlebucker '87!
30th Place - 24th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2018)
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Number of Reviews: 2
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The 1987 nostalgia runs deep. For example, while you don't interact with them, many of the Diddlebucker! teams that you're competing against consist of real people who would have been well-known in 1987. I won't spoil the game by mentioning any of them specifically, but this child of the 1980s enjoyed that aspect of the game. (Why they are all contestants in this scavenger hunt remains unclear, but that's all part of the madcap fun. Also, younger players may not catch some of the references.)
Puzzle-wise, I found Diddlebucker! to be one of the more challenging games in IFComp 2018. It's not quite as difficult as Bullhockey! or Birmingham IV (although it's also not anywhere near as long as those two games are), but I found it harder than just about all the others. Well, the puzzles in Dynamite Powers vs. the Ray of Night! are, strictly speaking, probably more difficult, but Diddlebucker! is so much broader in most places that the search space for potential solutions is a great deal larger. (Diddlebucker! does feature somewhat distinct stages, though, which helps you mentally narrow down the options for potential puzzle solutions.)
One thing I will recommend to potential players: Pay attention to the scenery. That includes what appear to be ephemeral random events; some of these contain clues or can even be interacted with.
Overall, while I do think a few of the puzzles could use more cluing, I found Diddlebucker! to be a solid puzzlefest that I would recommend to puzzle-game fans.
It's a parser game that is (as far as I can tell) bug-free and has creative puzzles, lasting longer than pretty much all the other parser games in IFComp that aren't buggy.
So why am I only giving it 3 points? The interactivity and polish felt off to me.
The game is fairly generic, especially with the standard responses. X ME, JUMP, SING (even at a concert!), DANCE etc. either give the normal response or aren't implemented at all.
And many interactions seem purposelessly fussy, almost like imitating what they think old games were like. Possessing only one object capable of creating fires, the verb LIGHT asks 'with what'? Saying LIGHT WITH [FIRE THING] doesn't fix it; you need to turn on the fire thing. But TURN ON [FIRE THING] isn't implemented. You need to LIGHT [FIRE THING] then LIGHT [THE THING YOU WANT TO BURN].
Similarly, when there's one puzzle that requires you to listen to a loud ambient thing, just LISTEN isn't good enough, you have to say what to listen to. And so on.
It seems a definite stylistic choice, and one that didn't resonate with me. If you're looking for a bug-free game with a big map, creative puzzles, and extensive gameplay, this is your game.
If you enjoyed Diddlebucker!...
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This is version 2 of this page, edited by Doug Orleans on 18 November 2018 at 8:59pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item