Ultimate Quest

You’ve been kidnapped, confused, and trapped in a factory to do labor far beneath your true level. The friends you once knew think you’re dead, if they think about you at all. But you’re equipped with NV-level nanomite implants, meaning that you can disassemble and reassemble the world around you in surprising ways. It’s up to you to escape, confront the people who put you away, and complete the world-changing project you had begun.

Ultimate Quest is a new IF game — written by me, gorgeously illustrated by Silvio Aebischer — that opens today and runs in five episodes through the 22nd, as part of a new product launch by NVIDIA. The first players to complete the game will win actual prizes. If you’re reading this, you probably have a head start on the competition: this is classic parser IF with plenty of puzzles and exploration.

Note that this is a game with Twitter connections: you will need an account to sign in, and to tweet during play.

Can confirm: this game is great.

Well, there’s a lot of good things about this, but there’s a timed sequence that requires a lot of trial and error and where it’s really hard to keep track of where you are through the required undos. And sometimes it uses a turn on a disambiguation request, which makes it especially hard to keep track of, because I think it might be throwing things out of sync? Maybe not. Anyway, “restart” says it takes you back to the beginning of the level, which I thought might be distinct from episode, but it in fact means episode. Oh well.

I so wanted to play this game. I won’t even go into my usual online-only rant; when I saw it was being endorsed by a big company like NVIDIA I figured I’d be wasting my time.

But twitter-account only? That’s harsh.

Emily, I don’t suppose that years from now, when this is long forgotten, and NVIDIA couldn’t care less about it, you could adapt it into Glulx, illustrations included?..

I can’t promise anything, I’m afraid.

Fair enough, I guess. Still, congratulations. You know, funny thing, as I read the blurb for the game, the first few sentences, the thought in the back of my mind was “Ok, good enough so far, but where’s the ambitious, mind-boggling world-altering stuff? This is a Short game, so there has to be some”. Then I got to the point about the implants and I went “Ahhh, here it is.” :slight_smile:

Just an FYI, really. In my mind you, Zarf and Cadre (not been around much, him) are pretty much synonimous with ambitious, world-altering, awe-strucking works. I wouldn’t feel cheated if you came up with a more “normal” game, but I’d probably always be looking for the twist, the gimmick.

matt w- Yeah I was less than thrilled about having to restart to get through climactic sequence; I would have love a “save.” There were also a few other quirks that kept the experience from being totally butter-smooth, which I’ll mention after the prizewinning period. (My overall enjoyment still averaged out to very high.)

I shied away from this the moment it asked me to enter my twitter account handle. I don’t have a twitter account. Well…I do…but I tweeted like twice and left off like four years ago. The game wants you to tweet things as part of the plot? That sounds like it could be really cool, or else Farmville style advergaming. Not that Emily Short doesn’t deserve to get paid, but I don’t know how worthwhile it would be to start using twitter for this game.

What does it do? Tweet your score? Spam your twitter with NVIDIA advertisements? Or is it integrated into the game, sort of like MAJESTIC?

HanonO - it’s integrated into the game, sort of. Some of the tweets are messages to in-game characters and/or for in-game “connect to the teeming cyberpunk network” reasons. There’s also the option to use twitter to enable you to rename in-game items with creative flair, which sometimes gives an in-game bonus but is not necessary to win.

I’ve played the first four episodes and that generated ~9 mandatory tweets. Also, though, I’m playing with one of my alternate accounts, that only has three followers. If you tweeted like twice and left off four years ago, that’s pretty much the perfect kind of account to play with. :slight_smile:

I only made it through some of (apparently most of, from what tove says?) the first episode and I had two mandatory tweets. The integration is definitely “sort of”; you have to pretend to tweet an in-game character to unlock the next move, but the relevance of the tweet is pretty low. But you can edit your tweets as you like, it seems (though maybe you have to include the hashtag for the game). I was also using a dormant Twitter account that I’ve basically kept lying around for purposes like this. Anyway if it helps Emily Short gets paid it’s fine.

Anyway, it’s worth trying the game, though after losing all my progress as described above I realized I was relieved I didn’t have to play anymore. The opening is pretty great, and I don’t want to go into specific detail while there’s still a contest on, but the limited verb set which is presumably supposed to be a convenience turned into a huge battle with the parser for me – some of the actions you have to do don’t map nicely to any of the verbs you’re given, and one of the verbs is vague enough that it’s hard to tell what it will do when you use it (these two factors go together), meaning that there’s a fair amount of “I know what I want to do but I don’t know how the game wants me to phrase it.” In other words, the Guess the Verb problems get pushed back to Guess the Syntax.

Also there’s that timed sequence; I think best practice is, if you have a linear game with a puzzle that’ll require you to rewind several turns if you fail a sequence, for failure of that sequence to take you back to the beginning place. Especially since the save function was disabled; multi-undo was possible, but it’s hard to tell where you are after undoing so the cycle of experiment-fail-undo till you figure out where you are-experiment-fail-undo-etc. was more punishing then it should’ve been. And if there was something I should’ve done earlier then the point I kept rewinding to, that wasn’t very well clued.

Anyway! A lot of other people seem to be enjoying it so take me as a dissenter. And, having read this post, you should be forewarned about the fact that “level” in the restart message means “restart the whole episode.”

Anyway if someone has kept a transcript I’d be interested in seeing it afterwards.

Okay, I may need to check it out, thanks for the descriptions and detail!