Glad I could help … yeah, I was getting into some pretty detailed stuff here. But that’s what happens when you write a robust game and people get interested in it! They look into details, for better or worse.
And it’s tough to know when to draw the line on new features. But it’s a neat challenge to tackle ones that seemed tricky, and it also feels good if something pops out so ones that felt tricky, aren’t.
Anyway … moving on …
An Eggcellent Preparation (TALP), by manonamora
My first reaction on seeing this was, oh no, I wanted to play the parser hybrid the author wrote for spring thing, and I just got lazy/behind! But then there was oh yes–they, presumably, had the confidence to build on their experience and use a standard parser programming language. It’s really interesting to see someone move from Twine back to parser languages, as so often it’s been the other way. And in the case of AEP, it works well!
Having recently played a game that wasn’t really about just making a PBJ sandwich, well, cooking eggs seemed in the same vein. Given the author’s previous works I figured it wouldn’t be a straightforward “just make breakfast” affair, and I was right. Don’t be fooled by the fried eggs on the cover, though. You will need to boil the eggs to get the best ending.
And this isn’t about preparing a fancy egg feast, either! Though I wondered if it would be, where the author switched from Thick Table Tavern and different types of alcohol to, well, a cooking scenario with all differnt manner of eggs.
AEP is about something more interesting. It involves proposing to someone in an unexpected and memorable way. I enjoyed the intrigue here. There was an explanation of what you needed to do and why, and how it worked scientifically, and it wasn’t too long, but my adventure-game-theorist side immediately said “Oh, I can see what sort of puzzles would come from this.”
The plot is, in a nutshell: get eggs from the henhouse, boil them, and they are part of your marriage proposal if you do things right. The puzzles are well thought out and lend themselves well to tutorials that don’t spoil things. There are ways to mess things up, and the tutorial mode notes a few of them both before and after the fact. I’m being vague about what to do with the eggs, because I hadn’t read you could do that, and I think playing AEP would generate more interest and surprise than reading me post it here. (You find out pretty quickly, in-game.)
As for the story, there’s some amusing awkwardness and tension over how and when to propose and, yes, there are ways to do it wrong. A traditional way fails badly, and for good reason if you pay attention to things in your house. It’s also possible to propose incredbly unromantically. So that’s all quite funny.
AEP was clearly successful, to me. I felt king of like a bum picking at some transcript/parser bugs that are the sort of thing I find, because I’ve written a lot of parser games, and I know where pitfalls are for good and conscientious programmers. So I felt kind of bad maybe posting a transcript, but then I remembered I shut down and restarted my browser halfway through, and Adventuron didn’t catch that. Which, well, even if I want to make my favorable opinion clear, I feel sort of like a bum for pointing ticky-tacky stuff out. Because, well, it’s the sort of thing that pops up in an author’s first parser game, especially if they were just coming off writing an ambitious entry for Spring Thing.
Given that AEP’s a game I’d like to play through again to look at the design, I might post a transcript later on the down-low. (One reason to post it, as a quasi-walkthrough, isn’t necessary. The in-game walkthrough is fine, especially coupled with the tidy text map, and really, the game is short.) It’s a good size for a first parser game, and it does a good job of funneling the player into what they should do when presenting them with an interesting task, one where I thought “does that really work? That’s neat.” In fact, it’s interesting enough, it’s something I might try in real life.
Again, AEP sold this bit well. Many text adventures/interactive fictions may remind me of books I want to read or even coding I want to try for my own games. Or they make me google images of some far-away cities or look up terms. But actually try something new? That’s rare.