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The Gostak

by Carl Muckenhoupt profile


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Number of Ratings: 65
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- Cosmo42, May 28, 2020

- Dan Fabulich, May 12, 2020

>VERBOSE -- Paul O'Brian's Interactive Fiction Page

I was shocked at how quickly and easily I found myself typing commands like "doatch at droke about calbice". However, the whole experience was completely cerebral, with little of the emotional catharsis I associate with successful storytelling. I felt this effect when I played Dan Schmidt's For a Change, but it's ten times stronger in this game, where words aren't simply rearranged but actually replaced wholesale. Consequently, while playing The Gostak was a strange and memorable experience, one which will surely elevate the game to the rarefied level of For A Change, Bad Machine, and Lighan ses Lion, I found it a somewhat strained sort of fun. Great for a puzzle-solving mood, and certainly worth trying if you're a cryptography buff, but not terribly involving as a story.

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- IanAllenBird, December 11, 2019

Language, meet Logic, December 2, 2019

It is very tempting to try to translate The Gostak. I've found different versions of the, no, more accurately I should say a story on the internet. I too have created a story based on my understanding of what things and what actions the strange words in this game refer to.
But as Chase Entwistle put it so well in his review: "Distimming the doshes could be the most evil thing imaginable."

I really started appreciating this game once I let go of the assumption that the "words" had to have external referents, and instead viewed them as symbols in a logic system that could be manipulated through their interactions with other such symbols.

This brings this game very close to mathematics or symbolic logic. "Distim", "Gostak", and "Dosh", like any other "word" in this game are defined solely by their relations with other "words". Putting "words" next to other "words" makes them act in a certain way, and gives output from which the player can infer what role they have in a logical system.

But yes, of course I have my own version of the story. And my, how my doshes are distimmed by that gostak!

- ArchDelacy, November 29, 2019

- Denk, November 23, 2019

- draziwfozo, September 2, 2019

- florzinha, July 12, 2019

- kevan, July 11, 2019

- CleverFool, June 11, 2019

- comfortcastle (Sheffield, UK), May 6, 2019

- gildedSnail, March 17, 2019

- davidar, November 10, 2018

- AKheon (Finland), September 22, 2018

- Joey Jones (UK), September 15, 2018

- Mr. Patient (Saint Paul, Minn.), August 1, 2018

- yaronra, July 16, 2018

- mjw1007, January 15, 2018

- Greg Frost (Seattle, Washington), November 7, 2017

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
Amazing (In every way that matters), October 19, 2017
by Chase Entwistle (Blue Valley Southwest High School)
That is how I would like to start off this review. In the world of Carl Muckenhoupt's The Gosstak, you play as the gostak, who distims the doshes and comes from the bewl. A word of clarification: This game is in English. However, it is rare find an English action verb (as in run and eat, not verbs like be) or English nouns (other than pronouns). The simple beauty of this game is that even though you don't understand what distimming the doshes is at first, you know that you are the gostak and that the gostak distims the doshes. After a while, you can draw inferences but they are only that. Inferences. No matter how many connections you can make between a word and its meaning, and how utterly obvious it may seem that this is what the author was intending, everything you know about these words is based on, well, other words.
In addition, there is plenty left to explore and contemplate even after learning all you need to know to solve the puzzles.
Though this may not be the best IF to start on, as the words add an extra layer of complexity, it is amazing to go to as an experienced Interactive Fiction player.

- lkdc, February 1, 2017

- Brian Kwak, December 28, 2016

- Oreolek (Kemerovo, Russia), October 20, 2016

- insufficient data, July 9, 2016

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