IFComp 2010: The People’s Glorious Revolutionary Text Adventure Game

Glorious spoilers of the worker follow the break.

The basic schtick here is that the game is told through simplistic and reductive point of view of a cartoonishly-exaggerated communist revolutionary. Descriptions tend to be along the lines of “Freedonia’s town hall bustles with the bureaucratic drones necessary to keep capitalism from collapsing under its unsustainable weight” — barely anything or anyone gets described without decrying capitalism, praising communism, or both. (The city planners even seem to engage you in this rhetoric, with place names like “Reagan Street”, “McCarthy Boulevard”, and “J. Edgar Hoover Elementary School”.) It’s rather one-note, but at least it’s a deliberate reflection of the player character’s personality, and besides, I’ve always had some fondness for this kind of extremely partial point of view in games. Or is it partial? Events in the game bear out everything the PC believes, however ridiculous, including the town’s sudden and miraculous transformation into a workers’ paradise at the end. It’s more like a partial world.

The overall goal is Revolution, and to that end you’re given a checklist with items like “win hearts of proletariat” and “cripple capitalist government infrastructure” — things achieved with remarkable ease, through actions on the level of prank phone calls. This is an adventure game in the old-school mode, a minimal world where everything and everyone is either part of a puzzle or part of a solution — although it earns some kudos by providing multiple solutions wherever reasonable. One very nice touch is the “Communistic Converter”, a single-use device that instantly subverts the person you stick it on, thereby skipping a puzzle that you can’t figure out. I was worried at first that I’d need this for some specific puzzle and would waste it in the wrong place, but its role in the game designed is explained in the help menu’s “General, Non-Spoiler Hints” section, itself another nice touch.

It’s short, it’s silly, it’s a good illustration of the strange fact that communist imagery has somehow become camp in this country despite being associated with real oppression and suffering for millions. There were some relatively minor bugs, but no game-blockers — for example, at one point I stuffed a rag into a toilet (part of crippling the capitalist government infrastructure) and found that it was still in my inventory.

Rating: 5

4 Comments so far

  1. Greg on 8 Oct 2010

    Thanks for putting in the spoiler break. I’ve been trying not to read your other IFComp posts when they come up in my RSS feed.

  2. Carl Muckenhoupt on 8 Oct 2010

    I still don’t have that set up quite right. Ideally, I’d like the RSS summary field to just be the bit before the break, but there doesn’t seem to be a way to do that with WordPress. Maybe I’ll have to go and copy it into the “excerpt” field manually, although I find this option displeasing, because it involves repeating content and creates the possibility of the two things getting out of sync.

  3. Rhian on 10 Oct 2010

    I ran into the same problem as regards RSS feeds and spoilers etc. There’s a plugin you could try that removes anything after the break from your RSS feed (without having to fiddle with excerpts) and replaces it with a ‘read more’ link. It’s working well for me: http://planetozh.com/blog/my-projects/wordpress-plugin-better-feed-rss/

  4. Carl Muckenhoupt on 10 Oct 2010

    Cool! This does exactly what I want with feeds.

Leave a reply