IFComp 2010: A Quiet Evening at Home

hampster memorial ~ new life

“A Quiet Evening at Home” by anonymous

They say you should write what you know. Sorry.

This is first in my random list of comp games. I’ve got to say, the apology in the blurb doesn’t bode well.

I gave this game 40 minutes, which was enough time to play it start-to-finish. First thing, I’m looking for an about text, or some menu or help to find an author’s note, beta tester list, anything. No such feature is implemented here. Bummer.

This is less of a game than an exercise. It does function, but it’s not fun. If I had to review it in one word, I’d say “unambitious.” It doesn’t attempt to provide the player with any motivation; the game’s walkthrough can be boiled down to “pee, eat, empty trash, waste time, sleep.” Of course, there are a series of obstacles to completing these tasks, nearly all of which involve finding the right room/object by exploring the house. Not a lot of thinking involved.

The hardest part of the game involves letting the hamster find the can opener for you. I hit the walkthrough for this point. This was unhinted (do hamsters have a thing for can openers? I’ve never owned one) and apparently dependent on the hamster randomly wandering into a certain room. Does that mean this game is potentially unwinnable? Besides that, the game is easy and straightforward. The writing isn’t especially entertaining, and unfortunately just a little crude; the bathroom humor in the opening and the “dream about sex” when the game ended were unnecessary.

From a technical standpoint it’s okay, but there are a few implementation rough spots. Putting water in my soup bowl didn’t seem to produce any response, but I was able to move past it and complete the game. Several other objects were underimplemented, and there were some unfortunate naming clashes with the “soup can” “garbage/trash can” and “garbage/trash bag.” I also think I was given an incorrect hint toward the end of the game. Oh well.

Verdict: C

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