There are a lot of different hypertext games that are out there and for those that don’t know what hypertext is, it’s basically a way to tell a story by clicking on different links. There’s a competition held each year to vote for whose new hypertext game is the best. Since the competition has not opened yet for this year, I looked at last years entries to find one to play. The one I chose placed in fifth place and the title, 16 Ways to Kill a Vampire at McDonalds, threatened to be interesting. The author of this story, Abigail Corfman, has done numerous other hypertext games which have placed within the Interactive Fiction Competition as well so she knows how to craft a well done hypertext game.
The game opens up with a dark background with the links to click in yellow which makes it very easy to progress with the game and relevant background information as to the character that you’ll be playing as. The information is very basic but unlike the hypertexts we’ve played in class, there is a more concrete story line that determines the story line depending on the links you click, much like interactive fiction where instead of entering commands for the character, you click on links.
Once the character has entered into the McDonalds and identifies the other person in the building is a vampire, the background changes to blood red, signifying the challenge of the game: making sure the vampire doesn’t kill the cashier. You have a time limit of an hour, though that hour is not in real time and it can take five minutes to reach one of the sixteen different endings: to either get drive the vampire away from the McDonalds, kill the vampire, or be killed yourself. You know you’ve reached the end of the game play because the link you click on will say “The End” and from there you get to see how you did: if you reached one of the game endings the author has specified.
If you don’t reach one of the endings, the author has listed all of the ending choices and has included hints as to how to get them. Once you’ve completed all of the endings, there is a bonus ending that is unlocked and reachable from the hint screen.
While the game is very simple to play since you only have to click on links to figure out what you can do, the game is actually very challenging because some of the sixteen endings are easy to complete but others are more difficult to figure out. The hints provided give you an idea of what you have to do but some of the things you need to find or go to depend on the time limit you have left of your hour, which is provided and makes it easier to keep track of but having to continually click on the “wait” link to spend time can be boring. The game is very creative in its use of hypertexts because for one challenge you had to talk to a homeless lady and figure out the wrong words in the bible verse by clicking on the highlighted words until the correct one popped up. The text even faded into view at certain moments which added a creepy factor and some links you clicked on really pointed out that the point of view is from the character’s thoughts. The character herself is humorous and makes the game enjoyable to play through just to see how she reacts to the links clicked on.
To me, this was one of the funniest moments in the game and is found through one of the sixteen endings. I really had to think on what to do for this ending based on the information the hint gave me but I hope it highlights the humor the game has.
After getting all the endings and the secret one, I believe that this game was well crafted, I didn’t notice any glitches, and was an enjoyable experience.