One way out

My first reaction on opening the game folder for this one was, "What? Seriously? Seriously?" Because what we have is not the compiled Inform game, but the source code; and we're told we need to use Inform itself, not the interpreter, to play this.

Yeah. Seriously?

Seriously, in fact. It turns out that there are commented sections of the source code that do not appear in the game but, nevertheless, play a part in the experience. It is, in a way, IF within IF: there's the end result that we would play if we compiled the thing, and there is the story we piece together from reading between the lines of the source code.

It's a very clever idea, but I don't know if it really amounts to anything. I mean, the IF-IF is one thing, and the source code IF is another. The thing with the source code isn't, in fact, really interactive in any way that matters. It's more like static fiction built up around the structure of a game's source code. And the IF-IF, the game we'd get if we compiled ... well, it's no great shakes as a game.

This actual-game has use wandering a landscape named for different phobias, because apparently we are a very troubled individual, solving some simple puzzles, and eventually just ... ending it all. It's pretty introspective, but I don't think that introspection has a whole lot of impact. Room exits are unlisted (although Inform automatically generates a map you can use) and descriptions are nearly non-existant. I wonder if perhaps the author simply felt overly-restrained by their current level of expertise, and hit upon this idea to help work around their limitations. If so, then that's almost as clever as the idea itself.

As a breakfast, it's like a plain, watery congee: not the most flavourful, but it makes a little rice go a long way. Chrysanthemum tea to follow.