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About the StoryIt's been a hectic year, and it's time to get away. He told you that, and you agreed. Now you're here, in a grove of aspen, and long for a good, long bath in the nearby hot spring.
[--blurb from The Z-Files Catalogue]
Nominee, Best Writing; Nominee, Best Setting; Nominee, Best NPCs; Winner - Bob, Best Individual NPC - 1997 XYZZY Awards
-- Duncan Stevens
Bob is worth noting because he's the rare example of an NPC who is much more developed than he needs to be; in fact, he's a relatively ordinary character with an ordinary life which you can even witness in all its glory. The failure to really fill out Bob's background is a weakness, yes, but even so, he does such a remarkable amount of things and reacts to such a remarkable amount of stimuli that one can only wonder at the amount of code that went into him.
-- Duncan Stevens a.k.a. Second April
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>VERBOSE -- Paul O'Brian's Interactive Fiction Page
She's Got a Thing For a Spring (hereafter called "Spring") is one of the most delightful and well-written games I've played in a long, long time. Its author is one of the few professional writers who has created interactive fiction, and his expertise shines throughout the game. Spring is set in a mountain wilderness with no magic spells, no high-tech devices, in fact no fantastical elements of any kind. Yet this game imparts a sense of wonder that is matched by only the very best interactive fiction. I found some of the scenes absolutely breathtaking in their beauty. Living in Colorado, I've spent a fair amount of time is settings similar to those described by the author, and I felt that the prose perfectly conveyed the both the tiny joys and the majestic grandeur of the mountains. In addition, the game's code usually dovetailed neatly with its prose, creating at its best a seamless experience of walking in nature.
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One of my favorite games of all time is Suzanne Britton's novel-length Worlds Apart sci-fi. She specifically cites this game and Sunset over Savannah (a game focusing on a beach and nature) as being an inspiration to her. Having played the two games, I really see how Worlds Apart took inspiration from this game. Worlds Apart is set in a forest near a beach. The forest part of the game is extremely similar to She's Got A Thing for A Spring, with vivid nature descriptions, a guidebook where you can look up plants and animals, and a specific animal (the pika/pakal) that seems almost directly borrowed, with slightly similar puzzles.
This made me appreciate both games more, as it helped me see some of the creative process. She's got a thing for spring is rare as being a realistic game without horror or magical elements. The closest game to it I've seen is A Change in the Weather, which came out a year or two before it.
There are some negatives; the game makes the unfortunate mistake of combining a large, nonlinear map with independent NPCs and tightly timed puzzles. This is a bad combination, as Jim Aikin learned with his game Last Resort, which also featured a huge map and tightly-timed puzzles. He solved the problem by re-tuning the game so that time changes are triggered by events, resulting in the excellent Lydia's Heart game.
Other games, like old Infocom games, have tightly-timed puzzles, but generally they have small maps that make replay easy, or confine the puzzles to a specific time and place.
So I just used a walkthrough to see the fun. The walkthrough was wrong in several places, so I had to improvise, and that was fun.
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