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

Stack Overflow

Author: Timofei Shatrov
Language: z-code
Score: 2

If I had gotten very far in this game, I'd be able to provide a summary. But since I quit very early on, the most I can say is that you are kidnapped from your home and find yourself a prisoner. As in most games that begin in a jail cell, your goal is to escape. And that's where the problems begin.

The language in Stack Overflow presents as substandard right away. The intro contains the phrase "you're really getting late to the work", which suggests that English is not author's native language. This is reinforced by some later changes in verb tense during a cut-scene and other game response ("There is no point to attack the round table at the moment"). As for story, I can't really say, because the puzzles quickly drove me from the game. The first was not a complete deal-breaker, even though I found it poorly clued (and the help system responded with the infuriating response: "You don't need any hints... yet!"). The second puzzle, however, sent me running from this game. At this point, I was following the walkthrough, since the hint system had proved such a disappointment. The walkthrough skips the intermediate step of finding the clue to help solve the second puzzle. It simply has the player use a verb from Spellbreaker without ever explaining how the player would know to do that without having played the Infocom game first. (I only discovered later that there is an in-game clue to use this unique verb and the hint system helps you find it.) I was considerably irked at this point by a puzzle I considered grossly unfair, so I quit and rated the game based on what I'd seen so far.

As I stated above, the hint system needs to be fixed. In the middle of a puzzle, the player should never be told that he or she does not "need" any help. Using the verb "out" in a jail cell should give a more appropriate response than, "But you aren't in anything at the moment."

I had negative fun with this game. It was like a perfect storm of tiny things that ended with me annoyed and frustrated with this game. The shallow and meaningless story combined with poor writing blended with the broken hint system mixed with the incomplete walkthrough integrated with the poorly thought-out first two puzzles all served to make this probably the worst experience I had of the whole competition. Even Ninja didn't actively irritate me this much, though I consider it to be a worse game.

Final score: 2

High point:
Finding the hammer.

Low point:
Pretty much everything else.
These pages Copyright © 2004-2008 — Contact me at stone@rps.net