The Sleeping Princess is short and sweet. It's an interactive fiction
designed by children and especially suited to children, and especially
especially suited to children who are playing interactive fiction for
the first time. As such, it doesn't break any new ground; in fact, it
doesn't even cover most of the well-trodden ground. But I think it
succeeds in what it sets out to do, and even the veteran can have a
couple of minutes of enjoyment with it.
A BIT MORE DETAIL
There is a sleeping princess, cursed by a witch. You are the boy who has
to clean the palace, and obviously, you are going to wake the princess
and get out of this bad job.
The game does a good job of introducing the new player to the concept of
interactive fiction, by presenting a short menu with a bit of
explanation before the game proper starts. However, I think the very
long instructions that the player can get could and should have been
shortened considerably: it is overwhelming, most of what is said isn't
needed in the story, and the best way to find out about this stuff is
probably to try it, not to read about it.
In terms of writing and programming, the game is impeccable. The only
bug I noticed was that the portrait of the princess does not have a
description. Otherwise, implementation is complete and the prose is in a
consistent whimsical fairy tale style.
The puzzles are easy: a veteran player of IF will breeze through the
game. However, I think that for new players, and especially for children
new to IF, the puzzles are perfect. (_Maybe_ it is not so good that
showing the coin has a different effect before and after talking to the
trainer. I'm not sure new players would think of retrying something that
had already failed.)
Yes, well, how to rate this game? Keeping in mind that this is the
Beginner's Comp, and that this game is tailor-made for a certain class
of beginners, I think I will rate it at 7 out of 10.
> In terms of writing and programming, the game is impeccable. The
> only bug I noticed was that the portrait of the princess does not
> have a description.
When I examined the portrait I saw a picture of it. I suspect the
bug here is that there's no alternative provided for non-HTML
I also liked this game and thought it did a pretty good job for its
Ah, good to know. I suspected something like that, but of course it
didn't show up for me on the Mac either.
Ah, I see. I already thought it was strange that someone would forget to
implement a description of, of all things, a picture. :)
Straightforward, sure, and initially annoying that when you mop the
floor, you drop the bucket - but this was because we missed the
message saying "dropping the bucket first" rather than because the
game was being difficult (and of course it's logical one needs to drop
the bucket to mop the floors). A real d'oh moment.
Only two minor quibbles were "x portrait" coming back with nothing
under Gargoyle (showing the need for playtesting under a variety of
game-playing mechanisms) and the coin being a pain - yes we tried to
pay for training early (well, it's a 27c coin, and total training only
cost 25 - obviously dollars or somesuch rather than cents, but this
isn't mentioned) by showing the coin to Willy, and at that point he
really should've recognised that it was the rare coin he was after.
But...it's a comp for beginners. Instructions...perfect. Tone of
game...perfect. Level of detail...perfect. Very, very good