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Alias 'The Magpie'

by J. J. Guest profile

Comedy
2018

(based on 22 ratings)
2 member reviews

About the Story

Sir Rodney Playfair, gentleman thief, has a simple plan: impersonate a psychiatrist, infiltrate a country house, steal a priceless Egyptian scarab and make it back to London in time for cocktails. All in a day's work for the illustrious 'Magpie'.

Game Details

Language: English (en)
First Publication Date: October 1, 2018
Current Version: Unknown
License: Freeware
Development System: Inform 7
IFID: Unknown
TUID: yspn49v69hzc8rtb

Awards

1st Place overall; 1st Place, Miss Congeniality - 24th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2018)

Editorial Reviews

McT's Interactive Fiction Reviews

Beautifully, professionally done – superbly implemented. Funny, clever and delicious. I doubt it can be completed in 2 hours, but this is currently the standard bearer in the competition for me. 10/10.
See the full review

IF Comprehensive
A rich setting, motivated puzzles, and memorable characters
My introduction to interactive fiction was playing the Infocom games as a kid. They were fun then but a bit dated now, with an emphasis on contrived inventory and set-piece puzzles and less NPC interaction than modern works. “Alias ‘The Magpie'” plays like one of the best games from that era, but with a rich setting, motivated puzzles, and memorable characters. Score: 10
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The Breakfast Review
Something Fresh
Now, this is Something Fresh. We are an imposter -- that is, we are a slippery gentleman thief pretending to be a famous psychiatrist -- and our objective is a scarab, a Cheops of the Fourth Dynasty. What follows is a Wodehousian romp complete with dotty aristocrats, disguises, and wacky hijinks.

I enjoyed this quite a bit. The voice is engaging and the writing knows just how much to say and how much to leave out. The puzzles were just challenging enough, and the gating is effective. The characterisations are comedic just verging on cartoonish, without going into eye-roll territory. It's certainly not deep or thought-provoking in any way, but this damn-well near exactly what I come to IF hoping to find.
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Good Old Days
+ Colourful and very detailed background
+ Wonderfully neurotic characters
+ Clever setup for a nifty chain of events
+ Best use of a cucumber in a video game ever
+ Had me laughing so hard I had tears in my eyes at times
- Some of the puzzles could have used a bit more or better hinting
= Just like playing a Pink Panther movie.
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Patrick Brian Mooney

This was a fun treasure hunt. The multiple levels of deception involved in pretending to be multiple people to various NPCs was also a fun mechanic. The multiple disguises were great, too, and most of the interlocking puzzles were wonderful. The map was elegantly designed and access control handled gracefully. In all of these ways, it feels a lot like The Wizard Sniffer last year, though with a smaller, more restricted field of action and with a larger verb set. But all in all, it's wonderful in some of the same ways. Rating 9/10
See the full review

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Member Reviews

5 star:
(11)
4 star:
(9)
3 star:
(2)
2 star:
(0)
1 star:
(0)
Average Rating:
Number of Reviews: 2
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Great game for those new to IF, October 25, 2018
This is only my third IF game/book but it is easily my favourite. It's very accessible to those of us without the experience of of IF conventions and expectations.

The puzzles are great and easily solved with help from the extension (and hilarious) hint system. It took me a bit longer than most but I didn't mind wandering around being an idiot, as everything had a purpose in the end.

The characters are amusing and easily recognizable if you've ever read Wodehouse, though they are more whimsical, though just as expertly written.

It will definitely make you laugh. And I don't think you'll be able to stop playing before you get to the end...

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
One of the Best IF Comedies I've Ever Played, November 16, 2018
Alias 'The Magpie' drew me in quickly, with its very English tone and sense of humor. I found it cleverly-written, well-implemented, and a lot of fun to play.

Like last year's The Wizard Sniffer, as the story in Alias 'The Magpie' unfolds it keeps raising the comedic stakes higher and higher in ways that leave you thinking, "How is this all going to hold together?" But it does. Does it ever: I have rarely laughed so much playing an IF game! J.J. Guest has already demonstrated a fine-tuned ear for comedy in To Hell in a Hamper, but it's clear he's gotten better with time: Alias 'The Magpie' is longer, features several more characters, and has a much more complex plot, but that comedic fine-tuning somehow manages to be even more on pitch.

My one critique is that I think a couple of the puzzles are rather difficult for a light comedy game. But this is a minor critique in what is a truly excellent parser comedy - one of the best IF comedies I've ever played, in fact.

If you enjoyed Alias 'The Magpie'...

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Recommended Lists

Alias 'The Magpie' appears in the following Recommended Lists:

Games that made me smile by MathBrush
I wanted to do a list of comedy games, but I think people rarely think "I want to play a comedy game"; to me, the phrase brings up some kind of jokey, goofy game, like many of the poorly made Twine games that people make now. Instead,...

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Polls

The following polls include votes for Alias 'The Magpie':

Trying to find a good comedy. by H. W. Wiliams
I'm hoping to find a good comedy IF title. I've been away for a while and want a good laugh before I head back to work. Any suggestions?

Solved without Hints by joncgoodwin
I'm very interested in hearing truthful accounts of at least somewhat difficult games (or games that don't solve themselves at least) solved completely without recourse to hints, walkthroughs, etc.

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This is version 12 of this page, edited by J. J. Guest on 24 November 2018 at 5:50pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item