IFComp 2015: The King and the Crown   3 comments

By Wes Lesley. Played on computer with Frotz. Finished without walkthrough, but checked after for hidden endings.


With the Royal Coffee in one hand and the royal bunny slippers on your feet, you arrive in your office. Well, ‘office’. Just a fancy name for the room where you keep your chair. And ‘chair’ is just a fancy name fancy people use to say ‘throne’. Honestly. You’d almost think a throne was something special.

The blurb for The King and the Crown prepares us for a “very short game”, but I ended up playing for about an hour. What happened?

First, note that the blurb does not lie. This is a one room game where you play a king who needs to find your scepter and crown. For me this occupied all of 10 minutes.

On the way, I noticed the parser was rather more clever than the previous games I played from this comp, and even the error messages were fun to read.

> get crown
Okay, so you want me to ‘get crown’ and I can respect that and I totally get where you’re coming from but then it went [sounds of rocket taking off and crashing and exploding] and I hope you’re not mad at me because I really tried my best.

I mean, uh… You can’t see any such thing.

After finishing, the game mentions “five points to score, hidden in the game”, with some suggestions. This is where my hour playing comes in.

I probably had fun for 3/4 of it. This is the sort of game where the fun in playing parser comes out, where you have the freedom of thinking of something and trying it rather than seeing a list of things to try and picking one; even the failures had funny admonishments.

The other 1/4 I got annoyed because of the specifics of the hidden points.

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

There’s a hidden point obtained via an “abracadabra” magic word. I knew I was supposed to use it but the timing eluded me totally and I needed the walkthrough. (Also, I misspelled it every time I tried to type it, including right now in this very post.)

The worst (but in a way, most interesting) point came from optimizing the steps so that all the other points were obtained as efficiently as possible. This made no temporal sense and required cheap meta tricks like wearing the crown without first typing >TAKE CROWN. As grating as this was, I appreciated that it made me think of my parser commands outside the box. It was sort of “speedrunning for IF” which, like a real speedrun, leverages the glitches in the system (example: in Mario 64 jumping through walls to skip levels).

If the hidden points were true easter eggs like the Last Lousy Points of a traditional adventure, I wouldn’t be so annoyed, but the game’s structure made it feel like solving them was a requirement for a full experience.

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Posted October 6, 2015 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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3 responses to “IFComp 2015: The King and the Crown

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  1. Thanks for playing the game. Oh the reason the fifth point is … … if you wanna know, email me :-)

  2. Now I really want to see IF speedruns, haha. But I think most modern IF is so relatively, umm, dunno how to describe it… the size of the source code is much smaller than the kind of games that are usually speedrun, and they are usually written by individual authors who can go back to fix glitches much more easily than a whole game studio could (or would want to), relatively speaking.

    OTOH Crypt of the Necrodancer has a vibrant speedrunning/racing community which doesn’t involve glitches at all. But then it turns into “who can type faster”!

  3. Pingback: IFComp 2015 Summary | Renga in Blue

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