I’ve never seen anything quite like this, a game delivered as Inform source, where part of the story is told in comments in the source code.
This is a brilliant idea! But… I’m not sure that this game actually did anything with that idea. In particular, I got nothing out of playing the game that I didn’t get from reading the source code.
People often argue whether given products are or are not “truly interactive fiction,” and I typically have no time or interest in such arguments, but I just read the source code, and that was the whole thing.
I felt like perhaps I was missing something, so I went back and played the game, solving the puzzles using the information I already had from the source, but actually playing the game added nothing. In fact, the game itself is rather underimplemented.
>x lapse You see nothing special about the memory lapse.
The playable game is also rather full of dream logic, treating random concepts as “doors” and “unlocking” them with objects that don’t seem to be keys. When I
unlocked the sound curtain with the clef I thought to myself, “this puzzle would have been an unfair non-sequitur without the source, but with the source, it’s trivial, perhaps barely even a puzzle at all.”
So the playable game is strictly less than the source, especially missing the comments in the source. What’s the point of even running the game at all?
And, uh, that ending.
Dream logic games where you win the game by committing suicide are not my thing. This game includes a very vague content warning, “The story may contain material inappropriate for young children,” but I think it would be wise to add more specific notes, perhaps “mental illness; self harm.”
If the compiled game were submitted in isolation, I’d probably give it a 1 or a 2.
I hope someone (perhaps Steffen Görzig) builds a game as Inform source again in the future, but the Inform source should be obfuscated; it should appear to do one thing, but in fact it does something completely different. Playing the game should help to de-obfuscate the source. Thus, the game can help decode the source, which helps solve the game, and so on, back and forth.
(If this game has a deeper layer of meaning, I’d be glad to know of it. I really do feel like I must have overlooked something cool about this game.)