IF Comp ’09 – Matt Scarpino’s Resonance!

October 20, 2009

Not sure what to RSS-buff about today.  I did read that toy (I think) designer Alex Green has developed a process to turn your baby’s placenta into a (disputedly) adorable teddy bear, which is extremely umwhat.  Also, this doner kebab I’m eating is both delicious and messier than fuck.  (I would say “messy as fuck,” if I simply wanted to indicate that it was very messy, but no, it literally is messier than fuck.  Well, not all kinds of fuck, I guess, but many.)

Anyway!  Four games left!  Let’s knock this noun off a second noun!

Mostly Spoiler-Free Upshot: Sort of a detective game with sci-fi elements, and definitely one of the better games I’ve played this comp.  Reminded me a bit of last year’s Nightfall.  The combination of an integrated map and GO (LOCATION) moving you towards a named location made it nearly impossible to get lost, the conversation system eliminated the need to figure out what to ASK about, and typing HINT gave me a single hint relevant to my current situation.  The writing was not bad (more over-the-top hardboiled detectivery would have been fun, but whatev) and the puzzles were enjoyable enough, but the main thing I liked about this game was its commitment to tedium avoidance.

[spoilers begin here]

Oh no!  Psychodyne has captured my female!  I must stop them before… well, she didn’t say, but I’m guessing it’s something bad.

Oh, okay, it’s a sci-fi noir.  I can dig that.  Oooh, and it looks like I can go places by typing a keyword, which is nice.  Already looks like some care’s been put in this game.

Any woman named Sonia is trouble.  If she weren’t, she’d be named Betty.

Wow, I have a real bad case of drank-away-my-memory, apparently.  Real bad.  Steve the bartender is filling me in on everything I’ve done in my life.  I wonder how often he has to do that?  “Those are pants, Jimmy.  They go on your legs.”  Oh, Steve’s also my brother.  That don’t mean he ain’t heavy, though.

I can’t take the soup?  What if I need the soup?  I might need the soup!

> x cabinet
*** Run-time problem P7:  Too many rulebooks in simultaneous use.

Hey, if I turn on this television, d’you suppose it’ll be displaying a news story relevant to my current situation?
“In other news,” continues the reporter.  “Psychodyne Incorporated has completed its government-subsidized purchase of broadcasting stations across the country, including our own WXRP.  CEO Wyndham Vail had this to say.”
Sort of, I guess.  Man do I hate Psychodyne.  And that Wyndham Vail guy has got to be evil evil evil or his name would be Bill “Jerry” Goodneighbor.

So… where do I go now?  The police, since I’ve been burgled?  The newspaper office, since I found this card?  Straight to Psychodyne, to find out what I’ll have to do to get in and kick their asses?  That last one doesn’t sound too bad, actually.  Let’s try that.

Oh, dude, my asshole ex-partner shot my brother!  That’s not very nice!

On the plus side, my wife’s still alive!  Psychodyne’s been using her as some kind of experiment, so she might have tentacles growing all out her face, but with the lights off, that’s actually sort of hot.

Wow, Maxi-Mart wants ten bucks for an empty pie tin?  This better be the future, buddy.  No bullets, either.  Maybe there’ll be some back at the bar?

You hand Sally ten dollars and sit in the adjustable chair.  After covering you with an apron, she leans close to you and whispers:  “We’re all doomed.”
What good is the apron, then?

Did you know the resonant frequency of a chicken skull is 7 kilohertz?  I didn’t until just now!  This game is educational!

Okay, Psychodyne is planning to use every broadcasting station in the country to hypnotize people to… something.  Shut up and obey, probably.  Oh, huh, a cop has riddles for me.  Hmm.

‘Sometimes I’m white and sometimes I’m black.  I’ll take you to your destination, but I’ll never take you back.[‘]
I have no idea.  A hearse?  A hearse.  (Of cea- wait, no, that’s a terrible joke and I’m not making it.  So there.)

…this desk is asking me a riddle, too.  That’s novel.
“What’s larger than the universe, faster than light, and capable of breaking the spirit of the most determined man?”
Hyperbole?  You got me.  Nothing?  Ha!

After you finish reading, a thought occurs to you:  the Fair City police should be informed.  With the FCPD on your side, you’d stand a better chance against Psychodyne.
But I’m wanted for murder!  The police in these kinds of stories aren’t known for listening to reason… although I did just answer a riddle posed to me by a desk, so anything goes, I guess.  Which, come to think of it, if you had a voice-activated secret compartment, why would you make its password the answer to a riddle and engrave that riddle on your desk?  I mean, people are notoriously stupid with their passwords, but this guy has his own security company!  My security company!

You can see Corporal Finks (dead), Sergeant Snyder (dead), Sergeant Cantrell (dead), Chief Landon (dead), and five Psychodyne Guards (dead) here.
Oh, man, was that the entire police force?  I hope that wasn’t the entire police force.  It certainly seems like all our named dudes.

Oh dear, I should’ve found out what one of those dead dudes’ names was.  Now I’m captured and Wyndham Vail is laughing like a maniac.
Seriously.  Who does that?

I think maybe I was supposed to do more in town?  I still don’t have any bullets for this gun, and I seem to have hit sort of a dead end.  What happens if they capture me?  Can I still win?

The shiny wrapper says that this is a genuine Maxi-Mart garlic yogurt bar, made from 100% real garlic yogurt.
That is not what I call “candy.”  Should I eat it?
Much to your shock, this garlic yogurt bar is the most repulsive thing you’ve ever tasted, and you quickly stop eating.
My friend Ben got a celebratory lollipop at work once.  Apparently there’s this candy company that will print company logos and mix and match flavors, and whoever put the order in went with marshmallow pistachio.  I want to say he described it as Satan’s hardened ejaculate, but I’m pretty sure that was something else.

Oh, wow, I’m blocking these mind rays with a candy wrapper!  Maybe I should go back and put that finger bowl on my head.  I still don’t have any bullets, though.  Maybe I’ll un-go to the cops and try to find some bullets.

Well, so much for “explore everything.”  I wonder if the Fairchild mansion is deadly also?

Y’know, I thought about wearing the bowl to block the mind rays, but when I read it reminded me of a finger bowl, I assumed it would be too small.

Ah, the bowl did the trick.  Billy Idol was right, you don’t need a gun.  Oh, man, a math puzzle!  Narratively all these puzzles everywhere are a bit silly, but I’m enjoying them.  So far this game’s very well done.  This particular puzzle is not so much a puzzle as an example of two variables, two equations, but I am all right with that.

Well, that was easier than I expected.  I just had to shove Wyndham Vail against a wall.  And bang, happy ending!  I like that I’m still wearing the aluminum bowl under my fedora.  What sort of experiments were they doing on Sonia, though, and how was she able to contact me psychically?  I thought that was going to be cleared up.

I liked this game.  It may have a nine.


  1. Yeah, I thought this one was pretty charming.

  2. “This beast can live forever on hard liquor and fresh air, and its color changes depending on what it east. Yet it dies when it drinks water. What’s its name?”

    I’m not sure why “hangover” didn’t work.

    • That’s awesome.

  3. “east” should be “eats”

  4. Yeah, this one was pretty good. I did use your review for the answer to the riddles though. I think a 9 would be a bit high, but definitely a nice game. Will go back to it to try to get more points.

  5. I’m guessing the “garlic yogurt” is meant to be a reference to Earthbound’s “trout-flavored yogurt”. Then again, maybe yogurt is just an inherently funny food. Yogurt.

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