IF Comp ’10 – Owen Parish’s Pen and Paint!

October 7, 2010

I need to play Pen and Paint so I can see what all the fuss in my immediate social circle is about.  I can sort of imagine what it’s about, since my immediate association with the name Owen Parish is a sort of white-hot rage over something to do with coins, but that’s still not the same thing as personal experience.

(On the whole, I try not to let my fucking coins prior exposure to an fucking coins author’s work color my opinion of fucking coins everything else they will ever produce, because that hardly seems SERIOUSLY THOSE MOTHERFUCKING COINS fair.  Plus I feel I have to enforce some statute of limitations, let these things go eventually, or I won’t have room in my heart to be really angry about fresh puzzles, or for blood.  And I like having blood in my heart.  It is one of my favorite things.  Sometimes I like to expel it really quickly into the rest of my body and then go get some more.)

[spoilers and unintelligible rage noises begin urgle glah]

Huh.  I think I am some kind of magic writer, and my wife is some kind of magic painter.  That is interesting.  I am interested.

>take battery
You feel a thrill of power.
I’m gonna start buying my batteries wherever this dude buys his batteries, because damn.

>x machines
You don’t know what they do, but it’s presumably something to do with food. You’d rather not touch them out of fear of explosions.
That’s awesome.

>x toilet
It’s sparkling clean. All the time. Unfortunate memories of other toilets push at your thoughts, but you shove them back into hiding. Here and now, this toilet is clean.
As is that.  Hey, mechanical musician who lives in my bathroom, do you know where I keep my pens?

Hmm.  Okay, I found my pen.  Now I need to find inspiration so I can write.  Eleanor, do you know where I could find some flowers?

>ask eleanor about flowers
You must supply a noun.
I thought I supplied two!

>open dresser
That’s not something you can open.
The game and I seem to disagree here on the fundamental nature of “dresser.”

>x ceiling
Not all the stars are the same, that would be an unpleasantly uniform.
I had to wear an unpleasantly uniform back when I worked for the Unpleasantly Company as a regrettable.  It sucked.

Okay, seriously, where are bird?

Sphere picture?  Do I need to write in my notepad about this?  Do I need to write some lyrics before I can sing?  What am I supposed to be doing?

Cheating.  Oh, the seashell was filled with birdsong?  I should’ve tried listening to it, I guess, because that is exactly the sort of thing that would happen in a crazy magic house like this.  I bet Eleanor’s a redhead.  I bet she pops out at parties.  I’m not going to let her be in my show.

What would a botanist think about as he walked through a forest?
Oooh!  Oooh!  Is it plants?  I bet it’s plants.

You came on a path from the west. The path continues to the east. Your tent is set up to the north.
Amidst the Trees
You’re lost.
What?  Already?

>x gooseberries
Unripe, probably too sour to eat with experiencing extreme suffering.
Yeah, you really want to pair experiencing extreme suffering with something sweeter, as a nice counterpoint to the bitterness.  (Pointing out minor lapses in sentence-formation-as-intended is fun!)

Edge of the Fieldand the Grey Tree
The tree is tall and, incomplete.
>x tree
You can’t see any such thing.
Oh.  Because it’s incomplete, I guess.  Let me just lean against this wall and sob briefly, and we’ll continue.

Not sure what I’m supposed to be doing in this forest exactly.  Cheating again.  Oh, okay, I maybe could have figured that out, although it also could have been better hinted.  So now what, hit up all these other paintings?

Huh, where’d I get this sheet music?  Is that what I just ripped out of my story about a dwarven botanist exploring a forest?  That bastard Tom Bombadil has a lot to answer for.

>give music to musician
The mechanical musician doesn’t seem interested.
Screw whether or not he seems interested!  He’s a damn mechanical musician who lives in my damn bathroom and I want him to play me some damn music, dammit!
>musician, play sheet music

The mechanical musician has better things to do.
OH that is IT
>fire mechanical musician

You don’t have any type of launcher.
Okay, this game can’t be all bad.

No idea what to do in this mine.  Got some rubble.  Some of it is quite near the pit, I inform me.  Got some goblins whose attention needs attracting.  Got a chameleon skull.  I can’t simply yell; that would be too easy.  I can’t sing because I don’t have any lyrics.

>take rubble
The chunks are heavy, but you manage to pull one off the ground.
>throw rubble into pit
(first taking the rubble)
You can’t carry any more.
The weight of the rock is too much for you, and you have to put it down.
You know, usually I appreciate when a game does stuff for me, but dude.

Oh, huh, I still can’t throw it down the pit.  Feel justified in cheating.  Particularly feel justified a second later, when I see that the walkthrough-sanctioned command PUT CHUNK IN HOLE effectively throws it down the pit.

Grey Passage
This passage leads further down, incomplete.
Oooh oooh let me guess.
>x passage
You can’t see any such thing.

>lean ladder on idol
You carefully wedge the top end of the ladder underneath the idol’s brow.
Oh, man, I’m kind of lacking in religious sensitivity here.
>climb ladder
I don’t think much is to be achieved by that.
Okay, fine.  Up?

Good hinting with this ladder-idol-blanket business.  I worked it out myself and my shoes are all squishy with pride.

Oh, okay, got another music sheet.  Presumably I need to collect all of them before the mechanical musician WHOSE SALARY I FUCKING PAY OH NO I’M NOT BITTER will give a shit.

About you are four passageways. You sense the majesty of the king to the north, the smallness of the servants to the west, and the outer sanctum to the east.
Wow, I’m really good at sensing stuff.  Now I feel silly having ever asked where the bathroom was instead of simply sensing its desire to receive my urine.  (Or perhaps its resentfulness at having to do so?  I’ve never really asked.  I kind of would rather not know.)

Grey Room
You can see incomplete.

I’m not sure we really need all this hallway.  This is a lot of hallway.

>x treasures
Glittering gold, jewels of many colours, expertly made statuettes, and rare dweezils.
Dweezils?  Isn’t that a type of zappa?

>x rod
It can be used to smite spirits.
>smite servants
You’ll need the rod to do that.
You’re right.  I’ll need the rod.  Shame it’s RIGHT HERE IN A BOX IN MY INVENTORY and I am NOT SMART ENOUGH TO REMOVE IT FROM SAID BOX.

Whee, servant smited!  Now what?

It would be nice if ASK SERVANT FOR SHROUD worked, or at least stopped telling me I could only do that to something animate.

Wait, what flowers?  It doesn’t say anything about flowers in the room description, or the description of the table, or the chairs, or the portraits… what the hell flowers, game?  And what am I supposed to do with this battery?  Oh, drop it and pick it back up?  I’m not sure how to feel about that.

Your Rock
Your rock is a simple one, without luxury.
Not like those other guys’ rocks with their seven-inch-thick angora carpets and their Michael Cera bookends and their solid-gold Louis XIV computer toilets that flush both ways.  No sir.  This rock is a man’s rock.

Here, there is a dragon. A silver one. You feel unnerved by its presence. And what’s it doing here? And he’s got a hoard of treasure.
Hmm, that music box looks important…
>x music box
Funnily enough, it has a dragon design on the top. Wait, how do you know it’s a music box?
You just told me?

You find a pot of gold!
>x gold
You can use it as a decoration!
It is super cute how excited I am about this.  Maybe my rock isn’t such a man’s rock after all.

Cheating again.  Oh, take the pink clouds?  I can do that?  Okey-dokey.

Ah, okay, I should have talked to the crew first.  I would be more likely to talk to people if they weren’t such flat objects.

A-ha, got the culprit in a sphere!
“What I did, I did for art and for the audience.You’re quite content to just let yourself and your talent rot, never doing anything. I meant to force you to move your mind and actually finish some of your stories.”
Remind me not to move this guy’s penguin.  I hate having my legs hit with hammers.

I had to type STOP to reach an ending?  Would not have figured that out.

Well, that wasn’t so bad!  Had some implementation issues (the flowers in particular, sheesh) but the concept was fun and the puzzles were pretty well-hinted, particularly from a dude I had previously associated with that motherfucking coins bullshit.  With a little more fleshing out, some proofreading, and many many helpful failure messages, this’d be a solid game.  Giving it a six.


  1. Your account of your interaction with the mechanical musician is one of the funniest things I have read in recent memory.

    And I totally agree with your overall assessment. I think this could be a really neat game when it’s finished; what I don’t understand is why the author submitted it to the competition in its current state, rather than waiting until next comp and giving us something with more polish and fewer unimplemented grey areas.

    • The incomplete grey areas are deliberate, I think; they’re parts of the paintings that Eleanor hasn’t painted yet, or that got messed up by the bard dude. It still confused the hell out of me the first time I ran into them. The other insufficiently implemented stuff is insufficiently implemented, I think.

      …I was going to say I didn’t have a problem with the flowers, but it turns I didn’t use the flowers. Got myself inspired by dropping and picking up the battery twice. Well.

  2. Huh, where’d I get this sheet music? Is that what I just ripped out of my story about a dwarven botanist exploring a forest? That bastard Tom Bombadil has a lot to answer for.

    Ha! I laughed out loud at this. The reviews really are half the comp.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: