IF Comp ’10 – Simon Christiansen’s Death Off the Cuff!

November 14, 2010

Riff tells me I will like this one.  This is heartening, because man did I hate that game Simon Christiansen did two years ago where… well, shit, that’s a spoiler, but the game is fucking called Grief, all right?  So take your best guess.  I sort of feel bad now, for having hated that game so much.  Hopefully this is the year where Simon Christiansen and I call it squaresies and split a muffin.

Update:  Oh, wait, is this a completely different guy or have I been spelling his name wrong for the past two years?  Oh my God I have.  I am such an asshole!  He’ll never split a muffin with me now!  I wouldn’t split a muffin with me either.

[spoilers begin here]

Okay, the concept is hilarious.  The PC is a Poirot-alike who has settled in for the big dramatic end-of-mystery scene where he makes the psychologically correct number of false accusations before explaining everything and unmasking the real villain, except this time he has no idea who did it.  That’s awesome.  I love me some Agatha Christie.

With a single smooth movement of his hand, he removes the beard revealing the face of a much younger man in his thirties. “My real name is Sylvester Starfield. I am an investigative reporter with the London Tribune, currently doing a series of articles on the actions of the intelligence service during the war. After I realized that the Colonel had been working for MI6 during the war, I disguised myself as “Count von Carstein” and checked into the seafront hotel to get close to him. I had nothing to do with the murder, though. I just wanted to see if I could make him reveal some information.”
I am so the best detective ever.

The Colonel sired and abandoned an illegitimate child, eh?  Let’s see, it’s probably the waiter or the authoress.  Wait, their alibis confirm each other, so maybe it was twins!

“Shanes legs were long and slender. Most men would consider them quite attractive.”
“That’s quite enough,” says Jonathan. A hint of anger is showing on his face. “Leave her out of this.”
You guys so totally did it.

Oh, oh, I hadn’t accused the reporter, because I thought the game would take that as a real accusation, but if this game is true to its source I had better do that, huh.  Awww, nope, the game took it as a real accusation.  I will be a little sad if there’s no pretending to accuse anybody.

I am enjoying the mechanics on this one.  While not innovative, find-the-objects-hidden-in-the-descriptions-of-other-objects is something IF (exclusively?) does well.  I’m pretty much always up for that, and this is a fun context in which to do it.

“You don’t have to play with me any longer, Mr. Germain”, says James. “I was not always just a hotel owner. In fact, I changed my name after the war to avoid my enemies. My original name was Brian Holmes. During the war I worked for MI6 doing Special Ops behind enemy lines. The Colonel was in my unit. When he was killed, I feared our enemies had finally caught up with us. So, naturally, I armed myself.”
Oh, man, does everyone have a secret identity?  That’d be pretty badass.  I bet they do.

“How on earth did you discover these things?” says Brian. “Those records are still classified.”
“I have my methods, Monsieur,” you say, while tapping your finger against the side of your head. “I observe everything, and what I cannot observe I deduce. Please allow me to finish my account and everything will soon become clear.”
Everyone will hopefully have forgotten about this by the time you are done.

Aw, it would have been a nice touch if everyone I wrongly accused suffered a different tragic fate.  As it is, their careers are all ruined, and they hang themselves.  Where’s the fun in that?

It bothers me a little that my last name seems to have gone from Saint Germain to simply Germain, but that’s not germain to the case.  (Sorry!  Sorry.  I am so sorry.  It was there, and I took it, and I’m sorry.)

Oh, of course it would be Detective Goodfellow.  I am so brilliant.  When I get home I am going to do nothing but masturbate to my World’s Most Brilliant Detective trophy collection, for believe you me, it is extensive and titillating.

>brian, shoot goodfellow
When closing a case, you normally talk about people, instead of having conversations with them individually. Anything you can see in the room can be talked about as well. You can only talk about visible objects, not just arbitrary topics.
Can we make an exception to this rule when dudes are about to shoot and kill me?  Also, thanks for not just shooting him yourself, Brian.  You’re a real pal.  Asshole.

Whee, solved it!  (Well, okay, the hint system solved it.  But I helped!)  That was fun!  Call it a seven.  Muffin time now?

Edited to add, ’cause I just thought of this:  I feel like dude’s writing style hasn’t changed significantly — it’s still super factual, unembellished prose — but this is a much better vehicle for it.  (When the facts are ridiculous on their own, it is probably best if they’re blandly stated, although I haven’t done the science on that.)  Oh, and nobody died in this one, so that was nice.

(I do feel like it could have been more… something?  Not sure exactly what.  As other people mentioned, though, the disambiguation was handled really nicely, so nicely that I forgot to really notice it.  What the hell, call it an eight.)

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