IF Comp ’11 – Jared Smith’s Luster!

October 19, 2011

In the outskirts of a deserted town, the adventurer carefully explore, looking for rare gems.
If there’s one thing I enjoy in a game context, it’s carefully exploring, looking for rare gems.  Actually, wait, if I only get one thing, I’m’a have to go with setting shit on fucking fire.  Oh, wait, no, unlockable hats!

Maybe I can trade the gems for hats and set them on fire.  Yeah.  That’s bound to be what this game is about.

[spoilers ignite below this line]

A telephone lays dormant on the carpet.
That’s right, it’s fall, the telephones will all be hibernating.  I had expected the outskirts of a deserted town to be less… someone’s apartment.  My apartment, apparently.  Is this going to be a search for my own rare gems?

>x walls
Beige walls about eigtht feet in height.
Well, the walls have a description, which is more than one would expect.  If this were a ZZT game, I’d be standing in a room with a yellow border.  (Geek out with me, fellow aged nerds!)

Oh, man, I just… here, take this exchange verbatim.

The phone rings
>answer phone
(To communicate in Luster, TALK TO a character.)
>talk to phone
You pick up the phone.
“Hey, dude it’s Jeffrey.”
It’s Jeffrey, your friend from work.
“Remeber how you told me about your hometown?”
You do remember telling him about it, but that was seven years ago. This guy sure remembers a lot.
“Well, I heard a rumor. Treasures are there, and not just any treasures.”
He pauses dramtically before saying, “These treasures give you fame and glory.”

So, I feel like I should discuss something serious for a moment, something I’ve been thinking about lately:  to find something unintentionally funny sort of necessitates placing yourself above it.  If you didn’t value the thing below your taste level, you’d enjoy it on its own merits, right?  It is really hard to write these reviews sometimes, knowing that there is a person out there whose feelings are going to be hurt, which is why I try not to be actually cruel.  A thing I forget often is that it’s just as painful to be laughed at when you were trying to be serious.  I probably hurt people this way far more often than I realize, and I’m sorry.

One thing I want to be absolutely clear on, though, is that reading something as goofy as the exchange above fills me with pure sincere glee.  I don’t own macrame owls* because I think they are stupid and kitschy, I own them because looking at them makes me happy, and I enjoy a sentence like “Treasures are there, and not just any treasures (dramatic pause)” because for a given value of awesome it is awesome. 

The game just picked up for me, is what I’m saying.

Man, it’s kind of a bummer that this abandoned town turns out to be where I grew up.  Wonder what the story is, and if we’ll find that out.

>break door
(with Letter)
Suicide is not the answer.
bahaha what?

>take pebbles
You aren’t here to take pebbles.
That’s right, I’m here to drink and play mumblety-peg, and I’m all out of toes.

Okay, this is the part where I start to wonder if the author is trolling:
You stand at the edge of a, judging by the taste of the water, very large lake.
Is this a real thing about lakes, that you can tell how big they are by tasting the water?  I grew up on Lake Michigan, but I knew how big it was from maps.  Also I love that apparently the first thing my character does when faced with a lake is to, unprompted by me, put some of it in their mouth.

Though judging by its size, it seems more of an ocean.
Oh, that is how I can tell how big this lake is, because it tastes like an ocean!

>x lake
You can’t see any such thing.
Of course not.

There is a thing that tells me it’s a hint menu, and explains how hints work, but I can’t seem to access the actual hints.  If this is a troll game, excellent job!

>x lever
A small lever attached to the wall. A small label above it says “FAME AND GLORY”
Lever is currently switched off.
Oops, I hope I don’t get in trouble for having interrupted the fame and glory supply to this deserted town.  I’m already up shit creek for disarranging those corpses in that zombie hospital last year.

You might think that a person could enter the Sheriff Station from the Sheriff Station Entrance, but I’m not sure who’d’ve been feeding you such a ridiculous notion.  That Bacon boy from up the street with his rock’n’roll dancing, I suppose.  I don’t want him hanging around you.  He’s nothing but trouble.

A-ha!  A suspiciously clean rectangle of dirt that I have no idea how to interact with!  (My hands are too delicate for digging.)  Oh, maybe I need to dig with a thing?  Where in this game do I find a thing?

Man, I give up.  There doesn’t seem to be a walkthrough anywhere, which actually makes me sad, because I’m curious to see where this game was going.

Well, “best of the worst” isn’t the most prestigious position, but I can’t in good conscience place this game anywhere else.  Congratulation!

Okay, so I own one macrame owl, but I love them and would totally have a collection if those goddamned hipsters hadn’t ruined everything.  I know hipsters get a lot of flak for ruining everything but they really did ruin macrame owls.


  1. OK, so I am here to say something that is no fun at all: I think what the guy is saying is that you can tell by the taste that it is a very large lake as opposed to an ocean, because it doesn’t taste like salt.

    I should give this another try — it went really quickly into my “man, going around collecting treasures does not actually motivate me, because I have to do all the work and then the stupid PC gets all the glory” pile, which is a larger pile than you might think. Unfortunately my “yaaaaay, IFComp” initial momentum has dissipated a bit with a bunch of games to play, so I have to get back into those before I do any retrying. I’ve just started one of the Australian hide-and-seek games, which is another pile that’s larger than you might think.

    • Ohhhh. Okay, that makes sense. Fuck you for ruining Christmas.

      Hey, wait a minute, though, isn’t this the outskirts of my hometown? Why am I tasting bodies of water to determine whether or not they’re lakes or oceans?

      Let me know if you eventually get anywhere with this one puzzles-wise!

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