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Amazing Quest

by Nick Montfort

2020

(based on 11 ratings)
6 member reviews

About the Story

at last, you now need to get yourself and your fleet back home. Decide as if it all depends on you, trust as if it all depends on the gods, and you will have an amazing quest...

Game Details

Language: English (en)
First Publication Date: October 1, 2020
Current Version: Unknown
Development System: C64 BASIC
IFID: Unknown
TUID: of92yiv7g2eopvb1

Awards

Entrant - 26th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2020)

Editorial Reviews

Retroactive Fiction
An examination of the source code, and a bugfix
See the full review

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Member Reviews

5 star:
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4 star:
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3 star:
(1)
2 star:
(2)
1 star:
(8)
Average Rating:
Number of Reviews: 6
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Most Helpful Member Reviews


5 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
Boundary-pushing, but not in a good way., October 4, 2020
by Robin Johnson (Edinburgh, Scotland)
Related reviews: IFComp 2020
Look, I pride myself on not being a gatekeeper. I'm not up for arguments about what is or isn't IF, or a game. This is a game that tests that tolerance.

As far as I can tell, it's an infinite series of yes/no questions created procedurally from a small pool of random words ("you $ENCOUNTER_VERB a $ADJECTIVE $PLACE", do you $ACTION? (y/n)"), and your answers make no difference to it. It comes with a rather pretentious "introduction" and "strategy guide" which apparently serve to try to convince you that there's a deeper game in there, or that if you're good enough you'll enjoy this one.

It would be kind of cool that it was made for C64, and the documentation made on a mechanical typewriter, except that it doesn't make any use of the unique features of either technology.

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
Your choices have no effect, and that's the point (of the joke), October 6, 2020
The game around this game is the game.

The author provides the source code for this game on the game's website, but it's in the form of an image, and the source is minified so as to make it harder to read.

Luckily, Ant Hope did the hard work for you, analyzing the source.

And it turns out, your choices have no effect. (If you played this game like I did, pressing enter for Y on every turn on your first playthrough, you probably guessed as much.)

The instruction manual and strategy guide are deliberately misleading about this, but, in hindsight, their awkward phrasing includes subtle hints that your choices have no consequences. Like this passage from the intro:

If you allow your imagination to help you elaborate each stop on your journey, and if you truly get into the mindset of the returning wanderer, Amazing Quest will offer you rewards as you play it again and again.

So, this game leaves something to be desired. But the meta-game has a puzzle: decode the source code. And now I've spoiled it for you.

But the meta-game also has a toy: play Amazing Quest and use your imagination to tell your own story with it.

If the documentation had been more honest about the game's purpose ("it's a little procgen ditty for the C64; see if you can imagine your own story to go along with it,") I could have given it a better rating.

But instead, I claim that it's a prank, a joke played on the player. I appreciate that the prank is a puzzle with a solution, and that there are even some clues to help you solve the puzzle. But IMO this game, this prank, treats its players disrespectfully.

This game would be 100% better by having players opt-in to the joke, so we're all in on it together. As it stands, you, having read this review, can now enjoy Amazing Quest on its own terms, though you probably can't enjoy the process of decoding the source, not now that I've spoiled it.

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Story, game, interactive or fiction? None of the above., October 29, 2020
by RadioactiveCrow (Irving, TX)
Related reviews: Less than 15 minutes
I'm giving this game one-star even though it appears to be working as intended (usually I reserve one-star ratings for games with serious bugs). This "game" isn't a game, there isn't any story and it has only the veneer of interactivity. Literally none of the choices you make have any impact on the output. The outputs don't provide any sort of narrative. Best case this game might be considered some sort of critique of the interactive fiction, but I don't understand it (perhaps the author will enlighten us one day). Worst case it is just trolling. Not even worth the 10 minutes it takes to play.

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
likely a critique or satire on conventions in retro-gaming, October 5, 2020
by WidowDido (Northern California)
Related reviews: if comp 2020
Written for the Commodore in 2020, the game seems to be a joke or criticism on world-building, marketing, and player/designer expectations in games, esp. games of that era.

I think the nature of the game requires reading the bundled documentation before play. So don't ignore this for the full gaming experience.

The player controls a ship on its way home, able to make y/n decisions on its attempt to reach home safely.

(Spoiler - click to show)The Y/N options seem to be calculated based on probability or are random. You can get two different responses by answering Y to the same question, or you can get the same response for a Y then a N.

The documentation states the player will enjoy the immersive world by making such weighty decisions. Yet, it is more like pressing a button that is hooked up to nothing. I played through 4 times: mixing y/n, then all Y and then all N. No discernible difference each time.


If one desires to see how a short game and its promotional material can parody the activity of gaming (or, perhaps more narrowly, a genre/era of gaming), then go ahead and give this ten minutes.

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Not So Twisty Passages, Yet All Alike, October 3, 2020
by deathbytroggles (Minneapolis, MN)
I grew up on BASIC and Commodore 64 games, so all my appropriate nostalgia cylinders were firing. Unfortunately, this game is so incredibly basic Iím unable to find the appeal. In fact, this was the type of game when I was a kid that I loathed, what with only binary choices and extremely vague descriptions. I have to believe this is intentionally terrible, a meta joke as it were. For example, you can get the exact same option twice in a row and get different results for the same choice, making one believe the strategy guide included is indeed part of the joke.

I played this longer than I normally would have given the author. Bravo to Montfort for taking the effort to program in an ancient language.

See All 6 Member Reviews

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This is version 6 of this page, edited by Zape on 7 October 2020 at 8:12pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item