Spring Thing 2018 -- general discussion

This is a general discussion topic for Spring Thing 2018.

I just visited the Spring Thing 2018 - It should be fun!

Thanks to the authors and competition organizers.


I need help on BEST GOPHER EVER. I’ve helped all the animals except the hen.

I’ve been lawnmowering around and changing items in the Lab, but since she can’t tell me what she needs, I can’t seem to figure out how to help her.

When you talk to the fox, he’ll tell you about whomever he’s thinking about at the moment, including the hen.

Hmn. I’m not groking.

The fox is thinking about how the Yak used to sell luggage. I’ve shown him the card in both forms. The fox has never mentioned the hen. The luggage was transformed into a duffel bag and given to the mail…bee? Did I goof up by using the luggage too early?


The fox looks over paperwork for various characters. Whoever’s paperwork he’s looking at, TALK to him, and you’ll get a piece of gossip about that character.

I don’t know for sure but I doubt that Best Gopher Ever has any unwinnable states - Arthur’s games usually don’t, and this is at the easier end of the scale.

Oof. Ow. Okay. My bad I guess, but after I got two “Time passes.” messages in a row I thought the fox was out of stuff to do - he cycles every third turn. Thank you.

The fox mechanic somehow managed to be the cutest character in the game.

I’ve blogged some brief (?) and likely unhelpful reviews of the first three games (Best Gopher Ever, A Bunch of Keys, Confessions of an NPC). I promise I won’t go in strict order, and don’t promise to do them all, but here we go.

pyramidifblog.blogspot.com/2018 … first.html

Best Gopher EVAR…NOT A Gopher’s Tale….

Murder on the Big Nothing

Murder! On a train!

It’s a pretty short, focused noir game, where you’re trying to piece together what happened.

It’s under implemented in some spots (x me, about, push , setting is barely there), and I could almost buy this within the story, but not quite. There are short flashback scenes which are more confidently rendered, and the story, while a bit well-worn, is sensibly constructed.

The main thing you’re doing is a sequencing puzzle, and I never really figured out any real indication for which order I should be interacting with stuff, but there are few enough that that isn’t much of an obstacle. It seems like a good use of a parser game to tell a story like this, tied to items in the world. I’m trying to imagine this story as a linear (or even non-linear) short story, and it doesn’t seem nearly as interesting.

The Eyes That Look Back

A story about self-doubt and the faces that haunt us from the past.

Very character focused, putting you in the shoes of the protagonist. It’s paced quite well, with some varied use of cycling and timing and other Twine effects. I was entertained by a choice that literally tells me afterwards that it was irrelevant what I’d picked, but not sure if it couldn’t have been worded differently!

There’s some text I found hard to decipher near the end, and… I don’t think it necessarily should be? It’s sort of like a nagging voice in your head, but making it hard to read made me just skim it instead, which I don’t think is completely the right result; It made it easy for me to tune it out, not hard. The timed text in that section otherwise worked well. A bit abrupt of an ending maybe (I don’t think I “got” it fully; the house?? If anyone thinks they have a better bead on that last passage, let me know).

Working on some 2-5 minute “first impressions” videos of games. Starting out with a couple Twine/HTML ones. (possible spoilers in videos)

Really, IF / Really, Always: youtube.com/watch?v=n8lycF8xpAI

Venience World: youtube.com/watch?v=1S_kO7alGUQ

I’ve posted a couple of reviews:

Spy EYE, emshort.blog/2018/04/17/spy-eye … hing-2018/
Life in a Northern Town, emshort.blog/2018/04/21/life-in … hing-2018/

Thanks for the Life In a Northern Town article, it was interesting to reward.

Some folks have already seen it, but I wrote capsule reviews about most of the games here: medium.com/@liza/spring-thing-f … 5583a28a7c

Thank you for posting the link. I am glad to have the opportunity to read your review of House.

Continuing the 2-5 minute “first impressions” videos of games:

New Ones:

Previous Ones:

About Best Gopher Ever:

Given Arthur’s previous form, I feel like there must be some hidden way to get into the locked estate. If you were able to break sequence so as to hold on to Emily Pig’s key, it seems likely that you might be able to use Ram’s machine to turn that into a key to the estate. But I can’t figure out how the sequence-breaking might work. Can you discover the path between the empty lots from the other direction?

Hi. I’m stuck in House, and would appreciate any clues anyone can offer.

So far, I’ve done the following:


I could talk to Leah about lesbian, us, collage, tomboy, being miserable, Judaism, painting, Leah’s dad, Leah, theater, pain, leaving, feeling, remembering, someone else, dying, myself (Ayumu) or girls.


I could retrieve any of the following memories:

beginning of our connection
artistic expression in the backyard
Hanukkah menorah

The only non ASK ABOUT command I’ve successfully done is DANCE (and HUG?). Also EXAMINE LEAH gave me two other more complicated questions I could try, one about asking about mom’s reaction to affair I think, and another question which I forget. But after trying those I couldn’t find anything else.

Conversational avenues which seem like they have more to offer still are the affair, collage, the Shakespeare production, and the song we danced to.[/spoiler]

To pad this post out a bit, here’s the IFDB review I did for Venience World (not actually a spoiler):

[spoiler]Venience World is a metaphorical story about remembrance and physical/mental spaces. It’s a Spring Thing Back Garden entry, and the intro to a potentially larger game.

The immediate standout thing is its novel browser-based interface. It’s all typed; there’s a command prompt even. But beneath that prompt, you’ll see the available command(s) at any given point, one word at a time. eg. you’ll see “try” underneath the prompt, and after typing try and pressing space it’ll say to, and you’ll type that, then understand, and you’ll type that, and then your command will become bolded and you can press enter to try to understand. If you type anything else it won’t allow you to press enter. Sometimes, you’ll see more than one command you can type.

There’s a mix of more conventional parser IF commands (take envelope, go north) but the interface also allows for internal conversations, thoughts, longer sentences, and other flourishes. One of your most important commands is “begin interpretation”.

It looks very nice and clean. There’s good color coding and use of bolding and italics and such to convey a lot of what’s going on.

It did feel a bit drawn out at points in the first half (either it could’ve been quicker paced or there could’ve been a few more options), though it opens up a bit near the end.

But the typing, even completely guided, made me focus on the words more, without getting into the implementation/guesswork messiness of a full parser. Sometimes that was detrimental: when the commands got a bit mundane, or when the actions felt muted (“consider the sense of panic”?). But overall it is a very neat effect, and holds promise.[/spoiler]

I am a little surprised to see certain topics missing from your list, considering the topics you have found and the only combinations you have used. Have you tried to ASK ABOUT each individual topic?

If you still want help, here is some help with the conversational avenues you felt were promising:


And if you want help after that, here are some ways to combine the topics you have listed (this does not include combinations that lead to the transition to the final act):

[spoiler]>A IF SHE IS TOMBOY


Note that one of the commands above gives one of two answers, depending on when it it is invoked.[/spoiler]

Continuing the 2-5 minute “first impressions” videos of games (This finishes up the Back Garden games):

New Ones:

Previous Ones: