I thought I would look at some of the other interactive fiction stories that were on the website that “Shade” was on.  I found some really cool ones.  There was one where you were a sailor in an extraterrestrial planet.  It was hard because you had to type in sailing instructions which lost me quickly.  Anyway, I found this one called “Dreamhold” by Andrew Plotkin, which I found fascinating.

In the story, you find yourself in a cell, not sure of who you are or what you are doing.  Once out of the cell, you find that you are in a dreamhold, or a wizard’s house, and have the chance to explore the rooms of this quite unique house.  There are more than 60 rooms in all of the game.  It took me three days to complete but it was well worth my time.  The most central rooms that seem to be ones that you continually go back to are the Curtained Room, Crowded Study, and the Sitting Room.  In the Curtained Room, which sits off the Crowded Study, there is a mirror.  If you look into this mirror, you find that your face has no reflection.  After you find a mask in the Crowded Study, it becomes clear that your objective is to find all seven of the masks that lay around the house.  These masks help you to find out who you are if you try them on.  Each time you try them on, a piece of your memory comes back.  There are also smaller tasks you can complete that help you to get extra points.  Both of these objectives help you to know who you are but all of them have some sort of riddle to it.  The smaller tasks are designed to retrieve all of your various pieces of your wardrobe that also lay scattered around the house.  By the end of the game, you find that you are indeed the wizard and it is your house, after you put all seven of the masks in the mirror mentioned earlier.  Interestingly enough, there are also three different endings that you can reach depending on what you do after you find out that you are a wizard.  In the ending I reached, I found another mask and learned even more about myself, specifically my mistake of killing an entire army.

Instead of getting fed up and quitting in this game, there was an italicized portion that was strictly devoted to helping you with the game.  If you typed in too many commands trying to complete a task, the italicized words would ask if you wanted a helpful hint or would make a suggestion.  It may sound intrusive but, in my opinion, it helped rather than hurt.  It never took away from the story and helped me out on one or two of the riddles.  You can also type in “help hint.”  This action gave me a hint but also told me that it was reluctant to do so.  This game is a good starter game for those who want to play interactive fiction.  It helps beginners to learn to play and holds their interest by giving them help when they don’t get it right.  This game also has an expert mode for those who want to turn off the game’s “helpful hints.”  Andrew Plotkin made a game that caters to both the inexperienced and experienced.  Not only that, I really enjoyed the story, despite its vague nature.  It was complex and enticing, adding an air of mystery even at the end of the story.  His images were vivid which made me all the more interested in the story.  So, if you want a good interactive fiction game, this is it.

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