The Disaster Date

“Dinner with Andre” is an interactive fiction game created by Liza Daly in 2000. The game received recognition as a nominee for Best Puzzles for the 2000 XYZZY Awards and scored 18th place in the 6th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition in 2000. The game has it’s own personality of being quirky and cute and is essentially a romantic comedy.

The scene is set in a fine dining, candle-lit restaurant. You’re playing as a female on a date with a cheapskate gentleman. You are seated at a table with a white tablecloth, a bottle of wine, and a bread basket. You can sip the wine, but you cannot order food. The snobby waiter comes by and asks if you want anything else. Your date asks for the check, and you’re the one who’s paying for the meal. Don’t worry, you offered. As the waiter leaves to retrieve the check, your dates excuses himself from the restroom. It takes a while for your date and the waiter to come back. You try to stand up, but you are told to sit back down. How would it look if you left in the middle of your date? However, you get the waiter’s attention, and you are given the check. You open your purse and wallet and pull out your credit card. You pay the check with the credit card. The waiter leaves, eventually returns, only to chop your credit card in half. He leaves again, while you try to find a different way to pay. Your date is still in the restroom, so you can’t ask him. You open your purse again and take out your Motorola cell phone. You try to call your parents and the bank, but no luck there. You get sly and examine your date’s coat that he left behind. In the pocket is some cash and his Nokia phone. You take the cash. When you get your waiter in your line-of-sight, you can take the one roll from the basket and throw it at the waiter. You pay for the meal with the cash. Your date finally returns from the restroom and gets a call. He answers, but tells the caller he already has plans with you. You feel special until the waiter comes back with the change. He shows you the bills and your date realizes you stole his belongings. He becomes angry and calls his friend back to tell he/she they were right about you all along and that he will join he/she in the “hot tub” shortly. The game ends and you have to restart.

Throughout this game, I used helpful hints, especially when trying to get the waiter’s attention, figuring out how to pay after my credit card got declined, and getting my date to come out of the bathroom. It is useful to know that there is only one roll in the basket, so if you eat it, you have to start over. There is also a part of the game, where your date’s phone starts to ring and you can turn it off before he comes back to the table. How to pay without getting caught by date is the most challenging question to answer. Along the journey of solving the puzzle, you get to meet different waiters who are busy dealing with food critics, and there is even a part where you see your ex and have to dodge him. The game has a lot of props, but you really have no use for any of them. It’s pretty much just for looks. There’s also not much action from your date. The main concept is overcoming these repeated mishaps and paying for the meal.

Overall, this game is very detailed with descriptions of settings and each characters feels like someone you would meet if you were at a real restaurant. This may seem like a funny story or an episode from a soap opera, but let’s face it, I’m sure this happens to all of us.

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