Stranded: Can You Escape the Beach?

Interactive Fiction can take many forms, from being the very simple Zork (though the gameplay is anything but simple) in terms of technological advancement to the text adventure I’m going to introduce you all to today:  Beached!  This version of the game is in its early stages, posted on the Interactive Fiction Database for feedback so minor bugs could be worked out, and, despite being short, the game is incredibly fun!  The creators of Beached!, Ewald Bal and Theodore Lim, have created the game to be a three part series, with this game taking place in the second part.  The first one is already out and fully test, for those that want to play a longer game (this one has a walkthrough to help you when you get stuck which is always helpful to have in critical thinking games).

Now on to the game itself.  As I stated, this one is a lot shorter than the first one, having to do fourteen major things, for fourteen points, to complete the game.  Trust me though, it takes some thinking to get all the things accomplished.  It took me about twenty minutes to get passed the first five points because I couldn’t figure out how to get the character to swim in the ocean.  Besides that though, the idea for the game, crashing your yacht into a coral reef and getting stranded because you were playing pirate by drinking rum while steering, is interesting and there is humor mixed in with the text to make you laugh at the character.

The screen of the game doesn’t take up the entire browser window but its unique design choice makes it fun to look at.  The creators of the game added a picture of an island cove to give the player an idea of where the character is stranded and it gives the game a unique feel from the blank white window of Zork.  Not only does it have the picture but it also has audio that plays waves crashing and sea gulls crying which really hits home the idea of being on a beach the creators are going for.  What makes this interactive fiction really helpful is that there isn’t anywhere to really go, in the beginning of the game, so there is only one area to be in and the text that describes the area stays there so you always know what is around you.  I found that very helpful when playing since, in every other text adventure I’ve played, I’ve always forgotten my surroundings and had to keep entering commands to remember.  Also the inventory is always displayed as well so you don’t have to input a command for that and the red text makes it clear what is description and what you’re inputting.  This game is unique in that it also incorporates hypertext into the gameplay, which are the gray words in the area description, and that makes it easier to play because you don’t have to keep inputting commands over and over to get descriptions of things; you just click the word instead and it makes the game less frustrating to play.

Since the game is so short and new, it doesn’t have a walkthrough but what it lacks in that it makes up in the creative help menu.  It looks like it was written on parchment paper which really adds to the stranded feeling the creators were trying to add to the story.

Overall, the game was great to play and pass the time with and the most creative interactive fiction I’ve ever seen.

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