[Announce] "Last Resort" Released

3 views
Skip to first unread message

Jim Aikin

unread,
Dec 2, 2006, 2:00:40 AM12/2/06
to
I've just uploaded my new game, "Last Resort," to the archive. It's also
available for download from my own site at
www.musicwords.net/if/if_resort.htm.

Last Resort is a large Inform 6 game in .ulx format -- no graphics or sound,
but there was too much text to shoehorn it into a .z8.

It's a sort of low-key fantasy horror story: the actual gore is (almost)
nonexistent, but some really nasty stuff is quite likely to happen before
you figure out how to reach the happy ending. It's probably a difficult game
(hard for me to judge, but at the request of beta-testers I added alternate
solutions to a few of the more obtuse puzzles). There are eight or nine
NPCs, all of whom have numerous responses to ask/tell/show/give. There are
no mazes.

The fantasy is "realistic," I suppose. That is, it's not the sort of
whimsical, anything-goes fantasy you'll find in some IF. Everything in the
game is there for a reason, and the reason should, I hope, make sense in
terms of the plot. Yes, there's a plot.

There's also a complete built-in hint system. The hint system is
context-sensitive so that it won't show spoilers, and provides graduated
InvisiClues-style hints. To encourage you to use your wits, however, the
hint system is protected by a password.

To learn the password, all you have to do is email me. (To learn my email
address, type 'help' at the prompt.)

If I get flak for doing it this way, I'll do something else in my next game.
I was torn between the desire to help players not get stuck (since I myself
am not great at solving other people's puzzles) and the desire to see
players supporting and/or commiserating with one another on rgif.

I can't prevent anyone from posting the password to the newsgroup,
obviously, but I'd like to encourage you, in the spirit of community, to
help other players with specific puzzles instead. The password is sort of an
ur-spoiler.

I hope you'll type 'about' to learn the names of the beta-testers. Without
their patience, fiendish cleverness, and super-generous contributions of
time, Last Resort would have been an awful mess. (If you think it's still an
awful mess, please blame me, not them.)

Let the games begin!

--Jim Aikin

Jacek Pudlo

unread,
Dec 2, 2006, 7:18:11 AM12/2/06
to
"Jim Aikin"

> I've just uploaded my new game, "Last Resort," to the archive. It's also
> available for download from my own site at
> www.musicwords.net/if/if_resort.htm.

Why is it that 95% of all IF games set in the real world have settings that
are consistently dirty, cramped, cheap, dilapidated? The paint is always
peeling, the siding always warped, walls discoloured, the paintings on them
inane and in poor taste, motel cabins are described as "little more than
shacks," even the croquet hoop is bent and rusted. And all this after five
minutes of play. Why this predilection for trailer trash realism? Sometimes
it seems it's actually more than just a predilection -- it's like wallowing
in dirt. Is it because this is the only reality these authors know? Why not
set your game at the Ritz-Carlton Central Park for a change?


Mushnik

unread,
Dec 2, 2006, 10:42:18 AM12/2/06
to
Jim, I can't open the game. I'm running Windows XP and I get an
"unknown file type" message when I try to open it. I was able to open
and print out the map. So how do I open the game? By the way, I use
Gargoyle as the interpreter.
Thanks,
-- Ben

Neil Cerutti

unread,
Dec 2, 2006, 10:45:03 AM12/2/06
to

Interesting observation. Here's a two word answer to your
question: Feel free!

--
Neil Cerutti

Jeff Nyman

unread,
Dec 2, 2006, 10:48:31 AM12/2/06
to
"Mushnik" <mushni...@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:1165074138.8...@79g2000cws.googlegroups.com...

> Jim, I can't open the game. I'm running Windows XP and I get an
> "unknown file type" message when I try to open it. I was able to open
> and print out the map. So how do I open the game? By the way, I use
> Gargoyle as the interpreter.
> Thanks,
> -- Ben

I'm on Windows XP as well and I'm able to open the game via Gargoyle. Most
likely you're system is not mapped to Gargoyle for the .ulx file type. Did
you try opening it via Gargoyle or by double-clicking the LastResort.ulx
file name?

- Jeff


Jim Aikin

unread,
Dec 2, 2006, 12:08:29 PM12/2/06
to
> Why is it that 95% of all IF games set in the real world have settings
> that are consistently dirty, cramped, cheap, dilapidated? The paint is
> always peeling, the siding always warped, walls discoloured, the paintings
> on them inane and in poor taste, motel cabins are described as "little
> more than shacks," even the croquet hoop is bent and rusted. And all this
> after five minutes of play. Why this predilection for trailer trash
> realism? Sometimes it seems it's actually more than just a predilection --
> it's like wallowing in dirt. Is it because this is the only reality these
> authors know? Why not set your game at the Ritz-Carlton Central Park for a
> change?

This is a valid question, I suppose. (Or maybe it's just whining. That's
possible too.)

I can't speak for any other author -- and I _certainly_ wouldn't make a
choice of setting or tone on the basis of a statistical analysis of how many
or how few other people had used a similar setting or tone. If you've done a
statistical analysis, I guess I wouldn't mind seeing your research. I think
95% might be a bit high, but your research may be far more extensive than
mine.

Speaking for myself, I chose that setting because (a) it was isolated, (b)
it seemed to offer the right choice of creepy ingredients for a mood that
would go with the plot.

One of the many nuggets I've picked up in studying how to write conventional
fiction was that plot requires _opposition_. It requires difficulties. In
IF, puzzles take the place of plot to a great extent. But because the
storyline is often somewhat static, the role of opponent can be taken on, to
a limited extent, by the setting itself.

There are IF stories set in forbidding natural terrain (caverns, forests).
There are IF stories set in super-sterile modern terrain (an office
building, a space station). In every case, the setting itself creates, or is
an attempt to create, some psychological pressure on the reader/player. The
pressure is to the effect that something needs to be done -- usually in
order to escape.

In that way, setting in IF becomes a component of plot. Does that explain
it?

If you'd like to set a game at the Ritz-Carlton, by all means, go for it! Or
at a very nice bed-and-breakfast on the French Riviera, perhaps. I suspect
you'll find that if the setting provides no sense of opposition, some other
element will have to be pressed into service to do the job -- perhaps a
vicious gang of hotel thieves.

These are all elements we can play with. I don't claim to have made the best
or freshest possible choice from the vantage point of the experienced
player; I only claim that I made the right choice for this particular story.

--JA


Jim Aikin

unread,
Dec 2, 2006, 12:10:53 PM12/2/06
to
As Jeff noted, if Windows doesn't know that .ulx files are supposed to be
launched in your interpreter, double-clicking on the .ulx file won't work.

Try launching the interpreter and then loading the game file from the
interpreter's File menu. Or try dragging the icon for the .ulx file and
dropping it on top of the icon for the interpreter.

If these methods don't work for you, please let me know! We'll figure out
what's gone wrong and fix it.

--JA

"Mushnik" <mushni...@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:1165074138.8...@79g2000cws.googlegroups.com...

Jim Aikin

unread,
Dec 2, 2006, 12:16:00 PM12/2/06
to
Also, if Gargoyle is using Git 1.1.0, you can expect to see buggy output in
the game. If the banner at the top of the Gargoyle window says "Git 1.1.0,"
you need to switch Gargoyle to use glulxe.exe instead. Instructions on how
to do this are in the readme that comes with Last Resort.

"Jim Aikin" <rai...@musicwords.net> wrote in message
news:xsich.8691$yf7....@newssvr21.news.prodigy.net...

Jacek Pudlo

unread,
Dec 2, 2006, 2:45:56 PM12/2/06
to
"Jim Aikin"

> Speaking for myself, I chose that setting because (a) it was isolated, (b)
> it seemed to offer the right choice of creepy ingredients for a mood that
> would go with the plot.

"Maybe you should go outside and explore. Not that there's likely to be
anything worth seeing in this dump, but anything would be better than
hanging around a creepy, smelly motel room all afternoon."

This isn't creepy -- it's blasé. The narrator is telling the player that the
setting sucks dead rats through a straw. So why should the player care when
the narrator doesn't?

Jeff Nyman

unread,
Dec 2, 2006, 4:52:45 PM12/2/06
to
"Jacek Pudlo" <ja...@jacek.jacek> wrote in message
news:UJkch.25190$E02....@newsb.telia.net...

> This isn't creepy -- it's blasé. The narrator is telling the player that
> the setting sucks dead rats through a straw. So why should the player care
> when the narrator doesn't?

Maybe to prove the narrator wrong? Maybe just to see if the narrator is
accurate? Maybe because the player knows that this is an adventure game and
that narration style can indicate one thing while encouraging something
else?

In any event, why not write a review for the game and state your thoughts
that way? This approach hardly seems productive. Or, better yet, write a
game that you think is narrated better. You can make your point by showing
rather than telling.

- Jeff


Jim Aikin

unread,
Dec 2, 2006, 5:24:20 PM12/2/06
to
> "Maybe you should go outside and explore. Not that there's likely to be
> anything worth seeing in this dump, but anything would be better than
> hanging around a creepy, smelly motel room all afternoon."
>
> This isn't creepy -- it's blasé. The narrator is telling the player that
> the setting sucks dead rats through a straw. So why should the player care
> when the narrator doesn't?

There's a long and distinguished tradition in literature of the "unreliable
narrator." The narrator in Last Resort isn't unreliable, but at the
beginning of the game she has no idea what's in store for her. This
paragraph describes her attitude in the _opening_, not the author's attitude
toward the entire story.

I think you're just being whiny, Jacek. You're _searching_ for stuff to be
upset about. If you don't like the game, fine. Maybe most people will agree
with you. Or maybe not. I'm not in a position to predict that. But I would
earnestly suggest that you spend a couple of hours exploring the game before
you form any firm conclusions.

Or ... I don't know. As the Queen of Hearts said, "Sentence first, verdict
afterward." Off with his head!
--JA


Jacek Pudlo

unread,
Dec 2, 2006, 6:23:24 PM12/2/06
to
"Jim Aikin"

>> "Maybe you should go outside and explore. Not that there's likely to be
>> anything worth seeing in this dump, but anything would be better than
>> hanging around a creepy, smelly motel room all afternoon."
>>
>> This isn't creepy -- it's blasé. The narrator is telling the player that
>> the setting sucks dead rats through a straw. So why should the player
>> care when the narrator doesn't?
>
> There's a long and distinguished tradition in literature of the
> "unreliable narrator." The narrator in Last Resort isn't unreliable, but
> at the beginning of the game she has no idea what's in store for her. This
> paragraph describes her attitude in the _opening_, not the author's
> attitude toward the entire story.

So the narrator in _Last Resort_ is internal? The protagonist is narrating?
See, I didn't get that. To me, it sounds like an omniscient external
narrator. Why would an internal narrator refer to herself as "you"? If the
paragraph describes *her* attitude -- as opposed to the narrator's -- you
should have presented it as indirect speech, like "'This place is a dump,'
you think to yourself." Otherwise it looks like the narrator is condemning
the setting, which is kind of bizarre, in a peurile non-fun way. Are you
sure you're not confusing the narrator with the focaliser?

> I think you're just being whiny, Jacek. You're _searching_ for stuff to be
> upset about.

I like the fact that the protagonist is fleshed out. Non-sexist portrayals
of teenage girls are relatively unusual in IF.

> If you don't like the game, fine. Maybe most people will agree with you.
> Or maybe not. I'm not in a position to predict that. But I would earnestly
> suggest that you spend a couple of hours exploring the game before you
> form any firm conclusions.

"The trees are horribly depressing somehow. [...] They're twisted and ugly,
and even though they're not close enough to touch, you can see clouds of
insects swarming around them."

> TOUCH TREES
You feel nothing unexpected.

Did you beta test it?

Is there going to be a change of tone? Or is everything going to be
"horribly depressing"?

> Or ... I don't know. As the Queen of Hearts said, "Sentence first, verdict
> afterward." Off with his head!

>ASK MINISTER ABOUT HEAVEN
Gillespie looks bored. "Very interesting, I'm sure, but I don't think it
concerns me."

Wow! That's one hell of a pessimistic man of the cloth! Speaking of which,
hell doesn't concern him either. Is he a Unitarian Universalist?

Khelwood

unread,
Dec 2, 2006, 7:31:49 PM12/2/06
to
> "Jim Aikin"
>
> >> "Maybe you should go outside and explore. Not that there's likely to be
> >> anything worth seeing in this dump, but anything would be better than
> >> hanging around a creepy, smelly motel room all afternoon."
> >>
> >> This isn't creepy -- it's blasé. The narrator is telling the player that
> >> the setting sucks dead rats through a straw. So why should the player
> >> care when the narrator doesn't?
> >
> > There's a long and distinguished tradition in literature of the
> > "unreliable narrator." The narrator in Last Resort isn't unreliable, but
> > at the beginning of the game she has no idea what's in store for her. This
> > paragraph describes her attitude in the _opening_, not the author's
> > attitude toward the entire story.
>
> So the narrator in _Last Resort_ is internal? The protagonist is narrating?
> See, I didn't get that. To me, it sounds like an omniscient external
> narrator. Why would an internal narrator refer to herself as "you"? If the
> paragraph describes *her* attitude -- as opposed to the narrator's -- you
> should have presented it as indirect speech, like "'This place is a dump,'
> you think to yourself." Otherwise it looks like the narrator is condemning
> the setting, which is kind of bizarre, in a peurile non-fun way. Are you
> sure you're not confusing the narrator with the focaliser?
> [etc.]

Just because the narrator is separated grammatically from the
protagonist doesn't mean that it cannot be narrating the protagonist's
pov.
If a novel contained a passage
"Maybe she should go outside and explore.
Not that there was likely to be anything worth


seeing in this dump, but anything would be
better than hanging around a creepy, smelly
motel room all afternoon."

it would be pretty clear to most readers that it was narrating the
thoughts of the protagonist, even though it is not in the first person,
and doesn't contain the phrase "she thought to herself".

Jim Aikin

unread,
Dec 2, 2006, 9:01:48 PM12/2/06
to
> I like the fact that the protagonist is fleshed out. Non-sexist portrayals
> of teenage girls are relatively unusual in IF.

Thanks. That was one of my agenda items, actually.

> "The trees are horribly depressing somehow. [...] They're twisted and
> ugly, and even though they're not close enough to touch, you can see
> clouds of insects swarming around them."
>
>> TOUCH TREES
> You feel nothing unexpected.
>
> Did you beta test it?

Oh, man, you have no idea. This game was in testing for a solid month, and I
received upwards of 50 detailed reports from various testers. Over and above
the various bugs that were spotted, I must have implemented close to a
hundred things that testers requested or suggested in the way of sensing and
conversation. Have you tried smelling the burlap sack? Smelling Honey
Hartwell? (You'll find that Honey's perfume lingers even when she isn't on
the lawn.)

>>ASK MINISTER ABOUT HEAVEN
> Gillespie looks bored. "Very interesting, I'm sure, but I don't think it
> concerns me."
>
> Wow! That's one hell of a pessimistic man of the cloth! Speaking of which,
> hell doesn't concern him either. Is he a Unitarian Universalist?

Okay, I could add that. I wish you had volunteered to be one of the testers,
actually. You can ask the Reverend about his cathedral, or about the Bible,
or about death, or about God, but by golly I didn't think to add heaven and
hell to the list. Try asking him about the other characters; that works
pretty well too.

And 95% of this conversation, I might add, is purely window-dressing. There
are at least a dozen ways to get hints from the characters that will help
you solve the various puzzles, but there's no way for you to know in advance
which characters will have something useful to say about which topics. Nor
do they all respond to the same topics.

Feel free to keep a list of topics you think should or could be added in the
interest of verisimilitude, and email it to me. I don't promise to implement
every single one, but there will almost certainly be a maintenance release
in a few weeks, and I can flesh out the conversation system very easily.

--JA


David Whyld

unread,
Dec 3, 2006, 5:59:15 AM12/3/06
to
The strangest thing about this is someone arguing with a well known
troll as if he's raising valid points. Why not just ignore him?

Jacek Pudlo

unread,
Dec 3, 2006, 8:22:08 AM12/3/06
to

"Khelwood"

> So the narrator in _Last Resort_ is internal? The protagonist is
> narrating?
> See, I didn't get that. To me, it sounds like an omniscient external
> narrator. Why would an internal narrator refer to herself as "you"? If the
> paragraph describes *her* attitude -- as opposed to the narrator's -- you
> should have presented it as indirect speech, like "'This place is a dump,'
> you think to yourself." Otherwise it looks like the narrator is condemning
> the setting, which is kind of bizarre, in a peurile non-fun way. Are you
> sure you're not confusing the narrator with the focaliser?
> [etc.]

Just because the narrator is separated grammatically from the
protagonist doesn't mean that it cannot be narrating the protagonist's
pov.
If a novel contained a passage
"Maybe she should go outside and explore.
Not that there was likely to be anything worth
seeing in this dump, but anything would be
better than hanging around a creepy, smelly
motel room all afternoon."
it would be pretty clear to most readers that it was narrating the
thoughts of the protagonist, even though it is not in the first person,
and doesn't contain the phrase "she thought to herself".

------------------------------------------------------

Jim's point was that _Last Resort_ was narrated by the protagonist. This is
clearly an external narrator speaking. The fact that it has access to the
protagonist's thoughts makes the narrator omniscient, but doesn't
internalise it. It's also an example of telling instead of showing, which
most readers today find annoying. Don't you hear how awkward it sounds? It's
awkward because when you have an omniscient external narrator, it's always a
good idea to clearly distinguish between the narrator's and the
protagonist's thoughts.

With the addistion of just two words, the paragraph suddenly sounds *much*
better:

"Maybe she should go outside and explore, she thought. Not that there was

likely to be anything worth seeing in this dump, but anything would be
better than hanging around a creepy, smelly motel room all afternoon."

Jim, if you haven't read Bobbie Ann Mason's _In Country_, you probably
should. It's an externally narrated story about a teenage girl living in the
South.


Khelwood

unread,
Dec 3, 2006, 9:21:25 AM12/3/06
to
Jacek Pudlo wrote:
> Jim's point was that _Last Resort_ was narrated by the protagonist. This is
> clearly an external narrator speaking. The fact that it has access to the
> protagonist's thoughts makes the narrator omniscient, but doesn't
> internalise it. It's also an example of telling instead of showing, which
> most readers today find annoying. Don't you hear how awkward it sounds? It's
> awkward because when you have an omniscient external narrator, it's always a
> good idea to clearly distinguish between the narrator's and the
> protagonist's thoughts.
>
> With the addistion of just two words, the paragraph suddenly sounds *much*
> better:
>
> "Maybe she should go outside and explore, she thought. Not that there was
> likely to be anything worth seeing in this dump, but anything would be

I disagree. Having access to one character's thoughts doesn't make it
omniscient; it makes it a character pov. Novels in the third person
frequently adopt the attitude of the protagonist. If they contain
thoughts of more than one character, then it's an omniscient narrator.
If they stick to one character, then it's a character pov written in
the third person. Adding "she thought" to that passage reduces its
immediacy by distinguishing the character's pov from the narrator's; if
you leave it out you can let the reader assume that everything the
narrator says is the character's pov.

Jim Aikin

unread,
Dec 3, 2006, 12:10:46 PM12/3/06
to
> With the addistion of just two words, the paragraph suddenly sounds *much*
> better:
>
> "Maybe she should go outside and explore, she thought. Not that there was
> likely to be anything worth seeing in this dump, but anything would be
> better than hanging around a creepy, smelly motel room all afternoon."

I think we're spiralling downard into "how many angels can dance on the head
of a pin?" territory here. There are, of course, various ways of handling
interior monolog -- with and without "she thought" tags, with participles
instead of active verbs, etc. Some writers put interior monolog in separate
paragraphs, in italic, which has always struck me as being forced and lame.

One of my early influences was "Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me" by
Richard Farina. The book is full of interior monolog, NONE of it ID'ed as
being in the mind of the protagonist. You just have to get it. Yet in the
very next paragraph, Farina would drop back to conventional third-person
narration, with the protagonist as "he".

You might not like that book either. S'okay. When you write your own game,
feel free to handle interior monolog however you like.

--JA


Jim Aikin

unread,
Dec 3, 2006, 12:13:13 PM12/3/06
to
> The strangest thing about this is someone arguing with a well known
> troll as if he's raising valid points. Why not just ignore him?

Well, he DID download and start playing the game, so ... is he really a
troll? Maybe he's just a hobbit with a bad case of indigestion and an
ingrown kneecap.

Besides which, the more traffic on the newsgroup discussing my wonderful new
game, the better!

--JA


David Whyld

unread,
Dec 3, 2006, 12:54:08 PM12/3/06
to

Jim Aikin wrote:
> > The strangest thing about this is someone arguing with a well known
> > troll as if he's raising valid points. Why not just ignore him?
>
> Well, he DID download and start playing the game, so ... is he really a
> troll?

He played Floatpoint as well. Why? So he could know enough about the
game to bash it.

Jacek Pudlo

unread,
Dec 3, 2006, 1:21:35 PM12/3/06
to
"Jim Aikin"

> I think we're spiralling downard into "how many angels can dance on the
> head of a pin?" territory here.

I find this remark surprisingly disrespectful. By implying that the question
of who's narrating _Last Resort_ is inconsequential, you're basically
dissin' your own work.

Earlier:


> The narrator in Last Resort isn't unreliable, but at the beginning of the
> game she has no idea what's in store for her.

Are you still insisting that _Last Resort_ is narrated by the protagonist?

> There are, of course, various ways of handling interior monolog

So now this is suddenly an interior monologue? Do you refer to yourself as
"you" in your interior monologues?

> -- with and without "she thought" tags, with participles instead of active
> verbs, etc

"she thought" indicates indirect speech, which is *not* interior monologue.
Interior monologues have more in common with streams of consciousness than
with indirect speech.

Will you do us all a favour and answer a simple question? Who/what is
narrating _Last Resort_? I mean, being the author, one would think you
should know.


Jim Aikin

unread,
Dec 3, 2006, 1:50:53 PM12/3/06
to
> Will you do us all a favour and answer a simple question? Who/what is
> narrating _Last Resort_? I mean, being the author, one would think you
> should know.

It's being narrated by George W. Bush, who is sitting on the can and
masturbating while viewing photos taken at Guantanamo Bay.

Does that make you happy?

--JA


kate-...@hotmail.com

unread,
Dec 3, 2006, 10:40:18 PM12/3/06
to

Despite the President's unsavoury presence, I was able to complete the
game with little distress. I think Mr. Pudlo misunderestimates the
narrator. Make no mistake: this is a well-paced game with
appropriately clued puzzles, and the setting resignates with me.

Jim Aikin

unread,
Dec 3, 2006, 10:52:25 PM12/3/06
to
> Despite the President's unsavoury presence, I was able to complete the
> game with little distress. I think Mr. Pudlo misunderestimates the
> narrator. Make no mistake: this is a well-paced game with
> appropriately clued puzzles, and the setting resignates with me.

Thanks, Kate. I apologize for being so gross, but I felt an obscure need to
demonstrate to Mr. Pudlo that I could be even more of a lunatic than he
seems to be.

Truth be told, one or two of the beta-testers also felt that the setting was
a bit on the dank and dismal side. I suppose I could have given Honey
Hartwell a tall cool drink to sip, complete with a little paper umbrella.
That might have cheered everyone up enormously.

--JA


Jacek Pudlo

unread,
Dec 4, 2006, 6:49:45 AM12/4/06
to
"Jim Aikin"

>> Despite the President's unsavoury presence, I was able to complete the
>> game with little distress. I think Mr. Pudlo misunderestimates the
>> narrator. Make no mistake: this is a well-paced game with
>> appropriately clued puzzles, and the setting resignates with me.
>
> Thanks, Kate. I apologize for being so gross, but I felt an obscure need
> to demonstrate to Mr. Pudlo that I could be even more of a lunatic than he
> seems to be.

Gee, is this where I get to say "Your game had many things going fo it, but
it just didn't work for me."? Well, I'm not gonna do that, because I don't
condescend people, and because my objections to _Last Resort_ are objective.
However attractive it may seem to disregard them as the ravings of an angry
lunatic, they are not. Let me show you why.

"The interior of the cabin is cramped and dirty. Bedspreads the color of mud
cover the twin beds, and whoever made the beds didn't bother to get the
bedding to hang straight. The plaster on one wall is discolored in mottled
patches, and the tacky wood-grain wallpaper on another wall is starting to
peel around the edges. A murky painting of some ducks is the only
decoration. Curtains the color of old pea soup hang beside the window to the
left of the door.

A chipped and scarred chest of drawers stands in an alcove in the west wall,
near the door of the bathroom, which is firmly closed. There's a closet on
the south side of the room, and the door of the cabin is to the east."

Your descriptions have a tendency to both tell and show. They start with the
conclusion, the cabin being cramped and dirty, and *then* go on showing --
in quite a few words -- exactly how cramped and dirty everything is. The
adjectives "chipped, scarred mottled, tacky, discolored" are not enough it
seems; the player must be *told* that the cabin is dirty. This
repetetiveness is then echoed by the fact that all the objects in your game
seem be competing in decrepitude. It's as if the entire world were a cheap
motel room covered with an even glaze of dirt. And it's not just the
indoors; even Mother Nature is described as "horribly depressing."

> X TREES
The trees are horribly depressing somehow. It's as if they're dead, but
don't know it. They're twisted and ugly, and even though they're not close

enough to touch, you can see clouds of insects swarming around them.

This is a horror story with supernatural elements, so I'm guessing the
atmosphere you want to convey is one of eeriness. The problem is that
depression and eeriness don't mix well. You don't have time be depressed
when you're scared.

> CLOSE CURTAINS
You pull the curtains closed, leaving the room even more gloomy and
depressing than before.

Gloomy *and* depressing? Don't you think the player has got the message by
now?

> X CHEST OF DRAWERS
The bureau looks to have been cheaply mass-manufactured to begin with, and
is now quite scuffed.

Examining objects doesn't really tell anything new about them; it just
repeats what has already been told in the room description, only in
different words. So despite being quite detailed, _Last Resort_ lacks in
specificity because almost everything is painted with the same monochrome of
gloomy, tacky cheapness.

> Truth be told, one or two of the beta-testers also felt that the setting
> was a bit on the dank and dismal side.

Did you ever stop to think, Is this thing going to be fun to play?

> I suppose I could have given Honey Hartwell a tall cool drink to sip,
> complete with a little paper umbrella. That might have cheered everyone up
> enormously.

You're groping for sympathy. Please stop.


Parham

unread,
Dec 4, 2006, 8:24:11 AM12/4/06
to
The thing is, despite all these complaints, and stuff, this game is
among the few I've loved. Not that my idea would be something to count
on since I'm not an English, but I love how much of details it goes
on. I mean, it's as much as my 16-year old brain goes, which most of
the games (I've played) are not like this. Only Babel is something
like that. The puzzles don't seem to be for a 13/14 years old girl to
solve, but she can be a noble, after all. :D.
If asking from me, he needs a congratulation.
So, congratulations! I liked it.

28 IF

unread,
Dec 4, 2006, 11:20:40 AM12/4/06
to
Jim Aikin come on down:

>> The strangest thing about this is someone arguing with a well known
>> troll as if he's raising valid points. Why not just ignore him?
>
>Well, he DID download and start playing the game, so ... is he really a
>troll? Maybe he's just a hobbit with a bad case of indigestion and an
>ingrown kneecap.

Nah, he's definitely a troll. He just happens to be uncommonly intelligent
and well-spoken for a troll, but his purpose is and always has been simply to
stir up shit.

Autymn D. C.

unread,
Dec 4, 2006, 1:03:38 PM12/4/06
to
Parham wrote:
> The thing is, despite all these complaints, and stuff, this game is
> among the few I've loved. Not that my idea would be something to count
> on since I'm not an English, but I love how much of details it goes

Engl/Engel
You want details? :D Play Kallisti.

> on. I mean, it's as much as my 16-year old brain goes, which most of
> the games (I've played) are not like this. Only Babel is something
> like that. The puzzles don't seem to be for a 13/14 years old girl to

13/14-year-old

> solve, but she can be a noble, after all. :D.
> If asking from me, he needs a congratulation.
> So, congratulations! I liked it.

BTW, how long should it take to win?

-Aut

James Mitchelhill

unread,
Dec 4, 2006, 1:07:32 PM12/4/06
to
On 4 Dec 2006 10:03:38 -0800, Autymn D. C. wrote:

> Parham wrote:
>> The thing is, despite all these complaints, and stuff, this game is
>> among the few I've loved. Not that my idea would be something to count
>> on since I'm not an English, but I love how much of details it goes
>
> Engl/Engel
> You want details? :D Play Kallisti.

I suggest avoiding this course of action.

Besides, Kallisti II will be far more detailed.

--
James Mitchelhill
ja...@disorderfeed.net
http://disorderfeed.net

Parham

unread,
Dec 5, 2006, 12:22:32 AM12/5/06
to
Now what is that "Kallisti" thing?
:D

Matthew T. Russotto

unread,
Dec 5, 2006, 5:31:01 PM12/5/06
to
In article <PAEch.25292$E02....@newsb.telia.net>,

Jacek Pudlo <ja...@jacek.jacek> wrote:
>
>So now this is suddenly an interior monologue? Do you refer to yourself as
>"you" in your interior monologues?

Generally, I'm "self", but sometimes, when getting in touch with my
inner Pudlu, "you moron".
--
There's no such thing as a free lunch, but certain accounting practices can
result in a fully-depreciated one.

Jacek Pudlo

unread,
Dec 5, 2006, 8:10:00 PM12/5/06
to
"James Mitchelhill"

> Kallisti II will, however, open with a quote from Emily Short:
>
> "...it represents, and by implication defends, a view of the world that is
> ultimately as tawdry and degrading as the game's endscene: one in which
> people are not people but manipulable objects; in which sex is only a
> control device, conversation is for only showing off rather than for
> building a communion between people, love is inconceivable, and even the
> clean fire of intellect is diffused into pointless pseudo-academic
> jargon."

I've always read _Kallisti_ as a caricature of _Galatea_. You know, the way
a caricature can bring out the flaws of the original. Like an acid bath it
disfigures its subject, but it also shows the bone structure beneath the
soft flesh.

As I read Emily's very eloquent assessment of _Kallisti_, I couldn't help
thinking if some of the flaws she so ably points out don't apply to
_Galatea_ as well. I mean, what is Galatea if not a "manipulable object"?
Isn't the very point of the game to manipulate her into one of the endings?
Some might argue that Galatea's responses to manipulation are much more
sophisticated than those of the female NPC in _Kallisti_. But is that really
true? There are certainly more choices in _Galatea_, but there is also less
direction. In _Kallisti_ I always knew where I was heading, whereas in
_Galatea_ I often fumbled groping for the "correct" topic that would make
the statue's wheels turn. And even when they did turn, the thing that popped
out of the cuckoo-clock was seldom what I expected. In fact, I often found
Galatea's responses odd and arbitrary. I still remember how the "food"
ending made me scratch my head in bewilderment. So did _Galatea_ succeed in
"building a communion between people"? I would have to say, No. It felt more
like fiddling with a complex, obtuse and strangely unpredictable mechanism
rather than a "communion."

How about the "clean fire of intellect," then? Is Galatea a good
conversationalist? Are her responses witty, insightful, informative? Do they
reflect the lambent flame of intelligence? Well, judge for yourselves.

>ASK GALATEA ABOUT ART
"In the abstract?" You become aware of her breathing -- the slight
expansion of her ribs, the soft exhalation -- natural, and yet somehow
studied. "Not much. I've seen very few pieces: myself, and the murals at
the airport -- and the latter, I am led to believe, do not quite count."

>ASK GALATEA ABOUT ART
"I've said everything I know."

This is probably the most obvious thing to ask a talking statue. You'd think
this would be the tour de force of the piece -- a work of art talking about
art! What potential for postmodern parody! What an opportunity for the
author to show off her skills! And yet, instead of fireworks, instead of the
"fire of intellect," what we get is mere whimper, a ten-watt light-bulb
barely flickering. This is by no means an exception -- almost all her
responses are equally bland and evasive. But the worst part is not the
inaneness and evasiveness, but the toungue-in-cheekness of it all; the way
you can feel how the author *knows* she's expected to deliver the goods, but
instead of delivering closes the bag *just* before you can catch a glimpse
of what's inside. Because surely we don't want Galatea to talk about airport
graffiti when we ask her about art.

So perhaps this was too abstract. Let's try something more tangible, like
the place where she was made.

>ASK GALATEA ABOUT GREECE
"Buy a map."

Not much of a talker, eh? Let's try something more specific, like the
*island* where she was made.

>ASK GALATEA ABOUT THASOS
"It's an island off the Chersonese. Settled long ago, with the sanctuaries
of the old gods still on it."

This sounds like a tourist brochure, which is odd, since I can easily find
Thasos on the map I was so curtly advised to buy. Whatever is burning here
is hardly the "clean fire of intellect." In fact, it's more like the *lack*
of intellect, concealed behind brusqueness, obtuseness and evasiveness.

What it all boils down to, I guess, is _Galatea's_ lack of substance. Where
_Kallisti_ presents a substance that is of little value, _Galatea_ offers no
substance to start with. Where _Kallisti_ fails at substantiveness,
_Galatea_ excells at vacuity.


Parham

unread,
Dec 6, 2006, 2:33:28 PM12/6/06
to
Well, if Kallista is a free IF--Where can I get it? If not, what is the
website? (Although I don't think I'd buy it anyway, just for more
information.).
Thanks.

Autymn D. C.

unread,
Dec 6, 2006, 6:03:54 PM12/6/06
to

Kallisti, not Kallista--althouh the name is corrupted from Calliste, or
Fairrestu.

http://wurb.com/if

-Aut

James Mitchelhill

unread,
Dec 6, 2006, 6:33:17 PM12/6/06
to

Kallisti was an IFComp entry back in 2001. You can download it here:

http://mirror.ifarchive.org/if-archive/games/competition2001/tads/kallisti/kallisti.gam

More importantly though, why would you want to? It's an absolutely awful
game.

Jacek Pudlo

unread,
Dec 6, 2006, 6:45:49 PM12/6/06
to
James Mitchelhill on his own game:

> More importantly though, why would you want to? It's an absolutely awful
> game.

Are you a masochist, James? Do you enjoy disparaging your own work, or is it
that you think you will become popular by demeaning yourself?


James Mitchelhill

unread,
Dec 6, 2006, 7:01:30 PM12/6/06
to

I hope so!

Richard Bos

unread,
Dec 6, 2006, 7:59:38 PM12/6/06
to
Neil Cerutti <hor...@yahoo.com> wrote:

> On 2006-12-02, Jacek Pudlo <ja...@jacek.jacek> wrote:
> > "Jim Aikin"
> >> I've just uploaded my new game, "Last Resort," to the archive.
> >> It's also available for download from my own site at
> >> www.musicwords.net/if/if_resort.htm.
> >
> > Why is it that 95% of all IF games set in the real world have
> > settings that are consistently dirty, cramped, cheap,
> > dilapidated? The paint is always peeling, the siding always
> > warped, walls discoloured, the paintings on them inane and in
> > poor taste, motel cabins are described as "little more than
> > shacks," even the croquet hoop is bent and rusted. And all this
> > after five minutes of play. Why this predilection for trailer
> > trash realism? Sometimes it seems it's actually more than just
> > a predilection -- it's like wallowing in dirt. Is it because
> > this is the only reality these authors know? Why not set your
> > game at the Ritz-Carlton Central Park for a change?
>
> Interesting observation. Here's a two word answer to your
> question: Feel free!

Oh, but he already has! Don't you remember Gamlet? Set in the cleanest,
most high-class establishment our dear stone-brain could create.

Richard

Jacek Pudlo

unread,
Dec 7, 2006, 3:15:31 AM12/7/06
to
"Richard Bos"

Keeping in mind that as a character in my nephew's game I am disqualified as
impartial observer, I'd still argue that a wealthy 19th century mansion is
closer to the Ritz-Carlton than a trailer park with adjoining putrescent
swamp. But what really torpedoes _Last Resort_ is not so much the setting as
the monotony of perspective. Jim Aikin has argued that his intention was to
stimulate exploration by providing opposition, but how is opposition
possible if there is no contrast? If the indoors smells "sour and musty, as
if it hasn't been cleaned in a long time," and the outdoors -- as soon as
you step outside -- has the pervasive odour of "decaying vegetation," then
what point is there in leaving the cabin? When the indoors is described as
"gloomy and depressing" and the trees outside as "horribly depressing," you
might as well stay put.


Reply all
Reply to author
Forward
0 new messages