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For all systems. To play, you'll need a Z-Machine Interpreter - visit Brass Lantern for download links.
competition entry
For all systems. To play, you'll need a Z-Machine Interpreter - visit Brass Lantern for download links.
design document
To view this file, you need an Acrobat Reader for your system.
Story File in Russian *
Contains bluechairsR.z8
Translation by Vyacheslav Dobranov.
For all systems. To play, you'll need a Z-Machine Interpreter - visit Brass Lantern for download links.
* Compressed with ZIP. Free Unzip tools are available for most systems at www.info-zip.org.

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Blue Chairs

by Chris Klimas


(based on 85 ratings)
13 member reviews

Game Details

Language: English (en)
Current Version: 2
License: Freeware
Development System: Inform 6
Baf's Guide ID: 2396
IFIDs:  ZCODE-2-041229-942D
TUID: uva1vc6ico5u65zg


2nd Place overall; 1st Place, Miss Congeniality Awards - 10th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2004)

Winner, Best Game; Winner, Best Writing; Winner, Best Story; Nominee, Best NPCs; Nominee, Best Individual Puzzle; Nominee, Best Individual PC - 2004 XYZZY Awards

34th Place - Interactive Fiction Top 50 of all time (2011 edition)

Editorial Reviews

Baf's Guide

My favourite game in IF-Competition 2004, Blue Chairs almost immediately won me over by a wonderfully surreal (or, more precise, dream-like) atmosphere and setting. As it turned out later, they were combined with one of the strongest stories I'd ever encountered in interactive fiction. On the other hand, it has been (deservedly, it seems) criticized for somewhat obscure puzzles, so that someone could find enough reasons to take away a star off its rating; someone - but not me.

-- Valentine Kopteltsev

Yet work it does, with more than enough panache to spare. Yes, all of the above problems are inarguably present -- the sequence in the maze-complex or whatever it is does drag on too long, there are some actions I'd never think to do if the walkthrough didn't tell me to, and the whole Dante-and-Beatrice angle made me roll my eyes. But man, it just doesn't matter. I'm willing to concede that a good part of my goodwill towards this game is a result of its peculiar aesthetic, and particularly the author's knack for description, which comes off like Clockwork Orange by way of Freaks and Geeks. [...] The puzzles for the most part live up to the off-kilter yet sharp aesthetic of the prose.
-- Mike Russo
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>VERBOSE -- Paul O'Brian's Interactive Fiction Page

Klimas has a hold of something very powerful -- interactive fiction steeped in surrealism and symbolism. This sort of thing has been tried before, but Blue Chairs is the best realization of it that I've seen.
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Member Reviews

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Number of Reviews: 13
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Most Helpful Member Reviews

9 of 13 people found the following review helpful:
Technically great, full of symbolistic smugness, December 28, 2008
by kba (berlin)
I played Blue Chairs because I looked specifically for games with a surreal setting and surreal is what I got. The opening scene is really great, both technically and as a plot device, and it seems like the start of some psychedelic fun. But it isn't really psychedelic, it felt more like the stoned ramblings of a preachy zen-buddhist who read too much wikipedia on Freudian pychoanalysis. Then again, I don't know what kind of drug I, the player that is, is on.

I have no problem with games with a message, but either I didn't really get it or I'm not interested in it.

But mine is a very subjective point of view: The game is flawles technically, has various endings and if you are into psychology of the sub-consiciousness, symbolism and new-age-isms or just more tolerant than me, you will love it.

Even though I didn't like it I advise you to play it, it deserves it!

8 of 12 people found the following review helpful:
Needs an Author's Cut, June 11, 2008
by Marsh (Oxfordshire, UK)
The game deserves 4 stars. A good edit would get it 5 stars.

The implementation is utterly sound and the prose is consistent and error-free. And that alone is enough to set this apart from 80% of that year's offerings.

It's a beautiful game, and I got really immersed. However, there's a dream section that goes beyond the nightime otherworldly and into pure surrealism for the sake of getting some exposition done. It's not needed, and shakes the mood.

What I'm saying (non-spoilery) is that the conversation with the reporter could as easily have been done by a conversation with Chris, while flying through the dark in the car.

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful:
Mysterious green liquids, May 6, 2011
by Aintelligence (Canada)
Don't do drugs.  I think that just about sums up this whole piece.  Of course the moral could be don't step inside freezers if you stop at a gas station, or for that matter it could be promoting the game Carcassonne.  Yes, it was that type of game; the type where I ask myself what the heck i'm doing inside playing this game.  I can't really see what the charm really is with it.  A guy does drugs, goes slightly delusional, and tries to get to his friend.  There that's the main storyline.

Now it isn't really that the implementation was bad at all.  It was very good.  I didn't find any kinks in in the puzzles (most of them fairly straightforward), I wasn't verb guessing, and there were multiple endings (which was nice).  However, the plot itself absolutely was incredibly confusing.  Instead of sticking with a straightforward line, the plot dives off either side into simply extraneous and pointless puzzles.  It felt almost like the author wasn't sure where to take the story and decided to confuse the issue.  It goes from trying to get a drive to your friend's to walking in an endless maze.

I think that the most frustrating thing about it was that the author expects the readers to understand a whole bunch of in-game allegories.  Many of the puzzles hinted that what you saw was referring to "the bigger picture".  (Spoiler - click to show) for example, In the freezer maze, the people that we see (Carcassonne girls, old man, monsters etc. Are surely supposed to mean something, but it made absolutely no sense and felt like I was doing busy work   there were so many questions which the story threw at me that in the end, the story made no sense, and left fifty pieces which made no sense.  Yes I know the main character is under the influence of drugs, but it just doesn't work giving readers a bunch of pointless dead ends.

I know many people are going to be annoyed at this saying that I've missed it altogether, and please leave a comment, but I really felt like this was trying to look way more deep than it really is.  I didn't like it, but due to the mixed reviews it's a detonate must play.

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Blue Chairs appears in the following Recommended Lists:

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The following polls include votes for Blue Chairs:

Artistic Games by WriterBob
I'm interested in games that take the fiction of IF to new levels. These are not straightforward, plot driven games. Think instead of games that play like poetry, or games that focus on a character's revelation.

Unreliable narrators by verityvirtue
I'm interested in games which hinge on the 'unreliable narrator', from amnesia to a plain distorted worldview. The more this distortion affects the storyline, the better.

I'm looking for a great surreal game. by Bishopofbasic
It's pretty hot up here in Canada and I was wondering if anyone knew of any great surreal type games. Something I can spend my time in front of the AC or in my office hiding from the world. Thanks you guys.

See all polls with votes for this game


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