(none) Quintin Stone - Interactive Fiction Review
Interactive Fiction
Role-playing Games

Slouching Towards Bedlam

Author: Anssi Raisanen
Language: z-code
Genre: Surreal
Score: 8

A good intro not only sets up the background, it also establishes a certain mood. Bedlam's introduction certainly fulfills this obligation. It left me feeling somewhat unnerved and wary. Perfectly suited to this unusual game. After some initial discoveries, though, a certain feeling of directionlessness settled on me. The very well-done hints certainly addressed this, though I feel that the game could have done a better job of providing the player with a sense of purpose. Certainly there is a mystery to solve -- there's just little information on how to begin. This isn't helped when important object interfaces (the console's buttons, the pyramid's dial) are somewhat obfuscated. Without the triage's help, there's no mention of the pyramid's dial that I could find. The console's description doesn't give any indication that deeper examination is necessary to discover the vitally important buttons. These things got me in the habit of relying on the hint system and I never recovered. So while I could see that there was some brilliant work put into this game, I found myself unable to truly appreciate it. It can be hard to approach a game like this during a comp, where you are somewhat jaded by the previous games of low quality. And so when you come to one like Slouching Towards Bedlam, with its low-key mystery plot and quite bizarre features, you begin to wonder if the author just made a mistake or if you're using an incompatible interpreter. So my suggestion is to sit and play the game and set aside some time for when you can really devote some serious attention to it.

(View this game on Baf's Guide to IF or The IF Ratings Site)

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