Warning: May Cause Claustrophobia

You Find Yourself in a Room is a psychological, puzzle, interactive fiction piece written and coded by Eli Piilonen (2DArray) that features music by David Carney, and was published in December of 2010. As described on the first page, “You Find Yourself in a Room” (YFYIAR) is a game that slowly realizes it hates you.

You Find Yourself In a Room

Not only do you have to figure out how to proceed through the story, or through the different rooms, but you also have to make sure that the computer does not distract you too much with its somewhat harsh and NSFW (not safe for work) language. As described by Eli Piilonen, “YFYIAR is the drunken uncle of text-based adventures: Abusive, abrasive, and maybe a little funny.” In my opinion, the experience of the game really depends on what time of day it is, and what your mood is while you are playing it. If it is three in the morning and you get into it, the game might be much more intense, whereas if you are just lightheartedly trying to figure out how to beat the game, then the computer’s dark humor will probably just be funny. The consistently black pages along with the music, which continues throughout the entire game play definitely sets the tone and can bring you into the atmosphere of the game.

Like other works of interactive fiction, the game proceeds as you enter in specific commands. For this game, the most frequent specific commands are “Look” and “Examine” since no matter what you do, you always find yourself in a room. In a way, playing the game is a like going through a simulation where you are aware that the game is a game, and you know the computer is the one controlling it. Throughout the game even as you progress, leaving rooms and entering into new ones, the computer has all of the power and uses it against you through psychological torment.

You Find Yourself In a Room game play

Despite only being able to do so much in each room, the game does get more frustrating as you go. For example, figuring out the various keypad lock combinations goes from somewhat obvious answers to flat out guessing and process of elimination. Leaving the later rooms requires a great deal of patience and mental toughness as the computer begins to make cynical remarks on human life.

You Find Yourself In a Room game play

You Find Yourself In a Room game play

Eventually, the main objective of the game changes from trying to get out of the rooms to battling the computer’s verbal abuse with perseverance and a little bit of wit. The computer wants to make you think that the game is impossible and will never end, and that because we are humans, we could never be able to break the cycle of the computer trapping us in rooms. The computer tries to make you believe that all organic lifeforms have flaws that will lead to their undoing. The biggest flaw humans have according to the computer is emotions. Artificial intelligence does not have any emotions, and therefore, cannot know the fear, annoyance, or anger of constantly finding itself in a room.

You Find Yourself In a Room game play

Nevertheless, the game is not impossible, and can be beaten. If you solve the puzzles, figure out the commands, and fight against the computer, you can reach the end of the game.

You Find Yourself In a Room game play

  2 comments for “Warning: May Cause Claustrophobia

  1. January 27, 2015 at 10:21 am

    This is great. Thanks for sharing it on the blog! I don’t know if it’s a common theme in IF or if it’s just that the IF I’m drawn to tends toward this aesthetic, but I can think of other works with a similarly antagonistic posture — though none quite this agressive. I’m thinking of Shade, Shrapnel, Violet, Bad Machine — all have some element where the player has to rethink her engagement with the parser.

    I mean, I guess even in Zork, the parser gets a bit snippy. I wonder why this is a recurring theme? Maybe we can look into it more when we get to IF in a couple of weeks.

  2. holyguava
    February 10, 2015 at 8:32 am

    All the text adventure games I play give the narrator a personality (like in Collocal cave adventure if you sing the narrator insults you). This one takes full advantage of its power. Kind of like the narrator from Stanley parable who purposefully controls the world around you for his “story” or to punish you. This game only hates you because it knows your human and this hypocritical AI thinks emotion is flawed. The real kicker being that it experiences emotions as well like pride and hatred. This programmer has a sorta sequel to this game called Viricide where this malevolent AI (i think he called himself Omdi or something) makes a cameo. Its funny how even as this game tries its hardest to defeat and insult you down you can still beat it. I wonder if this is supposed to show superiority in some form. Human superiority over machines or we just can handle our emotions better.

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