IFComp 2014: Building the Right Stuff   Leave a comment

We at IAF would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your efforts, and to assure you that should your ship crash, combust or otherwise result in your untimely demise, the insurance payout delivered to your next of kin will cover most of the costs

Laura Mitchell’s Building the Right Stuff is a click-interface game as a Windows executable. It involves travelling through space with with a computer, GENE.


However, I can’t really write a review because I feel like I am missing something vital. Here is how the gameplay essentially goes:

1.) Click on GENE.
2.) Click on Talk.
3.) Click on Start Survey.
4.) Click on GENE and Talk again and then wait about 15 seconds.
5.) Click on Analyse Survey.
6.) Get a fairly non-descript message about a planet.
7.) Go into Stasis by picking the option off the main menu and repeat at 1.

There are other options but they don’t seem to do anything interesting other than give a sinister feel to the proceedings; for instance, “Base Camp” often states they aren’t open, and complaining about GENE gives this reassurance:

That’s a problem. We weren’t expecting any difficulties with GENE until at least day [REDACTED]

I feel like there ought to be a way to end, or escape, or something, but the game is just repeating that over and over and I don’t know if it’s supposed to be an art piece where it just does that. The walkthrough is not really walkthrough and is no help. Did anyone get farther in this?

ADD: I got a message with some information; there’s a ‘Why’ and a ‘Trivia’ option with GENE that you use in between surveys. This is unfortunately roughly as tedious as the steps above.

Eventually GENE starts to get, ah, attached:


GENE then makes a reference to knowing a way to “be together”, but but I hit a hard crash in the game and had to quit.

I’ll have to say the central conceit of onboard-space-computer-in-love is interesting, just this wasn’t the way interactively to convey it.

Posted October 16, 2014 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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