I couldn’t do any better than you could with the cards. I’d assumed winning would be scoring 3 points of 5, but the angry wolf card seems to just win.
Toadstool > Mongoose
Clover > Eagle
nothing > Joker, so use Snake
Kitten > Ectoplasm
I think the author wanted to follow Daudet’s story faithfully, or at least not let you do better–where the goat also dies at dawn. So the harsh world view in general seems intentional, and I think the author was faithful to Daudet.
There is some foreshadowing. If you listen around the rooster then you have a clue, and the game never tells you you can/will win. That said the 40% missed is a pretty shocking gap assuming the author isn’t playing the “you can’t win” card with the score, too.
I noticed they also wrote Talk To Him About Love, which was an eclectic Adventuron game. They’ve worked to improve a lot of implementation issues. But if they are using PunyInform there will be less user-friendliness.
I agree MSG would be a better fit for ParserComp. There is too much fighting the parser here. Things like JUMP versus JUMP FENCE made it sticky for me to replay & in fact seem like a missed opportunity to say “hey, you can rely on shortcuts, here.”
I think it’s more of a technology demo, so probably not the best fit for the TALJ, but it could have been with some more work. It was actually written in The Quill (hence the two-word commands) and converted to Z-code using zQuill.
I haven’t read Daudet’s tale, but I suspect that it has a moral at the end, but the moral was not mentioned at the end of the game, hence it missed the point.
I’ve done a map and solution that I’ll submit to CASA after the jam, but here’s an advance copy for anyone that’s desperate.
Yes and no … maybe I’m giving the benefit of the doubt by having read the original story after playing through once, but I hope I can sort my thoughts into “what I thought before/after I read the story.”
I think the author could have been clearer, but then, there’s a risk of being too on-the-nose. There’s a certain reward in being able to figure things out, mechanically or with the story, on (re-)playing/(re-)reading. And I think it would have lessened the story to have Blanchette’s last thoughts be “what a fool I was for wanting freedom!”
Madame Bovary spoilers
To get all literary-snob, when I see Daudet I think of Flaubert, because French names that sound similar, etc. Also I think it was in Julian Barnes’s Flaubert’s Parrot where the author mentions Daudet, unable to speak from his illness and near death, pointed to the sun while trying to argue for the existence of God.
I don’t think Flaubert meant to have a moral per se in Madame Bovary, and saying “Gosh, what a tragedy, it was nobody’s fault” or “that’s the way it is” in the end would’ve ruined things, as would have blaming Emma Bovary for her own death or her husband’s subsequent death. There’s a lack of idealism in both this story and Madame Bovary.
No seriously a Madame Bovary spoiler: When we are informed the horrendously up-to-date Monsieur Homais gets the Croix d’Honneur in the final sentence, it is up to us whether we will be morally repulsed or resigned to how cruelty and hypocrisy exist in the world. So having examples like this that potentially have no moral can very much help to say “that’s the way it is, and it sucks, but I’m not being a negative nancy” for myself and helps me deal in the way Positive Psychology can’t. There are Monsieur Homaises in life and being able to label someone Homais-ish is a great coping technique.
And also there is the quote in the middle of Madame Bovary: “human language is like a pot on which we bang tunes for bears to dance to, when all the while we hope to move the stars with pity.” And that’s what happens here. Blanchette wants the sort of freedom a person can have, and she can’t explain why, but she also will never understand how impossible it is until it’s too late.
So here is what I pieced together/noticed on my first time through. Note this is a bit of devil’s-advocacy.
interpretations and notes
The conversations with the rooster and Mr. Seguin, along with LISTEN, suggest that Blanchette’s quest for freedom will end badly. I mean, Mr. Seguin locks Blanchette in, in order to keep her from pursuing her dreams, and the happiest (relatively) part of the game is when she is tied to the post eating food! There’s a certain disappointment, for me, seeing there wasn’t much else in the initial area once you were unbound by the post.
Then there’s the skeleton of the goat in the quiet grove, along with the casual but not grotesque violence e.g. the bloody card after hide and seek and the hermit killing the lamb for food–again, the lamb knows this is what will happen. And the one puzzle has you trapping the rabbit so the owl can eat it, so you get the flour bag, etc. This suggests that a lot of NPCs are marked for death, so why should the main character be any different?
So I think there is enough foreshadowing. Though I think the author is misleading with what to do in places e.g. with the Kitten card. And they make it hard for the player to work this out while fighting the parser. That leaves this question: how hard should the player be expected to work to suss this out, especially in a jam like TALP? With nine entries over thirty days, I had the patience to do so. With more, maybe not.
There’s some meta-foreshadowing, too. If you type 1 through 4, you get a different error message than typing 5. So that suggests that no, indeed, there is no fifth card you can play, and once the wolf gets angry, nature takes over.
“Too much freedom is a bad thing” and “living beings can’t fight their nature” are pretty common themes.