Surprising similarities and coincidences in games this year

This is more about what I feel is a good design choice than any specific detail. So no spoilers, but I love the convenience and hope to see more of it with bigger games.

Games that let you (re-)build a new ending without fully replaying them:
At King Arthur’s Christmas Feast and Mermaids of Ganymede both ask you for what options you chose, or would like to have chosen, when reloading/replaying a later chapter, independent of any saved games.


The similarities between A Paradox Between Worlds, SpamZapper, and extraordinary_fandoms definitely struck me, especially since I ended up playing Paradox and SpamZapper back-to-back. It also entertains me that SpamZapper is explicitly set in 2000, Paradox is definitely taking most of its inspiration from Tumblr circa 2010 (with elements of a more recent controversy added on), and extraordinary_fandoms seems to be modern-day, so you get a neat series of one-per-decade snapshots of fandom/online culture (or at least a subset thereof).


Dueling superlative swords:

Silicon and Cells has the Total Garbage Sword if you start the MUD as a warrior.
4x4 Archipelago has the Really Big Sword referenced in its blurb if you find one of three ways to fly to the yellow pillar.

Also, stretching a bit:

Silicon and Cells and Off-Season at the Dream Factory has a fight with hit points pitting a “brawn race” (troll/orc) against a “humanoid race” (human/elf/dwarf) that you’re supposed to lose, and if you don’t, you make someone in power very, very angry. A twist: you are the “brawn race” in OSatDF.

You can also basically set this up in Cyborg Arena.

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This may not be a surprise that we have 2 games with this mechanic. We probably have them every year. But I realized how vastly different each one was in intent and setting, and it was a surprise to me to make the connection just now.

The Miller’s Garden and Infinite Adventure use tight-looped repetition of rituals with minimal description, without any (seeming) progress, but to very different emotional effects, before suggesting that you quit, and there is no possible Ultimate Win.

TMG is broken into days and just nags after a certain point, while IA gives progressively stronger clues you’re getting tired before saying “good night” and booting you.


IFComp is over, yeah, but I’m still paging through my reviews and editing them for IFDB. Hopefully any further contributions to this thread will be a reminder that people are still reading entries closely and finding neat details.

So here’s another: I Contain Multitiudes and D’ARKUN both have bottles of laundanum, though one is for you, and one is for someone else. I don’t recall seeing one in IFComp.


WHHoGG has a bottle of morphine.


I keep forgetting that morphine/laudanum/opium are similar in so many ways. I remember reading the name Laudanum in Asterix and figuring it was laundry detergent, so it is separate in my mind as one of those odd words, whether or not it should be!

And oh, if cover art counts:

You Are SpamZapper and Grandma Bethlinda’s Remarkable Egg both have manicules (a fancy word for “a finger pointing at stuff”–hey, I admit I just learned it now) pointing to the cover art title. This seems like it should have been more common, but again, I don’t recall seeing it before, so that’s enough for me to keep this topic going.


For the record, all three come from the “opium poppy” flower. However:

  1. Morphine - First modern drug ever isolated from a plant. Morphine is extracted from the whole plant, minus the seeds. Usually in liquid form that is meant to be injected by syringe.
  2. Laudunum - Another early modern drug, laudanum (or “whole opium”) is different in that it is extracted from the entire plant, seeds included. Usually in liquid form. Due to its extreme bitterness, it is often mixed with other liquids, primarily alcohol.
  3. Opium - An ancient “drug” made by harvesting the resin outside the seed pods of a mature plant. Originally drunk as a tea (tissane) but later become more popular in smokeable form.

Today, #1 is a commonplace hospital drug, #2 effectively no longer exists, and 3# is rarely sold as-is anymore since it is more profitable to convert it into heroin.