IFComp 2011: Fog Convict

And now, a second entry by the author of Blind. How does it compare? Spoilers follow the break.

I’ve made negative comments in the past about “My Apartment” games. This is a specimen of that genre’s close cousin, the “My College” game. It’s apparently a fairly expansive representation of the LeTourneau University campus, livened up by, at the very least, a fire in your dorm and an escaped convict hiding out there in the fog somewhere. I didn’t explore much of it, though. When I first left the safety of my dorm, the game made a comment about hoping I remembered the passcode to get back inside, and I hadn’t seen any such thing, so I figured I shouldn’t leave until I had it. And I searched for it until I turned to the walkthrough, and the walkthrough exposed a bevy of bugs.

I had noticed one pretty bad bug on my own: a door that you’re told you need to open when you try to go through it, but which you’re told is already open when you try to open it. But the walkthrough made me aware of worse. There’s a locked door in the room where you start. I hadn’t found a key for it, but it turns out that all you need to do is protect your hand from the heat of the doorknob, caused by the fire in the building. Except that there’s no mention of the doorknob being hot, and there’s very explicit mention of it being locked. Once through there, you get to solve a puzzle or two to put the fire out so you can turn off the alarm — except that I had turned off the alarm already, and the other residents returned to their rooms, despite what I now knew to be an ongoing conflagration. And ultimately, following the walkthrough is impossible. It doesn’t work. It tries to send you through that impossible door I mentioned. Once I realized that, I gave up.

The weird thing is that I was playing an updated version, released on October 25. And it’s not like the bugs were new in this version; other reviews online noticed the same problems. Was it in an even worse state before? [UPDATE: Looks like I could be wrong about this! I just realized that, although the individual game files available for download have been updated on modification, the complete Comp package hasn’t been touched. Here I’ve been dutifully re-downloading the complete package every week, because it seemed like less effort than hitting all the individual games, but I’ve just been re-downloading the same thing over and over. Anyway, my problems here were problems with the initial release. I wish I had noticed this earlier, as it might have made for a more pleasant experience for me, but I don’t think I’m being unfair to the game — what I played was, after all, submitted to the Comp, and I could have just as easily judged it before the update was released.]

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