IF Comp ’11 – Josephine Wynter’s Vestiges!

October 21, 2011

Let’s take advantage of the daylight and play something creepy-looking.  Hmm, fewer overt horror games on the list than last year, although I don’t trust the Australian hide-and-seek games at all.  They are no doubt working together to lull us into fond complacent nostalgia so they can get their squamous eldritch tentacles all up in our brainpan and feed off our energies and like that.  (Wasn’t that the plot of Needful Things?  I have pretty much zero memory of what went down in Needful Things.)  How about this one?

You awake in a grave, with no memory of who you are or what happened to you. Using the items around you, you must escape the entity pursuing you and uncover the astounding truth of your origin.
That’ll do, peg.  That’ll do.

[spoilers begin here]

You have a peculiar stiffness in your joints, and no memory of who you are or where you came from, but you realize that you must have been ressurrected.
Ain’t no beauty queens in this locality!  I tell ya.  (The potential to make new beauty queens out of whole cloth, though, is probably higher than in most places.)

Wait, who is this Joanna person?  Don’t tell me Josephine Wynter is a pseudonym!  (I suspected as much, but then again I straight-up know a guy named Simon Whyte.  How nom-de-plumy is that shit.)

The walls lean in, making you feel almost claustrophobic.
I am claustrophobic.  I would be freaking the fuck out right now.  Just thought you should know.

The blurb suggests to me that I should be taking the hell out of everything not nailed down, even more so than usual.  Yoink!

> x torch
It’s a two-foot long stick with one end on fire. What did you expect?
I don’t know, less in the way of overt hostility?  Too bad both ends aren’t on fire, or I could show off the snazzy moves I learned as a drum majorette.

…huh, apparently this stone altar, while closed and locked, was not nailed down.  I’m fucking taking it.  The game said I could.

Don’t give me pictograms or some other inherently interesting object and then tell me I can’t see them here!  Who does that?  (Okay, quite a lot of people, actually.  But still!)

My ability to see both an iron gates and a wooden doors is not inspiring a confidences, much.

I got a sweet sword, though!  A named blade, even!  The titular Vestiges!  I am gonna cut. shit. up.

PET CAT is not recognized.  I bet Matt was as sad as I am.

Okay, this is annoying:  how am I supposed to examine the glinting something next to the tombstone?  Hmm, maybe TAKE ALL will be friends with me.
> take all
tombstone: Taken.

I am pulling out the walkthrough.  Look in grass?  Look in grass?  Did you even tell me there was fucking grass in this graveyard?  I’m reading up.  No.  No you didn’t.
> x tombstone
The inscription is long faded, and the stone looks ready to crumble at the slightest touch. However, you notice a glinting something next to it.
What part of that screams “look in grass” to you?  This is why people keep going on about beta testers, and how you should get some.  A good beta tester would have said “fuck you, what grass?  I’m telling Mom.”

Wait.  I can’t see the grass?  Am I in the wrong part of the walkthrough to be getting angry about grass?  Don Knotts in a carbonator, I am starting this game over, and I am clinging to the walkthrough.  Goddammit, now I want macaroons for no reason except that macaroons are awesome.

Welp, the second and third commands of the walkthrough (THROUGH DOOR and THROUGH DOORS) don’t actually work.  I have replaced them with the functionally equivalent S and E but I dunno what I’m gonna do about this GO THROUGH SIMPLE GATE business that’s coming up in a few turns here.  Oh, okay, it worked out, I guess.  This cat sure talks a lot.

You notice a tuft of grass that seems a bit more distinct than the rest.
Okay, that is fair.  That is fair and I withdraw my anger about grass, if not the entire weighty bulk of my anger, which is too large to withdraw without a hefty team of workhorses and an army of saddled warbears, riding on ponies.

Um.  So.  Remember the description of that tombstone earlier?  Scroll back up and read it, if you’ve forgotten.  The walkthrough suggests I EXAMINE TOMBSTONE, then TAKE BLUE KEY.
> take blue key
You can’t see any such thing.
Well, what the crap, game.

Note that I haven’t said a word about the story, or how it was delivered (primarily in long-ass monologues from a cat).  This is because you have to provide the player with a minimum level of not-broken before the game gets to start being about what it’s about, instead of simply how broken it is.  I did get a sweet sword, though, so points for that.

Future Jenni says:  Boy it sure is dope here in the future!  I bet you wish you lived in the future.  The cars here run on astronaut ice cream.  Also apparently LOOK NEXT TO TOMBSTONE would have gotten me a blue key, way back that time I wanted one in the past, not that that is relevant here in the future.  Whoosh.

One comment

  1. The hint from future-Jenni inspired me to go back and finish the game, and I somehow managed to be disappointed by the ending. I must be more cheery and optimistic than I think.

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