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About the StoryOn the surface, > seems to be a traditional adventure game, featuring treasure, an NPC, a puzzle, and a happy ending. However, matters are complicated by the realization that the work's purported author is actually a character within the story, calling into question the objectivity of the narrated events. Deeper interpretations are possible once one examines the source code to reveal the gender of the supposed author, implicating the player character as a cheapskate customer trying to skip out on a poor but brave male prostitute determined to receive payment. In this interpretation, the piece's title takes on new significance, invoking not only the standard IF prompt with its promise of agency, but also the cultural perceptions of worthlessness familiar to marginalized members of society like sex workers. Does the prostitute-narrator think he is "greater than" the player? Or does the player value his or her own character over the NPC? If the player makes the moral choice to make payment before attempting to leave, how does this color the interpretation of the game's ending message?
Nominee, Best Use of Innovation - 2010 XYZZY Awards
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Number of Reviews: 4
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Most Helpful Member Reviews
The game includes (Spoiler - click to show) an item called "$" and an NPC called "@". To win you give $ to @ then leave.
The game's source code is 140 characters. How much can you do with that? Well, if you code your error messages with 1-2 character responses, you can do more than you'd expect. Attempting to leave before the "puzzle" is solved, gives you a "@!" remark- clever as it tells you that you must do something regarding "@".
Aaron Reed's commentary is great also, because it gives detail to the "story" where there wouldn't possibly be any, making it kind of silly, though detailing at least the thought that went into the game. (Since @ is a character in the game AND the listed author- we have self insertion, etc).
Now I don't want you thinking you're going to get some kind of IF gem here. It IS a 140 character SOURCE CODE. No room description, no item/NPC description, nothing spectacular. What I do reccommend this for is for the people out there attempting to make "minimalist" games that are nothing more than doors floating in space. This game looks like Aaron Reed saw the other games and said "No, I'll show them how to make a minimalist game" and did so (hopefully shutting the door on the whole concept!).
3 stars. 5 stars for what it was, 1 star because, compared to most real games, it's quick, has no story, is simple, lacks room descriptions, etc. However all this works for the game in this *RARE* case, so I'll average it.
A welcome reprieve for the disheartened reviewer.
Because I never knew about the whole TWIFcomp. It was a great idea and I was surprised at how many people submitted entries and tried silly and even dirty tricks. If you missed the comp, as I did, the results and source are at this link. I hope they stay a long time. And as someone once derided for not liking code-golf even though I should, I found something worth code-golfing and learned about all sorts of computeristic poetry and bizarre programming tricks from this. I bet there is something there for you.
Given those restrictions, the game is understandably sparse. Nevertheless, there is a "puzzle", and you can "win". There is even some "meaning".
You should not forget to read Aaron Reed's own analysis of the game after playing it. That is at least half the fun.
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