Schroedinger’s Cat by James Willson [Comp01]

IFDB page: Schroedinger’s Cat
Final placement: 39th place (of 51) in the 2001 Interactive Fiction Competition

Okay, I’m an idiot. I don’t get it. I must confess, playing this game directly after Prized Possession is making me begin to doubt my own brain. I mean, on the last game I was pretty well able to feel like my confusion was due to the game’s shortcomings. This time, though… I have the sense that if somebody sat down with me and explained the rules behind the environment in Schroedinger’s Cat, there’s about an equal chance that I would either think “Of course! Brilliant!” or “I still don’t get it.” Either way, it doesn’t do much for my ego at the moment.

So maybe I’m not that bright. But what’s also true is that games like this just really aren’t my cup of tea. I’m not a great puzzle solver, being more attracted to IF for its ability to immerse me in a setting and a story. Consequently, when a game pretty much consists of one (pretty tough) puzzle, devoid of any particular narrative or character, and then doesn’t provide the solution to the puzzle… well, I’m sure some people would find it a pleasure and a delight, but I’m not one of them. To me, puzzles in IF are a lot more fun if they advance a story rather than just existing for their own sake. This game is utterly uninterested in portraying anything beyond the bounds of its own puzzle. For instance, there are two cats in the game, each of which is described with “A cute little [white/black] cat”, sans full stop. Not exactly a description to stir the soul. A similar game from 1998, In The Spotlight, at least gave some reprieve from its starkness by providing cute and funny responses for various commands. Schroedinger’s Cat doesn’t even provide an in-game reward for solving the puzzle — in the words of the author, “Success is measured in understanding. Once you know how the world works, you can consider yourself the victor.”

Which I guess would make me the loser. You win, tough game. But the experience wasn’t much fun for me.

Rating: 3.8