Please Pass The Milk Please is a short, amusing interactive fiction game. It was inspired by They Might Be Giants song of the same title. The entire song only lasts for ten seconds, and to my understanding is part of a larger “song” that is made up of numerous short snippets, all of which also have corresponding games. I haven’t really listened to They Might Be Giants before, so I was a little baffled by the short song, but I think the interactive fiction game it inspired plays with the idea of brevity really well.
I thought it was really interesting to see the piece as a response to the song, as it mimicked certain qualities of being short and quirky, while also elaborating on the premise of passing the milk. The piece provides a context for the song: you’re sitting at the table across from your brother, Sam. On the table are a few objects: milk, obviously, two cups, and a plate of 69,105 brownies. I’m not joking, count ’em. Because the game is minimalist like the song, it challenges the player to be creative with what they do. Once you finish the game once, it gives you the option to see the different endings, or receive a hint on the different amusing things you could do. There are multiple endings to the game, most of which are not exactly happy.
When I first played the game, I felt compelled to explore my surroundings, as that’s what you normally do in IF games. However, since there wasn’t much to look at, I eventually had to face passing the milk. At first, I didn’t even think to type out the phrase “pass the milk,” and opted for the usual “take.” This resulted in my brother almost crying. Once I figured out that I could pass the milk, I realized how short the game really could be. Once it started you could just pass the milk, and it’s over. I’m not sure if other people’s first thought was to try passing the milk, but I thought it was interesting how my previous experiences with IF led me away from that simple and kind of obvious answer. Of course, finding that appropriate ending was only one aspect of the game. It has numerous different endings that happen when you interact with different objects in the room. This elaboration made for an interesting and amusing piece.