Goofy by Ricardo Dague [Comp01]

IFDB page: Goofy
Final placement: 46th place (of 51) in the 2001 Interactive Fiction Competition

In most competition games, a room that completely lacks a description is a bug. In a Ricardo Dague game, a room that completely lacks a description is… just another descriptionless room. I first encountered this minimalism in his Comp98 game Fifteen, whose main feature was a fifteen-puzzle and a couple of others. Goofy follows in that game’s footsteps by pretty much omitting the entire concept of room descriptions. A typical room looks like this:

First Floor, by desk
An exit is north.

This sort of thing just doesn’t really do it for me. That’s purely a matter of taste, I suppose, since there isn’t anything particularly wrong with omitting the room description, especially since the game isn’t really trying to tell a story. To me, it just feels like wandering around in somebody’s unfinished prototype. Your mileage may vary.

What would be good is if the few words that are present were properly proofread. Even with the dearth of prose in this game, I still ended up finding things like an “electrionic scale” or a mouse that spends its time “examing” the things around it. Prose problems aside, the game is implemented competently enough. The puzzles are mostly rudimentary, but sorta fun. I made the final puzzle harder than it needed to be, because I failed to find a crucial inventory item until I’d spent considerable frustration on the puzzle. After that, I solved the puzzle, though I never did quite figure out how I was supposed to do it without liberal use of UNDO.

The other noteworthy thing about this game is that it is implemented entirely as a Java applet. Consequently, its verb set is very limited, and save/restore is absent due to the lack of file I/O. Because of the nature of the game, these things aren’t as big of a problem as they might be. Goofy is a very small game, so although it was a pain in the neck to have to play it through rather than restoring, the process was relatively quick. Similarly, when the gameworld is as spartan as this one, not many verbs are required. Then again, such a bare-bones experience doesn’t produce much fun, at least not for me.

Rating: 5.0