IFComp 2015: Forever Meow   4 comments

By Moe Zilla. Played using Firefox to completion.

In Forever Meow you are a cat who is upset about an empty food dispenser, triggering a bit of an adventure.

It has a variant choice interface where advancing when there is no choice involves pressing a key rather than clicking a link. This was actually quite a good idea, and I wouldn’t mind having it mimicked even in other circumstances.

You rush toward the bottom drawer, targeting its rim for a mighty pounce from your furry hind paws.

You leap powerfully, as though up into the sky…!

Part of the fun of this sort of game is inhabiting another creature; doing all the meows and hisses and so forth of a real cat. While the game delivers on this front (even letting you do the persistent repeated meow if you like) it lacks … well, the actual feeling being a cat.

This is one of the weird times I think a parser might do a better job; the freedom to be able to >MEOW at any point in the story (not just those given by the choices) or experiment with easter eggs like >PURR or whatnot would lend a great deal to the atmosphere.

There’s likely a way to maintain a typing-less interface while still maintaining the simulation feel, but I’m not certain how. Possibly a series of consistent buttons that can be used at any time? That still runs the risk of the feeling of mechanized responses rather than discovery.


Posted October 29, 2015 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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4 responses to “IFComp 2015: Forever Meow

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  1. I’ve been thinking recently about how to design a game in which a player could opt to play either with a parser, or with hypertext links. The hypertext player might miss some of the Easter Eggs, but the story could reach a wider audience, including people who either don’t know how to interact with a parser, don’t like them, or are playing on a smaller device which makes typing inconvenient.

    • There is a game I reviewed for this comp already that get close in that you can type single words and do regular parser commands, although I won’t spoil which one if you haven’t reached it yet.

    • There was an IntroComp game that did something like that in TADS 3 — it was an apartment/insomnia simulator, which was not of particular thematic appeal on its own, but I especially liked that when you clicked on the hypertext links, the game would automatically enter an appropriate command such that the player could see what parser command would have been appropriate (e.g., clicking on “TV” might auto-enter “examine TV” and visibly submit it into the parser). This also has the added bonus of teaching parser-unfamiliar players about common parser commands.

      (It will be rather silly if it turns out either of you were in fact the author of that game. But, I was quite tickled by that functionality.)

  2. Pingback: IFComp 2015 Summary | Renga in Blue

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