IF Comp ’11 – Lutein Hawthorne’s The Guardian!

October 21, 2011

Let’s see, what next?  We could play this thing that bills itself as an entry-level fantasy adventure, sure.  Isn’t lutein one of the fundamental building blocks of DNA?

[spoilers begin here]

Y’know, if you’d never played an IF game before, I am not sure what you’d make of this first screen, which I’m’a reproduce here verbatim without stripping out the spaces even:

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been far from home. Where I grew up, and met my love. Then came the ships, and I travelled far away.

The Guardian
An Interactive Fiction by Lutein Hawthorne
Release 1 / Serial number 110929 / Inform 7 build 6G60 (I6/v6.32 lib 6/12N)

I’d walked long in thought, meditating on my home, my love, and wondering when we might meet once more.

Did he still think of me, and wonder where I’d gone?

It was only after I felt my legs faintly ache, that I realized I had no idea where I was.


I’ve played more than my fair share of IF, and I still sort of have no idea what to do with this first screen.  Oh, I’m going to LOOK, of course, maybe X ME or X LEGS, but if I were a complete text advirgin I would be totally at a loss.  Let’s roleplay for a second.
> that’s cool bro
That’s not a verb I recognize.
> help
That’s not a verb I recognize.

At least this graveyard is much better implemented than the last graveyard I was in.  (IF protagonists sure do like to hang around graveyards.)

I can see a rusty gate and a blue key here.

I’m on a slowly winding path through the forest on a long gentle curve between north and west.
Everybody, look at me, ’cause I’m on a motherfucking slowly winding path through the forest on a long gentle curve between north and west!  (A weird thing about first-person narration:  I am not sure my immediate response to “You’re on a slowly winding path through the forest on a long gentle curve between north and west” would have been “Jesus Christ why are you telling me this?

Hey, where am I going, and why am I going there?

I’m climbing a mountain for no reason!  Whee!

My score keeps going up by five points whenever I manage to enter a room without impaling myself on anything.  I’m not complaining, mind you; I think it should do so in real life as well.

You know what I like in a love interest?  Some characterization.  All I know about the dude I left behind is that he was young once and possessed the capacity to smile.  Then again, that’s more than I know about myself.

This is a perfectly cromulent fantasy world, I guess, but in the absence of any context for it I am super bored.  Going north in the hope that this will either reveal something interesting or end the game.

Wait, hang on, plot hook in the library!  I am still lacking crucial background to make sense of it, but it’s a thing that happened that wasn’t a description of a rock.

Got a stone, got a blue key, not sure where else there is to go.  Pulling the walkthrough.

Oh, okay, there are instructions and backstory in the folder.  Would be nice to have these in the game itself.

Oh.  I was supposed to drop the stone back in the tomb.  And now I have.  That’s cool.  It’s cool that this game was pretty well-implemented and had lots of descriptions and stuff.  I just found it really hard to give a shit in the face of such a generic story and sheer lack of impetus.  (At least I finally found that fucking blue key.)

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