IFComp 2010: The Chronicler

glowing orb

“The Chronicler” by John Evans

A short game with a few interesting tricks.

It’s not the most interesting blurb I’ve ever read. I predict that I’ll either be an immortal bearing witness to the development of humanity, or a newspaperman in 1907. Spoilers continue on page A3.

There’s not a lot of exposition, so let’s…

>x me
As good-looking as ever.

This does not bode well

I realize almost immediately that the small device I’ve found is a time/space machine. And that apparently only certain rooms are allowable time-travel destinations, though you can depart from anywhere. I also notice that I’m in a vaguely sci-fi setting, and I’m wandering around empty, disjointed hallways. The time travel puzzles aren’t bad, but they’re not especially original, either.

There are some serious problems with unimplemented objects:

Great Machine
This is a wide room, more of a cavern. A large machine dominates the
southern part of the room. It’s spheroid in shape, a port on the front
glowing with an intense blue light. Great cables run from it to the
ceiling and floor. Nothing in your training gives you any hint at what
the machine might be. In any case, there is a gleaming bank of
machinery against the north wall, right near the security door, and there
are more doors to the east and west.

> x machine
You can’t see any such thing.

So that was disappointing. Then, nearing the end I opened the walkthrough and read the author’s note:

Chronicler is a short game for the Interactive Fiction Competition 2010. Unfortunately, due to poor scheduling on my part it’s only half finished, or perhaps three-quarters. I can only hope that you’ll find some amusement from the manipulations of objects it affords, while I apologize for the shortness of the experience.

Should’ve seen that coming. Don’t release unfinished work. Unless you’re dead. Even then, it’s not always a good idea.

Verdict: C-


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