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The Origin of Madame Time

by Mathbrush profile

Episode 2 of The Owl Consults Extended Universe

(based on 14 ratings)
3 member reviews

About the Story

As an avid fan of superheroes and a harsh critic of villains, the battle over the abandoned amusement park captured your imagination. But when the nuclear airship Mephistopheles exploded above you, it seemed like all was lost--that is, until your latent powers manifested, and you became Madame Time! Explore a frozen world of unbridled power! Use the abilities of hero and villain alike to save the day!

The Origin of Madame Time is a simple (12K word) inform game set in a single moment of time in a small amusement park. The game is more difficult than my past games, and features less conversation. Madame Time has two hint systems using your powers of Foresight and Aftersight. This game was created in fulfillment of an IFComp 2017 prize.

Game Details

Language: English (en)
First Publication Date: October 1, 2018
Current Version: 1
License: Freeware
Development System: Inform 7
Forgiveness Rating: Polite
IFID: 6E0000D4-0BA4-421A-B73F-1A3DFF94C074
TUID: o1vxrdu6kmr3sce


17th Place - 24th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2018)

Editorial Reviews


I struggled with something I was enjoying in the beginning. I wanted to like this game, but I have to be honest with myself and not score the game higher...I will say, it does have some good puzzles that did work. But because at it's core it has only one meta puzzle, and that puzzle felt broken for me, the game scored lower than it should.
Score: 7
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McT's Interactive Fiction Reviews

[A] strongly implemented, well written and funny game. Other aspects I really enjoyed were the concise bios of the NPCs in the notebook, the post ending text was very funny, and the light and humorous prose.

My one caveat is that the game, as it is, might just be a little too slight it feels like this could have been expanded significantly both the depth of the narrative and the extent of the gameplay.
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Good Old Days
+ Throws you right into the action and gives you the right amount of information
+ Still has a detailed and believable (as far as super heros go) background
+ Interesting puzzles which feel organic to the scenario
+ Many different endings
- Super hero fatigue
- Minor flaws in the game world's logic: some things can move, others not
= Astounding: An origin story which makes want you want to see more!
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Xenographyer's 2018 IFComp Reviews
This game was cute and flavorful and the main puzzle was fun and reasonable to solve (I imagine some people may find it too easy, but Im bad at puzzles, so)...So, all in all, solidly enjoyable, but its really very slight--the one-hour estimate is overgenerous, I think, unless you get incredibly hung up on some puzzle and wont resort to Foresight.
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Facets of BrettW
My only concerns with the puzzles were the goofy carrying limits, and gathering each and every character at the end is almost busy work. But the writing is charming, the setting is enjoyable, and the polish makes this short romp well worth your time.
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Number of Reviews: 3
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Short, Clever and Great Fun, November 23, 2018
by J. J. Guest (London, England)
Related reviews: IF Comp 2018
In this short, puzzle-centric game, we play as a young woman with a newly acquired superpower - the ability to stop time. Our job is to save a group of superheroes (and villains) from a nuclear explosion which we have put into a state of stasis.

As with all of Mathbrush's games, The Origin of Madame Time is clever, well implemented and fun to play. The action-packed superhero genre is a tough one to pull off in IF, but Mathbrush achieves it here by presenting the action just as it appears in a comic book - as a series of static vignettes. The puzzle mechanic is also clever; we must utilise the powers of the different characters in order to get them to safety.

Where it is less successful is in its sense of priorities. The exploding airship, which ought to have been front and centre, is not seen until some way into the game. In some of the descriptions, important details and bits of biographical trivia are given equal weight, which robs the setting of some of its drama.

The Origin of Madame Time was written as a sequel to The Owl Consults, but it is not necessary to have played the earlier game in order to enjoy this one. Both games are great fun, and highly recommended.

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A fun bit of IF adventure., November 27, 2018
If you are/were a kid who likes comic books, this is the game for you. Also if you are an IF novice--the game has a little of everything that goes into IF puzzles, including doing interesting things with strange objects. I would recommend it heartily to beginners who want to get into short IF games. I thought the game was fun--my one problem was that I read a little too much into the mission--(Spoiler - click to show)at first, I thought I had to get the heroes into a state where they could defeat the villains the instant I released them--but when you get your mind on the right track, it should be quite easy to figure out. I rationalized it this way, in a nutshell--(Spoiler - click to show)All heroes need their nemeses, their opposites, so you cannot save one without also saving the other, perhaps the best possible ending! Still, I wished that the game were a little longer, or somehow involved more of the heroes'/nemeses' personalities more (although obviously they were frozen), so I gave it 4 stars.

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Fun, bite-sized puzzler, November 21, 2018
Last year Mathbrush donated "A short (~30 minute) game based on the author's work" to the IFComp prize pool. I was hoping to get this prize, but it was chosen by the authors of the game that came in one place higher than mine. :) (Instead, I ended up choosing custom artwork, which is excellent and that I love. I've had it framed, and it is now hanging prominently on my office wall.)

Still, I have to thank Thomas Mack, Nick Mathewson, and Cidney Hamilton for choosing Mathbrush's prize. If they hadn't, then none of us would have this fun, bite-sized puzzler to enjoy.

Picking up at the end of the events of The Owl Consults, high school student Justine Thyme is caught in an abandoned amusement park witnessing a battle between several superheros and supervillains when Rex Dashing's nuclear-powered airship explodes. The cataclysm triggers her latent powers, and she inadvertently freezes the entire amusement park area in time.

The gameplay consists of using the frozen superheros' and supervillains' powers to solve a series of puzzles. It's a fun concept that's akin to having a set of magical powers. (Also, watch for a guest appearance by one of the characters from The Owl Consults.)

Mathbrush knows how to write games that head off player frustration, and this is in evidence once again with Madame Time. There aren't too many puzzles in this game (it's rather short), but there's plenty of cluing. There's also a wonderful hint system in the form of the FORESIGHT and AFTERSIGHT commands - a system that actually makes sense within the context of the story and so doesn't break your feeling of immersion in the game.

The understated and somewhat sly sense of humor present in Absence of Law shows up here as well. I got a big chuckle out of what amounts to a "For your amusement" option after completing the game.

I'm also impressed that Mathbrush managed to get this much game into 12K words in Inform.

My one critique is that the game feels a bit short. On the other hand, it's supposed to be short: That was, after all, the promise in the statement of the prize Mathbrush was offering. Still, I would love to see the story and gameplay in Madame Time extended; it would make it even more fun.

Overall, a fun, short puzzle game that you should play.

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The following polls include votes for The Origin of Madame Time:

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This is version 8 of this page, edited by Doug Orleans on 17 November 2018 at 10:15pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item