ParserComp 2022: Midnight at Al’s Self Storage, Truck Rentals, and Discount Psychic Readings

This is a decently-put-together short piece that feels like an intriguing first chapter. It follows the same basic pattern as the opening to Curses!, giving the player a deceptively mundane task — moving three boxes to the loading dock — that lead you into something strange and supernatural, involving a mysterious cave under the storage facility. And then the game ends.

That’s my biggest complaint, really: that the balance of content is tilted against the part where it starts getting really interesting. The bulk of the player’s time is spent firmly in the realm of the mundane and mechanical, including some fiddly business about a tight passage and a freight elevator. If the game were much longer, I’d say that this is the sort of interaction that needs to be either circumvented or automated on repeat visits. In fact, the game kind of does that in the end, skipping over the whole thing when you get the final box.

I suppose the real point, though, is in the depiction of place, which is one of the things parser IF is really good at.

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