IF Comp ’09 Review: Interface

Interface? But I’ve only just met ‘er!

Interface was written by Ben Vegiard. Disclaimer and review list.

Non-spoiler summary: No bugs, very few typos. A solid and cute little game.

Spoilers after the picture of… Man, I dunno. “Interface” doesn’t give me much to work with in terms of choosing pictures. I guess I’ll just look for something funny…

Here’s a picture of a dog smoking a pipe. I found it on my desktop and I have no idea where it came from.


Hm. My guess is that Uncle Floyd has invented the world’s best electric chair, and this is my out-of-body experience as I die, a charred and smoking skeleton.

…ooh, well, I was close, but it’s even weirder than that. Well allrighty then. I hope my body is being properly taken care of while I’m out of it. If I wake up with a load of embarrassing tattoos I’ll be pissed.

Almost magically, you digest the ASCII characters XYZZY, break them into their binary counterparts, run them through several algorithms, and find that the only fruits of your analysis is the phrase: “Nothing Happens.”

Heh, nice.

>x me
You cannot see much of your own body as whatever is serving as your eyes is limited in its movements.  You assume yourself to be about 4 feet in height based on what is at eye level with you.  You can, however, see that your body is made of metal, some of which is certainly scrap originally intended for other uses.  The portions that you can see are basically symmetrical forming a boxy four-sided pyramid .  Each of the four faces of the pyramid has an arm-like extension with a gripper mechanism at the end.  These grippers are small and not very flexible, but allow simple manipulations.

Interesting! I’m feeling enthusiastic, so far. Am I limited to carrying four items, due to the number of arms? (Turns out yes. I am simultaneously impressed by the verisimilitude, and annoyed by the restriction. (Though it turned out to not be particularly cumbersome.))

Enthusiastic, that is, except for the little clock on the status bar. I really hope this isn’t a timed game. I like to play games in a leisurely, exploratory fashion; being forced to get stuff done in a certain amount of time really drains the fun out of it for me. (Afterwards: I don’t think it was timed, or anyway if it was I got it right first try without noticing. Whew!)

I’m seeing some minor text errors here and there… a misued “it’s”, “a keys”, and so on. For the most part everything seems well-written and well-implemented, though. I particularly note that the author took the time to replace the standard parser error messages with custom ones, which is quite nice.

You can see property tage and a pyramid shaped harness here.

>x tage
You see nothing special about property tage.

Huh. Property tags, maybe? Shouldn’t they have something written on them, saying whose property it is, or something? Unimplemented items are more of a shock than usual in a game where everything else works fine. It’s also weird to have to deliberately mistype the typoed item name, in order to interact with it.

Woot, I’ve won. That was a pretty easy, friendly little game. No great jewel of IF, but it’s competent and cute. If only all the “Author’s First Game” entries the comp gets were up to this standard.

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