IF Comp ’09 – Ben Vegiard’s Interface!October 16, 2009
This one is billed as a “deliberately ‘Old School’ romp.” I don’t think you can get much more old school than Spelunker’s Quest without actually being stored on eight five-and-a-quarter-inch floppies, but I’ll give Interface the ol’ ben. of the d. (Just wait until I start blogging as Bertie Wooster full-time. You guys are going to love it. On a completely unrelated note, Ben Vegiard’s new nickname for purposes of this review is Inky Two-Veg. Good chap, old Inky. Writes games and doesn’t afraid of anything. I wonder what P.G. Wodehouse would have thought of the internet?)
“Well, I’ll be dashed, Jeeves, it says here this fellow put a car in his car so he can drive while he drives. Rather Oedipal, that. Is it Oedipus I’m thinking of, or another of those earnest Greek chappies?”
“That particular meme, if I may say so, sir, is at the tail end of its life cycle, as evidenced by divers subversions of it, my personal favorite being this captioned photograph of Matryoshka dolls.”
“You don’t say. What are Matryoshka dolls?”
“Russian nesting dolls, sir. The idea being, naturally, that one put a doll in sir’s doll because one heard sir liked dolls.”
“How extraordinary. I don’t recall telling anyone I liked dolls. Come to think of it, I don’t believe I do like dolls. That is the trouble with people, Jeeves, they neglect to check their facts. Now, if anyone calls, I shall be in the drawing room charging my laser.”
“Very good, sir.”
Mostly Spoiler-Free Upshot: I think this game had the best-clued puzzles overall, if not necessarily the most innovative. Goals were clearly presented, mostly, and the solutions were logical, plus the premise was pretty cute, and other than a few typos, there was nothing really wrong with it. Oh, and excellent hint system. For an unambitious little house puzzler, it was not bad, Inky, old bean.
[spoilers begin here]
Now he spends his time doing what he likes best: thinking about what could be and letting his staff geniuses work out the details.
Man, I want that job.
Oh, man, Gilby is a dick. And I’m stuck in some sort of robot, I think? This is interesting.
Apparently being in a robot kinda sucks.
I wonder what it is about humans that makes us, when given the tools to create anything we can imagine, tend towards building houses? A lot of people are sick to death of house games, but I think the nesting instinct is sort of interesting, plus you know where you’re at with a house. Fridge and all that. Couches. Well, okay, granted those are generally pretty dull things, but they don’t have to portend shittiness. I think this is the point where someone usually goes “Shade, you guys.” Since I’m the only one here, Shade, you guys.
The restrictions on my robot body make things kind of interesting. I’m not resenting them as much as I did the restrictions on my invisible body in that other game, because I’m not the idiot who turned myself into a robot without considering the ramifications.
> scratch car
That verb will be too hard to pull off while trapped in this robotic body.
There goes my petty revenge, then. Also, while this sentence makes a nice change from “I have no idea what the fuck you’re talking about,” I’m wondering if it could be phrased differently to be less transparently a default message. “Your camera does not see that at the moment” is pretty good, though.
> open stove
That’s not such a hot idea.
I’m okay with there being nothing useful among the knick-knacks, but after they were described as things “that only true old school geeks could love,” I wanted to know what they were. Also, it’s smart of Gilby to put the cabinet blocking this secret alcove on casters, if he’s going to be moving it often, but it’s too bad he hadn’t thought of that before the hardwood floor got all scratched up. Either that, or these are really shitty casters.
Man, Gilby’s not only an asshole, he’s an asshole who steals shit from work. Generally I’m okay with light employee pilfering as reparations for boredom and oppression, but not when assholes do it, and not from my uncle. My uncle is a really good dude.
Few typos rearing their heads around here. I think “tage” is supposed to be tags, which I wouldn’t comment on except it’s in an object name, which is something to watch for as a potential game-killer. The tags don’t seem important, and they’re visible, so you know to type “tage” instead, so it’s not that big a deal, but it could have been. Testing will easily catch that sort of thing, though.
Lot of “you see nothing special” cropping up, too. Some sort of hint in the description of the pyramid-shaped harness as to what I was supposed to do with it would be nice. If this particularly complex machine doesn’t have a description either, I’m going to glare threateningly at a bunny.
Oh, phew. You’re off the hook, Mr. Fluffers.
Hmm. I wonder what that fucker did with the circuit board. Oh, he’s got it in his hand, and he’s taking a nap? Puzzle time!
Man, I’m not even a very well-built robot. Some of my wires are sticking out. I believe I am owed some angst.
That verb will be too hard to pull off while trapped in this robotic body.
Oh, it’s not the circuit board he’s sleeping with, but his keys. He must know that I intend to use his keys to do a thing so I can do a thing so I can do another thing and eventually wind up with that circuit board. I suspect he would’ve been better off putting the circuit board on a high shelf and calling it done.
Where’d he go? I better unlock this car right quick. Oh. Huh. That didn’t do much.
You don’t have time to waste with these time-wasters!
Gilby’s in the shower, unaware that his towel lies wet and dirty on the kitchen floor. Guess I got my petty revenge in after all. Fucker.
Oh, good, he’s gonna drive his car away, and I’ll finally be able to get at that piece of plyboard. I wonder what I’m going to need it for. Also, I wonder if he would’ve just driven off, had I left the keys in his bed. Nice touch if so.
Y’know, “you see nothing special about the sheet of plyboard” is not helping me figure out what this piece of plyboard is for. I’m not even sure how big it is.
Oh, okay, these papers seem to indicate I can take my treads off and somehow get up the stairs. Let’s try that.
Huh. I have no idea how.
> get off treads
But you aren’t on yourself at the moment.
Hmm, if treads redirects to me, I’m not sure how I’ll get them off. Time to investigate the hint system!
3/7: How does someone who only can use wheels (or treads) go up and down stairs?
Oh! That’s what this board’s for! Duh! Also, the hint system is quite good.
Damn, only made it up three steps.
It was a very nice try, though.
6/7: The front porch only has a few steps.
There’s a front porch? I have got to start paying attention.
Oh, shit, was the front door key on the ring with his car keys? The ones he took with him in the car? Shit, shit, shit, shit, shit. Stupid unwinnable states.
It’ll give me an opportunity to check the keys thing I was wondering about earlier, though. I’ll leave them on his bed. Man, he better not lock the front door again, although I’d maybe have time to unlock it while he’s in the shower. Oh, good, looks like he didn’t. Wow, yeah, looks like he’s programmed to look for his keys in his bedroom first, then if they’re missing, he goes to find me. That’s pretty damn slick for a comp game. I wonder what he’ll do if I take them and hide them somewhere while he’s showering? Oooh, I’ll put them in the fridge.
Oh, apparently he’s not programmed to check his bedroom first, but to go directly to where his keys are and take them, giving a different message if I’ve got them. That’s less slick than I was thinking, but it’s all right. Having him look everywhere in the house would be a bitch to code.
Oh, right, I’ve been carrying this knife around in my grippers! I’m surprised that didn’t freak Gilby out when I was following him around watching him look for his keys.
Well, that was pretty cute, and the puzzles were nicely clued and logical. I’ll call it a seven, which I think means Byzantine Perspective should get a seven too. I feel like I’ve been restricting smaller-scope games to lower scores a bit too aggressively. Maybe Spelunker’s should go up to a six. The Ascot should, definitely. It was charmingly goofy and I think I overpenalized it for failing to take advantage of its medium. Yeah. I should do that.