IFComp 2010: Heated, by Timothy Peers

This is the fourteenth game I am reviewing in the 16th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition. There needs to be some text here so that when Facebook links to it it doesn’t include bits of the actual review. And thus it is that I say: As the weather cools off, I become more dependent on my shiny little workplace Zojirushi CD-WBC30, which I dearly love and generally consume about 1.5 liters of tea from.

A note on creating a good first impression: when your first two
sentences contain one comma splice apiece, that doesn’t immediately
promote confidence.

My lack of confidence is in short order seen to be justified; there
are bits that are just technically wrong, and far more parts which are
merely stylistically irksome. I’m sure there’s a great story waiting
to come out of the rather tired cliche of a slobby male protagonist in
a shithole apartment, but this isn’t that game.

For a game as short as this one is, it’s surprisingly
uncompromising and joyless. Unless you do everything exactly right,
the game sneers at you and calls you a failure in so many words. It’s
short enough to replay, but try-and-die has not been a well-regarded
game mechanic in IF for some time.

It’s mostly free of actual bugs in coding, but it’s so slight that
being free of bugs isn’t actually all that difficult. Ultimately, this
feels a lot like the “I coded my apartment” exercise everyone does as
their first game with a time limit. The “anger metric” is at least a
mild variation on the largely tired themes which are on display here,
but not enough to lift this game out of its squalid submediocrity. In
the future, I’d urge this author to think a bit more about what people
regard as fun. Being coldly rebuffed and told to do the whole game
over isn’t fun. Being described as a twentysomething hopeless bachelor
slob is neither fun nor original. An ordinary morning routine isn’t
particularly fun (the only “morning routine” game that has ever
worked, as far as I know, is 9:05, but that’s because Adam’s a
talented craftsman and it’s actually got a point to it).

Rating: 3


About Jake
I'm a mathematics professor at the University of Louisville, and a geek.

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