IFComp 2015: Recorded   1 comment

By Nick Junius. Finished. Played on computer with the Gargoyle interpreter. Used walkthrough multiple times.

Straight up on loading I read…

You awake to the iciness of the floor on your hands, staring up at a nondescript ceiling. How you found yourself here is a mystery, why you’re here even more so.

…at which point I want to hop in a time machine, jump in front of the author’s computer, and shout “nooooooo” in slow motion.

Yes, everyone: it’s another amnesia game.

I anticipated Unknowable Things, Cryptic Messages, and The Vaguely Metaphorical Gadget of Arbitrariness being needed to solve the Poorly-Described Puzzles That Nevertheless Indicates Deep Feelings. I was not disappointed.

>x inscription
The glowing inscription reads as follows:
“This place…it’s almost alive…this room almost feels like a heart. Why would a structure need a heart? Am I an intruder? I was brought here…against my will…I think…was it against my will? It has to be.”

Fine: if treated like a pure puzzlefest, does Recorded hold up?

Still no. It suffers from what I call Magical Object Syndrome, which was common in the early days of adventure games. Basically, there’s some mystical object like a wand or necklace or trident which requires some manipulation like WAVE or RUB to activate, but it only works under special conditions. Unfortunately, because it uses magic rather than physics, there is no logical way to know what those special conditions are. The better games bridged the gap with some sort of hint in the form of a poem or whatnot, and the worse ones required the player to experiment, which might involve testing the object in every room in the game.

I hit the walkthrough early and it turned out the first object I needed to use was activated via TOUCH (I had already tried RUB and a few other things). Note that the object is still being held. You are touching an object you are already touching. I guess?

The other puzzles were equally mysterious. While it is possible the inscriptions like the sample above provided the aforementoned hints, even working backwards I can’t find any sense to what happened and particularly why (avoiding spoilers here) the last object needed to finish the game appears.

To end at least on a positive note, I did like this moment, which is only possible in a mystic-energy type game:

> take flame
Even before you reach out to grab the flame, you hear something, almost like the howl of the wind in some far off place. There was definitely meaning behind it and you decide it’s best not to disturb the flame. Someone, or something, obviously cares for it.


(Image by Jenny Amer, licensed under Creative Commons.)

Posted October 3, 2015 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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  1. Pingback: IFComp 2015 Summary | Renga in Blue

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