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: Last week, a group of people who do such things gathered together online to play "Guess the Verb!", my 2000 work of interactive fiction. In retrospect I'm not really happy with the game, but it's not bad. I don't think I ever did the post-mortem I promised I'd do, so I'll talk a bit about it.

The main problem with GTV! is the wheel mechanic, which does a good job of randomizing the scenarios, but also prevents you from seeing at least one scenario per game, and might prevent you from seeing any scenarios at all. Instead of having you literally guess the verb, the carnival game should have just been a wheel you spin to get a scenario. Or you should have gotten the scenario on the wheel, regardless of your guess.

The other thing that sucks is you have to grab an item in each scenario to give to Lalrry for the next scenario, or you're screwed. That's just bad design, and I wouldn't blame people who run into it for quitting the game before seeing all the cool stuff.

The puzzle in the main scenario is fun, and I have no complaints about it. The Colossal Cave (FASTEN) and Enchanter (UNDO) parody scenarios are excellent. The mad scientist scenario (SCRUTINIZE) isn't a parody of any other game in particular, but a parody of ham-fisted video game copy protection techniques. And the writing is excellent. I'm pretty sure that's the first scenario I wrote.

The college scenario (RECONFIGURE) is, as far as I know, the only extant description of the UCLA CSUA in that time period. So it's historically interesting if nothing else. It was largely a parody of "Save Princeton", which I loved playing when I was in high school because you were in college!

DISEMBARK, the Planetfall parody (which unlike the others doesn't wear the thing it's parodying on its sleeve) was, I believe, panned as phoned in or tacked on. It's not a terribly big scenario but I never intended it to be longer. I should have made it more detailed, though.

I feel like I wrote some of this before, but there you go. My eight-years-in-the-making opinion of "Guess The Verb!"


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