IFComp 2014: Fifteen Minutes   1 comment

At 2:25 pm:
With practiced brilliance, Sixth You fiddles with the controls of the time machine and vanishes unexpectedly with a crack of inward rushing atoms. You just notice that the array of dip-switches was set to 0100 before the machine, with a hum and a cough, resets itself.

With easy nonchalance, Fourth You grabs the handle of the machine, fiddles with the controls and, with a faint zephyr of emptiness disappearing, disappears. You notice that the silver toggle was set to backwards before, with a splutter, the machine resets itself.

Fifteen Minutes is a parser game which easily represents the most insane time-travel puzzle I’ve ever attempted.

Premise: You are about to be expelled from a school. You are left in a room with a time machine, and almost immediately a blizzard of duplicates called “Second You”, “Third You”, “Fourth You”, etc. start popping in the room. You have to keep self-consistent with the time travel, which requires careful notes.

I have to say, oddly, this gave me the most epic plot feeling of any of the competition games so far. This might seem strange for a game with very little traditional story, but the participatory aspect to the puzzle (leading to the glorious Eighth You) made me feel like I, personally, had wrangled a particularly complicated time paradox (as opposed to gently suggesting things to a character unlinked to myself).

Specific puzzle spoilers:

S
P
O
I
L
E
R
.
.
.
.
.
.
S
P
A
C
E
.
.
.
.

The most mind-blowing moment was realizing I had to go back to a time before the plot had even started and I needed to use the watch times on the different Yous to coordinate how far back I needed to go.

I didn’t have a problem with the binary switches, but the ternary switches were a bizarre addition (given there was also a regular minute dial) and I presume were there just to make the set-up feel more “science-y”.

I did have one serious issue near the end which required a walkthrough (although this could be fixed in a new version) — the principal asks you to SHOW him his test, but if you SHOW TEST TO PRINCIPAL the professor says you can’t follow directions and you get expelled. I assumed, perhaps, I had filled out the test wrong, but it turns out I had to GIVE TEST TO PRINCIPAL (which is not what the directions said). In a complex puzzle game even the smallest of errors can cause a player to go in circles. (ADD: This issue has been fixed now.)

Icon of my brain, while playing Fifteen Minutes.

Icon of my brain, while playing Fifteen Minutes.

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Posted October 20, 2014 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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One response to “IFComp 2014: Fifteen Minutes

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  1. Pingback: IF Comp 2014: Fifteen Minutes (Ade McT) | Emily Short's Interactive Storytelling

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