IF Comp ’11 – Adam Le Doux’s The Elfen Maiden!October 17, 2011
I think I am done trying to save the best-looking games for last. I have tried that the past few comps and inevitably throw some sort of prima donna exhaustion fit* before actually playing the games I expected to be transcendent beautiful paeans to the inevitable triumph of the human spiri — wait, no, I forgot my priorities for a second — funny games with dick jokes.
The Elfen Maiden sounds pretty good. I’m just going to play it. S’aright?
* These would be way more fun if I had servants, for the record. Someone get me some servants! Then tell those servants to get me more servants! Then promote half the second group of servants to management and have them fire half the original servants, then you fire those servants! Then fire yourself! Ha ha! A ha ha ha ha! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!
[spoilers begin here]
No one knows a man like his computer. Of this fact you are certain. His diary? A public essay by comparison. His spouse? A passing stranger. No other person or thing in his life witnesses more closely the daily catalogue of his hopes and dreams, his secret desires and follies. No one else observes his midnight search terms, his unsent emails. Besides, not every man has a diary or a spouse. Every man has a computer.
I love this game already.
Jason Watts’ computer is known as Morgoth. “Morgoth, Lord of Darkness,” is strictly speaking, your full title, though when you can get away with it, you introduce yourself to other computers only by your I.P. Address (72.36.475.789).
I named mine, apparently, ham. Lowercase, period included. The simple fact of ham, understated and post-modern. Also, if you ask my computer, it will tell you I work for the Jimmy Hat Cab Company. (This used to be a real cab company in the Phoenix metro area! Is that not an amazing thing? I wonder what their contraceptive failure rate was and how it compared to Vagina Sponge Taxi.)
A webcam icon points NORTH. An e-mail icon leads NORTHWEST, towards the inbox. It’s flashing, indicating unread messages. ABOVE you the ethernet port goes out to the wider internet. An icon depicting a torch-lit dungeon leads DOWN into Realms of Realmland, the popular online game.
Freaking excellent! And the game starts me off with a clear purpose, to see what’s up with Jason. Let’s see what’s up with Jason. Wait. Shit. We’ve got a virus.
As you touch the virus it howls and burrows deep inside you. It pushes and pulses through your harddrive, then burns through to your motherboard. It screams or maybe you’re screaming. As you die all you can think of is how frustrated Jason will be when he tries to turn you on. If he replaces your harddrive, will you still the same computer? Will he still call the impostor in your plastic body Morgoth?
…oh. Don’t try to eat the virus, kids.
Jason Watts is 31 years old and scruffy. He’s very friendly, if sometimes not totally there.
Hey! Me too!
The crux of the problem is this – there is not a single female elf in all of Realmland, nay in all the vast reaches of the internet, who is not played by a man. Of this simple fact, you are certain. A Human Woman may truly be what she claims. A Dwarf Matron almost certainly is. But an Elfen Maiden? Never.
I like this as a premise, but I think statistically most or many actual females in World of Warcraft wind up playing night elf hunters with a kitty pet. (Full disclosure: I played a night elf hunter with a kitty pet. Riff kept his female night elf rogue way more slutted out than I kept my character, however, and when we quested together he was invariably the one dudes would hit on. I found this hilarious.)
It’s kinda typos up in this game.
Ohshit, failed a timed puzzle I didn’t know was there! Maybe I need to disable Realms of Realmland? Oh, okay, I have 30 minutes to wake Jason up, or he’ll take a sick day. Let’s see what we can do here.
The daemon that routes incoming data. It gives directions, but has a penchant for doing so in riddle form.
I like this game. Have I mentioned?
PULL GOLDEN LEVER should work, though. Grr.
So should X FIGURE. More grr.
Also it could be way more clear how to use this damn search engine, now that I know what I want to search for. There’s a walkthrough, but no hints. Dammit, Adam LeDoux, I want to like your game!
Also, it really bothers me that I can’t read the README. I mean, come on!
Currently the camera has settled on a grainy black and white image of the hallway between the cubicles and the elevator.
If you stare at it long enough, you can see Chris Isaak, and Chris Isaak can see you.
Oh, wait, where did I get the inventory item “the search term ‘Gary Grant'” and how long have I had it? That might have made searching easier.
Aw, man, did I actually have to take that link? I thought it had just appeared in my inventory like every other damn thing around here.
For a moment you entertain the idea that Jason might be bisexual – Gary looks like an active and interesting guy, and he would bring some much needed ambition and organization into Jason’s life.
Yeah, he likes the movie Airplane!, how bad can he be?
It is a plan worthy of Batman, you decide.
Jason has a favorite soda, you think – but you can’t remember what it is.
Five bucks on Mountain Dew. Man, know what I miss? Vault Zero. I also miss crack the fuck cocaine.
And it ends with a Midsummer Night’s Dream parody. Nice. Time to dip into the walkthrough and see what I’ve missed.
Oh, and you owe me five bucks.
A link to the EAST leads to one of Amy’s friends, her cousin Edward.
Oh man oh man ten bucks says that Edward is gay and perfect for Gary.
Edward Ma is male and single, interested in men.
YOU OWE ME TEN BUCKS SO HARD
Well, the game could have used another testing pass and some tightening up (why did we have to walk around the search engine?) but I quite dug the writing and the imaginative representations of familiar virtual spaces. (I write this sentence from my sausage-shaped 107AC9-colored hot air balloon in the blogosphere while Cory Doctorow floats lazily by leaving vapor-trail drawings of steampunk laptop cases. It’s nice here in the blogosphere.) Also, I’m glad Jason got his promotion, but –hey, wait a minute, wasn’t that supposed to be Gary’s promotion? Are we just not supposed to think about that too hard? — the good ending still felt a tad anticlimactic. Still, it was cute, and I liked it.
Thought from the future: the more I think about the premise, the less likely it sounds that a happily male-identified gay dude (and I hope he is happily male-identified, if we’re supposed to feel good about setting him up with Edward, who likes men) would set up a meatspace date with someone without revealing himself as male or finding out how his date swung or both. I mean, what even is that? Who does that? I guess if the all-female-elves-are-men rule really is a physical rule on the order of shit-falls-when-you-drop-it, the game makes sense, but that’s kinda tenuous.