Posted 25 August 2001 to rec.games.int-fiction
I was pleased to see someone post a comment on the game "Rematch" today. I enjoyed the flurry of mini reviews and comments on games that we had on rgif a few months ago following a call to the group for more discussion of games as we play them. That worthy trend seemed to fizzle out though.
I actually play very few games to completion but still I feel guilty that the few I have completed I haven't commented on in rgif. So to make some amends, here's a few thoughts on the only game I've played right through to completion in recent weeks.
"Bugged" by Anssi Räisänen
"Bugged" is a clever little game in the modern genre -- a game that is aware it is a game and emphasizes that point. The quest for 'mimesis' is not a feature of "Bugged"!
The premise is that you are playing a bug-ridden text adventure. You are the game's first "beta-tester". Your challenge is to complete the game despite the bugs.
The supposed genre of the game is a traditional escape-from-the-medieval-castle puzzle-game. This is just a framework for the true purpose which is to solve twisted lateral-thinking puzzles where the obvious action -- eg: "open door" -- is blocked by a deliberate coding "bug" and the real way forward involves the discovery and exploitation of another "bug".
In the first few moves I found this very frustrating. After all, I hate bug-ridden games but once I caught on to the twisted way of thinking required, I found that "Bugged" was a funny and enjoyable game.
I would recommend this game to rai-f and rgi-f regulars who will appreciate the game's humour as they remember some of the bug-ridden games they've tried to play in the past. I think Anssi's idea is original and very clever. In fact my main complaint was that in the end "Bugged" seemed a little too brief and slight and that the idea is worthy of a grander implementation. I wonder, though, if battling IF bugs, even deliberate ones, may become too wearisome in a longer game.
"Bugged" was written using the Alan authoring system. It is very competently programmed -- perhaps one of the best Alan games though on the surface it sometimes feels otherwise due to its "bug"-ridden nature! You can download an Alan "2.8" runtime interpreter program to play "Bugged" from <http://ifarchive.org/indexes/if-archiveXprogrammingXalanXexecutables.html>.
"Bugged" version 1.1 by Anssi Räisänen can be downloaded from <http://ifarchive.org/if-archive/games/alan/bugged.zip>
This article copyright © 2001, Steve Griffiths