Review: Andromeda Apocalypse

[spoiler]Low corridor - Other side of the gap
A wormhole dug into rusty metal and torn pipes, the curving tunnel runs northeast into a smaller instance of the same environment. A faint light flickers through luminescent lamps on the ceiling. The floor is a sturdy grating, plunging into darkness below.

A gap in the west wall opens into darkness. On the other side, an extended ledge is suspended over the void.

ne

High Corridor
The space widens in all directions. The bigger tunnel in which you stand is a replica of the lower ones, starting southwest of here. Same environment, except for different proportions. The ceiling is at least ten meters above you, and the wormhole is equally wide. To the south, it clogs into a strange valve, like an intestine curtain of steel. To the east and northeast, two glass paneled doors open into similar, sterile rooms. The high corridor continues to the north.

ne
(first opening the northeast glass door)

Northeast Laboratory
The room is exceptionally blank. Its walls are lined with polished metal and there’s no furniture, apart from a single, weighty table in its center.

x table
It looks like a metal table, but only because it is made from a horizontal slab and four legs. It is polished to exhaustion. It looks like an examination desk.

Just by chance you drop a glance down and discover something. Under the table is a steel grate, leading into darkness.

d
You pull the grate and hold it up while you descend into darkness.

Waste Duct
Dirt formations cover the walls of this steel duct, running under the laboratories and the high corridor. An ancient stench of death fills your nostrils. Above your head, a steel grate clogs the exit. The duct continues west.

[You have earned the The Dweller achievement]

w

Waste Duct
Dirt formations cover the walls of this steel duct, running under the high corridor. An ancient stench of death fills your nostrils. The duct continues east and west.[/spoiler]

If literature is about moments of being and life is about moments of boredom, then bad interactive fiction is scarily lifelike. Much as in life, in Andromeda Apocalypse you spend a good portion of your day walking between non-descript locations. Now and then you run into one of those “artworks” that decorate institutional spaces. In Andromeda they are usually prefixed with the adjective “strange,” to distinguish them from all the non-strange items that make up this alien space station.

Even at its worst, literature has a content. When literature is bad, it’s because its content is bad. The peculiar thing about interactive fiction is that it’s possible to write a lengthy game with no content whatsoever. You’d think the f-word would mean something, but to the likes of Mr. Innocenti it means nothing. It’s just a pretext for creating a world of corridors and waste ducts, a world which is as interactive as it is fictional (the opening scene is a vapid infodump where you get to type TALK TO OREN three times in a row).

[spoiler]“A penny for your thoughts,” whispers Uncle Oren.

tell oren about thoughts
You prefer following the flow of the conversation.[/spoiler]

I know that most of you people are semi-literate trailer trash, but would you please humour me and learn the difference between transitive “lays” and intransitive “lies”?

A crumpled, alien wreckage lays at your feet.

A hen lays an egg. A woman lies down. The first has an object, the second doesn’t. The reason why I address you people in the plural is because Andromeda won the comp. That means that you little mongos decided that an author who doesn’t know the difference between “lays” and “lies” deserves a prize. What is even stranger is that this game has had no fewer than ten testers. How could you miss an error as GLARING as that at Very Beginning Of The Game? Do you speak English, Neil Butters, Wade Clarke, Francesco Cordella, D. J. Hastings, Kevin Jackson-Mead, Andy Joel, Joey Jones, Paul Lee, Andrew Schultz and Sam Kabo Ashwell?

The Hyerotrope has collapsed into the giant structure, punching through it like a wrecking ball.

This is a new low, people. It feels like I’m berating mental pygmies. Seriously, I’m thinking about leaving this forum for good.

And there was much rejoicing.

Aesthetic considerations are no longer relevant in interactive fiction. But that’s hardly news. It’s been an accepted fact ever since kitschmeister Plotkin released The Dreamhold. What is new and exciting about this year’s comp winner is that literacy is no longer relevant in interactive fiction. “An alien wreckage lays at your feet” writes cicerone Innocenti. What a fitting surname for a man who is innocent not only of English grammar but also of intelligence and imagination. What a fitting guide for those of you who voted for his game.

When-anything-goes-nothing-really-matters has been my motto concerning most fantasy and sci-fi. Mr. Innocenti has yet to reach the anything-goes stage. The problem with Andromeda Apocalypse is not that it’s incoherent but that it’s not substantive enough to require coherence. We’re dealing with an author whose idea of letting his imagination run wild is a world of blank corridors and empty waste ducts. And you people voted for him.

I’m curious- who did you vote for, Pudlo? If not Andromeda Apocalypse, which of this year’s current offerings most approaches the ideal?

Your very obsessed with correction grammar in IF. Its not that important if the game still is fun to play and has a good stories plot.

I’ve skimmed through half the games so far and most of them are better than Andromeda. Both Sunday Afternoon and Killer Headache look solid and interesting. You people have terrible taste if you think Innocenti is this comp’s best writer.