Shufflecomp reviews (1982, The Legend of Wooley Swamp, Lobster Bucket, White Houses)   Leave a comment

1982, by Iblis Snowsdottir

When the Government first publicly unveiled their secret optical abomination, the Eyes merely patrolled the border of East and West Germany. After it became obvious they were too unwieldy for espionage, the Eyes were brought stateside. Now they stalk the country side, searching, always searching, for those who dare to violate the Motor Laws.

You want to take your uncle’s Barchetta on a Sunday drive. In most world universes this would not be a problem, but in 1982 the Government frowns upon joyrides and Walking Eyes stalk everywhere looking for illegal activity. This makes for an oddly quiet vignette given the setting (one potential bad ending is simply “*** Your car insurance premium has gone up! ***”) and is nicely unique.

The Legend of Wooley Swamp, by Elizabeth Jones

I first heard about the Gator Man from my Grandma’s friend. She was pretty paranoid and not quite right in the head, but she made the best ladyfinger sandwiches, so I visited her house a lot. She said he was the ghost of an old warlock or something, and he got the power to change into a gator and back from a deal with the devil.

This is a mock-web page from the late 90s, sadly lacking in animated GIFs or “Under Construction” signs. There’s not much to it either in the writing or structure and I poked in circles several times assuming I had missed something (I hadn’t).

The theoretical issues are interesting, though: is every web page interactive fiction or nonfiction? Is some manner of intention required? What distinguishes a Twine story with only a “click to advance” mechanic and reading an ebook where you press an arrow to advance a page? Does taking a print article and spreading it over several pages in order to garner ad revenue a form of converting traditional nonfiction to interactive nonfiction?

Lobster Bucket, by Lady Tallhat

You have always had the knack for finding things in dungeons. Maybe that’s why the aquabats have asked you to retrieve their most treasured possession from the Evil Overlord and his mooks. Don’t get caught.

There’s some randomization here so this is sort of like a mini-roguelike. Unfortunately, this leads to some games which I believe might be literally impossible (in one case I was trapped on the east end of a long corridor as my starting room). The implementation is sparse to such an extreme I had trouble finding an excerpt (I settled on using the introduction text). It’s a little bit like Wumpus, really, but once finding the cloak the game is reduced to triviality. This could have possibly worked if strategies were varied and tight; as is the game is pretty much a choice between either a dumb luck loss or a dumb luck win.

White Houses, by Mr. Stamp

Living Room
This is the living room. There is a door to the east leading to the kitchen. To the west, there is a wooden door with odd gothic graffiti.

There are hooks above the glass case attached to the wall.

In the center of the room is a large oriental rug.

You can also see a trophy case (closed and empty) here.

Jenny arrives from the east.

This is a remix of the geography of Zork I where the protagonist and a character named Jenny decide the white house is a “good hideout” (although it is unclear who or what they are hiding from) and start exploring.

The concept of the “level remix” (which has a long tradition going back to at least Doom and probably farther) is a good one, but the implementation here is very shaky and the plot is too incomplete to get much out of it.

Posted May 26, 2014 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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