IFComp 2015: Final Exam   2 comments

By Jack Whitham. Completed with two hints.

Dear candidate 27501,

You must be wondering where everyone has gone. Let me explain.

A serious situation has developed, and I have been forced to take emergency steps to isolate the Administration Centre – and ourselves – from the outside
world. This isolation prevents my communicating with you normally, and at present I can only do so via this screen. I will explain more in due course.

Excluding Grandma Bethlinda’s Variety Box (where the minimalism makes it slightly avant-garde) and Darkiss (which has a really dark vibe), Final Exam is the most pure traditional parser puzzle game I’ve played of the competition so far. (It’s even written in old-school Inform 6.)

You’re a candidate for the ambiguously defined Administration (who seem to be something of a world government) and wake up on the day of your final exam to find everyone missing. Sinister events are afoot.

The mechanism of being directed by remote instructions (see the excerpt above) was fairly good at a generating a linear set of puzzle tasks without seeming artificial. There’s a series of technical tasks which have enough of a veneer of realism to feel satisfying and one really good puzzle involving extending a cable.

I had to use hints twice because I rather blindly missed connections on the map. (I was trying to play without making one. It’s doable with this game but my own memory tends to forget things when I multitask.)

I wasn’t expecting prose pyrotechnics or characters of any sort, so I didn’t have any disappointment there, but I did feel like the “world government” background was wasted. All the events that occur could easily happen in another context, and the game never does a good job in conveying what the actual duties of the Administration are or what might happen if outsiders orchestrate an overthrow.

Posted November 7, 2015 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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2 responses to “IFComp 2015: Final Exam

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  1. FYI, there are at least two other endings besides the one in the walkthrough, and I think they gave more weight/depth to the background. (And also a more clever puzzle.)

  2. Pingback: IFComp 2015 Summary | Renga in Blue

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