IFComp 2014: Enigma   3 comments

Tim Delbrock has been your best friend since junior high school. He is your favorite fellow student. You have known each other for a long time. He is a part of your best memories. It was just a question of time until he became the boyfriend of your younger sister Gina. You really appreciated that development.

I wasn’t grabbed by the blurb/intro text of Simon Deimel’s Enigma, but I did find the concept interesting: you are frozen in a traumatic moment with a sort of amnesia, and have to recreate everything in the scene by examining and thinking about it.

My rendition of the mysterious "dark spot" in the game.

My rendition of the mysterious “dark spot” in the game.

Oddly, this results in what feels like a gamified version of The Space Under the Window where the goal is to hunt for keywords and EXAMINE and THINK ABOUT them until more keywords pop up and the details of the scene fill in. Unfortunately, even with easy mode on (which marks the keywords) I went in circles (even though I am fairly certainly I used every word) and I had to resort to the walkthrough. The timing on when the PC is “ready” for certain relevations ended up being cryptic, but I’m unsure how to fix the problem without being too annoying (“enlightenment bar at 56%!”).

While I liked the resolution(s), I was somewhat annoyed by the lack of UNDO for the final choice. Deactivating UNDO makes sense for me in some games (the Choice of ones in particular have led me to make and stick with difficult choices) but it doesn’t here: all it did was force me to ram through a walkthrough to see the alternate endings. This wasn’t a scenario where I felt like I was committing a story act that I should stick to. It felt instead like browsing through alternate endings (much like the home version of the movie Clue gives all three alternate endings in a row).

Still, this was worth the 20 minutes it took for a playthrough, and I appreciated the innovation.

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Posted October 3, 2014 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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3 responses to “IFComp 2014: Enigma

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  1. Agreed, especially about UNDO. I can see how the author wants to make the last action consequential, but this doesn’t seem like the way to do it, if only because the culture of UNDOing is so built-in.–And also that, if the author wants to make me own my choice, he should give me a reasonable choice. What is a law-abiding citizen supposed to do in a situation like that? Xrrc gur fghcvq tha naq pnyy gur cbyvpr. But consulting the walkthrough reveals that this is not a choice; in fact I tried a command that approximated this and that was suggested by the game, yrnir, and was told it was not time yet; I assume I only get to do that if I fubbg uvz.

    (Spoilers rot13ed.)

  2. …I should say also, agreed that I appreciate the innovation. I even had a decent time with easy mode turned off; there was a chokepoint or two but no more so than I usually get with puzzle IF.

  3. Pingback: IF Comp 2014: Enigma (Simon Deimel) | Emily Short's Interactive Storytelling

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