Stack Overflow by Timofei Shatrov [Comp04]

IFDB page: Stack Overflow
Final placement: 29th place (of 36) in the 2004 Interactive Fiction Competition

From the outset, it’s clear that there are some problems with the English in this game. The intro’s admonition that I’m “really getting late to the work”, and the game’s description of my garage as “a small brick building with heavy iron door” signaled clearly to me that it’s clumsy translation time again. Occasionally, it almost seemed like a parody of broken English, with diction worthy of Martin and Aykroyd’s Czech brothers:

>open door
You pull the door to yourself, but what do you think? It's locked!

In any case, if you’re writing a game in a language in which you’re not fluent, I highly recommend having someone who is fluent check the prose.

About 40 minutes into the game, I stumbled into an area where nothing was implemented, not even a way to get back to the place I’d stumbled out of. Feeling merciful, I decided not to call this a game-killing bug, restored, and continued on for a while. However, after a while of bashing at mysterious machines, I decided I was stuck, and checked the hint system, which let me type HINT <object> for whatever object I needed help with, and then issued utterly useless statements like “A little experimentation should probably be helpful for you” and “No giveaways on that one!”

Groaning with frustration, I turned to the walkthrough, despite the game’s insistence that I “shouldn’t need it because of the revolutionary hint system this game provides.” Snort. Guess what? The walkthrough didn’t work either — it expects objects to be present that are not. In my book, that’s a fatal bug.

Oh well, at least fatally buggy games are very easy to rate.

Rating: 1.0