Don’t Be Late by Greg Ewing [Comp96]

IFDB page: Don’t Be Late
Final placement: 22nd place (of 26) in the 1996 Interactive Fiction Competition

Very simple game — the first I’ve ever played in ALAN, so I’m not sure how much technical stuff to attribute to the language and how much to the author. Consequently, I’ll attribute all of it to the author. Starting in “your house” with “your computer” on the table strongly reminiscent of Bureaucracy, but not as interesting. Some really grievous parser omissions (I don’t know the word “get”?) Circular structure a fun gimmick, but only for a few minutes. No real puzzles to speak of, nor much of an atmosphere. In fact, there’s really not too much to do besides wrestle with the parser.

Prose: Serviceable, but nothing more. There was so little of it, it’s really hard to judge. Very little description, very few objects. A pretty sparse world. The prose that was there did its job, but nothing more.

Difficulty: Apart from parser struggles, extremely easy. The only thing resembling a “puzzle” would be incredibly easy if it wasn’t for trying to figure out the correct syntax.

Technical (coding): As mentioned, the parser was quite weak. Some extremely standard IF words not implemented. I just about quit when I realized it didn’t know the word “get.”

Technical (writing): What little prose there was showed no significant grammar or spelling errors.

Plot: This was probably the most interesting feature of the game, and it wasn’t really all that interesting. It involves an Escherian reflection — the object of the game is to play the game, and you can apparently play the “game-within-a-game” until you get really tired of it. This will probably happen pretty quickly.

Puzzles: None to speak of. With a quality parser, this game would probably have taken a good 10 minutes to solve.

OVERALL — a 4.8

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