ParserComp 2022: Gent Stickman vs Evil Meat Hand

On the surface, this is a slim bit of nonsense made of crudely-drawn stick figure art, with minimal implementation and puzzles that you really need the built-in hints to solve, including critical-path urination at one point. It really reminds me of the stuff that students used to slap together in Flash, back in the day.

And honestly, the surface is pretty much all there is. Nonetheless, it stands out in ParserComp for violating one of the basic assumptions I had about the sort of games I expected to find here: there is no text output. Commands are typed in, but the results are communicated entirely with pictures. And while it seems likely that this isn’t the first game to do this, I’ll be darned if I can think of any others. Modern IF has more gone the opposite route, keeping textual output and ditching the parser, and it’s good to be reminded that there are still other possibilities out there, underexplored and waiting. This game doesn’t do a lot with the concept, but it does at least show some of its difficulties and promises — specifically, the asymmetry of communication. In an all-text game, concepts are communicated from player to game and game to player in the same way. Take that away, and you immediately create uncertainty about the possibility space, even in a dinky game like this one. Even the hints require interpretation. There’s stuff here that could be built on.

1 Comment so far

  1. AZ on 1 Aug 2022

    You are young.
    Live has been kind to you.
    You…
    will…
    learn…

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