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Lost Pig

by Admiral Jota profile

Fantasy, Humor

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Number of Reviews: 45
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
Pigs in Zen, January 21, 2013
by ifailedit (arkansas)
With an average rating of 4.5 stars and 113 5-star ratings total, Admiral Jota's "Lost Pig" is uncontroversially well-loved, even in the wider world beyond the IFDB, garnering praise from sources such as the Onion AV Club (4 Stars). There is, without a doubt, a lot to like about it. The narrator is funny, likable, and maintains a consistent voice throughout the piece. It's hard not to love the guy, really, and the fact that he is an Orc (we all remember those nasty things from Lord of the Rings) is amusing instead of alienating. The unambiguous objective of the game itself and its porcine antagonist afford, hilariously, an even match of wits. Even better, the puzzles are logical, fair, and imaginative--the (Spoiler - click to show)"dehydrated fire" in particular is a fun and satisfying thing to fiddle with. The only *humanoid* NPC, in terms of available topics and dialogue, is an embarrassment of riches. In fact, given this unusual characteristic, one may be surprised at feelings of overkill.

"Lost Pig" is a very tightly implemented, richly imagined piece of IF with a satisfying level of difficulty (good luck with that last point). If, somehow, you haven't played it yet (it seems so many of us have), you are in for a treat.

However, and there is a however, I wonder if I am the only one who wonders at its current (as of 2011) position of #2 in the "Interactive Fiction Top 50 of all time." From this lofty perch, "Lost Pig" gazes down upon "A Mind Forever Voyaging," "Anchorhead," "Slouching Towards Bedlam," and other notable classics. "Lost Pig" is consistently delightful, absolutely, and is a classic in its own right, but it does not haunt me, nor does it challenge my assumptions about art and my relationship to it. It does what it does very well, but it does not do those things. Speaking only for myself, it is a game, a very great game, but it does not completely fulfill the artistic promise of IF. This is by no means a failure, since the work makes no apparent efforts to do so. I realize that one never completely agrees with such lists, but a #2 position, or even a top ten position, seems to say something about the merits of IF as an art form with which I cannot agree.

This analogy may not work, but, if the "Best..." list were The Beatles' "White Album," I would express it thus: I like to listen to "Rocky Raccoon" as much as the next guy, but it's hardly "Happiness is a Warm Gun."

Like a good children's story, "Lost Pig" is a hoot for children and grown-ups as well. Enjoy.

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful:
Impressed by the work behind the game, August 31, 2012
by Dida
I've given this game 3 stars because I didn't enjoy it as much as I hoped I would.

I was very impressed with the attention to detail and the level of implementation. This is good if you like messing about in your IF and hate unpolished responses that don't make sense. I noticed the NPCs struck a good balance between reacting to the player and living their own lives. I respect the work that goes into creating something like that.

Unfortunately, I lost interest in the puzzles quite rapidly. I felt they left me a bit too clueless a bit too early on in the game. Earning just one point per solved puzzle only served to alienate me further. I suspect that the puzzles work well for experienced IF/Zork players who are accustomed to trying more obscure commands, knowing they might do something useful. They are probably more hungry for unusual thinking, too, having seen most tricks played before. Not the best for beginners, though.

0 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
MUST PLAY GAME!, July 28, 2012
by Coldfinger (Germany)
After being abstinent from IF for over 20 years, this game was the perfect starter to get into the IF way of thinking again. And also the perfect game to get me addicted again. Not too large, nice puzzles, great use of language, sensible parser and good humor.

But now no time anymore. Must play next game. Where next Grunk game????

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
Good but not great, March 24, 2012
Most of the game takes place in seven rooms, and still this is no small game. It has simulations of both fire and water, and an NPC that responds to 250 topics! If you like to replay a game to find hidden stuff, this is the game for you! But the game also has bad sides. It might sound fun to be able to talk with an NPC about 250 topics, but in reality it gets boring after a while. Physics simulations like fire and water is not something that improves a game. The puzzles are difficult and the story about an orc looking for a lost pig is charming but also silly. It is overrated but still a fun game.

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Pretty Funny, March 6, 2012
Funny narration from the point of view character. Most of the game revolves around a series of enjoyable puzzles. I was able to win without hints or walk throughs, but it took me a couple of days and some thinking to do it.

0 of 6 people found the following review helpful:
Grunk, January 23, 2012
by smartgenes (Newcastle, UK)
Having seen this game mentioned in Jason Scott's documentary Get Lamp, and as it had been hanging around my hard drive I considered it high time I played it. For some reason I had assumed the protagonist was a pig, so a genuine smile was brought to my face when i tried EXAMINE ME. It made me laugh out loud when I continued with EXAMINE PANTS.. and a genuine lol too, not one of those fake ones you send in chat messages. The overwhelming attention to responses makes it one of the best games I have ever played.

At first I felt possibly the biggest drawback to the game was its title, which somehow undersells it, it could have been called Grunk the Orc, or something of that ilk. However, after receiving a Microsoft Paint drawing my girlfriend had made after playing the game - of the aforementioned pig being chased around the fountain - I felt it necessary to withdraw this criticism! I also didn't like the room titles, which felt like they should be in a 1980s cave crawl game, and a Homer Simpson reference seemed out of context to me personally, but these were extremely minor niggles. What did seem in context though was the reference to looters killing and pillaging, which reminded me of the inanity of certain MUDs. This was the author using content external to the created world, but relevant content. I appreciated how the Grunk described locations by what wasn't there, and the author had obviously done a lot of work, as generic messages were all in the style of the Grunk's way of thinking. (So much so that I was beginning to think in a Grunkian way)

The basic premise of the game is that Grunk somehow has to return a pig to his master, and integral to this is interrogating the gnome with your grunt-like intelligence. Even though I was incredibly impressed with the range of conversation options, I did find the questioning of the gnome a little tedious - especially with the constant suggestions, something which may be inherent to Inform, as I noticed it it other games. Even in games like Monkey Island though, it was always the case of try all the options till you ran out; even so, perhaps it could have been implemented better than ASK ABOUT. There was a nice shortcut to "ASK GNOME ABOUT" anyway, and eventually I found out from the Help menu that there is also a short form TOPIC or T, so I suppose it was my fault for not reading the Help file, but I tend to avoid those like the plague for fear of solutions to puzzles being given away.

I did feel I was being driven to puzzle/story explications that I (and the grunk) might not necessarily have got, which leads me to some of the gnome's definitions. One of the reasons why adventure games have been so popular is that they inspire the mythological. Fabled stories have been passed down over generations, and do have a lot to offer. The explanations of alchemy were not in keeping with this world base, coming from modern misunderstandings of what alchemy is due to the limited notions of science today. So, a gnome having to account for alchemy to an orc seemed completely unnecessary on a variety of levels. Of course the world view of the author (or his character) is up to the author, but here it felt a little strained and not really in keeping with a fantasy setting. Joseph Campbell is a good source for the importance of mythology (he inspired Star Wars for instance) and why we shouldn't underestimate the past. So the downplay of alchemy felt something of a betrayal of the world to me (and not just a spurious one, as alchemy is an integral aspect of mythology). But this is just me waxing lyrical, and it doesn't have much of a bearing on gameplay.

But the scope of questions that could be asked was VERY impressive. In fact, where the conversation became interesting was when I impulsively asked the gnome about the author and got a response, which urged me to try a few more off-kilter questions. (Spoiler - click to show) There were responses to other names off the IF-MUD, OOPS, Harry Potter, Grue, and some others I spotted.The mossfuressence dialogue was a bit over-explanatory, which I think could have been funny with a bit more subtlety. I did think that asking the gnome about "gnomes" was more relevant than asking about "gnome" as I really did want to find out more about this created world, and so thought both should be implemented, even if it were the same message. At times we really got a sense of a mad-scientist personality in this gnome though. Ultimately I thought a lot of the suggested questions were redundant, and rather than having them as options they could have been there in the background to surprise the player if he typed them. There was no need to impress the player with the quantity of responses coded for (via the suggestions), as it seemed evident in the tightness of the game. The possibility of typing in fairly random questions and getting some responses was excellent, and reminded me of the Zenobi games written in the few years at the end of the life cycle of the 8-bit machines. They were witty and entertaining and experimental, just like this adventure (even the help files are amusing).

As far as possible inputs went, I did expect that I might be able to try pole vaulting the stream, so I was a bit disappointed that it seemed I couldn't. I was finding this strangely hard going despite the plethora of seeming clues with only 1 scored out of 7 (also my score went down one point, and I wasn't sure why) but with only a little more effort I had scored 3, and I found it such an incredibly and elegantly made game that I didn't care about my own ineptitude to solve the puzzles.

If I had so many critical niggles, it was only because this game really fascinated me and it seems not far off perfection itself.

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Clever Game, October 19, 2011
I chose to review the game "Lost Pig." I enjoyed this game because itís very cute and the title suits it so perfectly. There are a few of the puzzles that rely on the little magical explanations. This game has a good sense of humor. When youíre stuck looking for a solution to the puzzles, it funny little actions keep you entertained and interested in the game. I think games like this are a good reason as to why text is still important. I thought it was very clever, informative, and enlightening. This is definitely my favorite game among the three on my recommendations list. I think laughter is an important factor when it comes to playing games. Thatís the whole point of games, in my opinion. Lost Pig deserves 5 stars. 

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Entertaining and cute, September 5, 2011
by Deboriole (San Diego, CA)
This game took a little while to warm up to. The first time I played it, I didn't thoroughly search the rooms which made a solution completely impossible. Totally my fault! After reading a few positive reviews online, I gave it another shot and ended up really liking it. The humor is great and the puzzles make sense. There are not many rooms in the game which is also a plus in my book because it is easy to get around and go back to previous locations. Grunk give this game 4 stars.

1 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
Fun, engaging with excellent writing, May 24, 2011
by ZUrlocker (Santa Cruz, CA)
This is a fun game with a very immersive style. Great to play in a group!

3 of 7 people found the following review helpful:
Love, March 7, 2011
by spinnerin (Portland, OR)
This is my favorite game in a while. Itís funny, well-written, and the perfect size and scope for a text adventure. Everything you do enhances the story, instead of only helping to solve the game puzzle. Well done.

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