Ship of Whimsy

I know just the music for this: "The Water is Wide", with its fey sense of yearning for a farther shore. The game itself is a hodge-podge of fairy-tale imagery gathered on a ship, and our task is to get the ship going. The game is short: only a very few simple tasks are required before the ship is deemed ready to sail, and then we cast off ... but are left behind. (Or, at least, the author intends for us to be left behind. An amusing bug in the original release, the one I played, allowed one to board the ship even as it pulled away from the docks. One hopes that this has been fixed by now.) One could take this as a metaphor for the things of our youth moving on and leaving us behind (as opposed to the more usual other way around) but something in the author's tone makes me doubt that this was his intent.

There are some neat things in the imagery. The author has a very visual grasp of the environment and a good eye for effect. It comes through in the descriptions of the telescope and of the main "mast" -- that last being in fact a living tree stuck fast in the ship through fairy-tale logic -- and what happens when they are used. It's something that I think he would do well to develop and build on.

Meanwhile, the game itself and the story are not much to shout about. The tasks are all exceedingly simple. There is not much of a story to tell; in fact, there's really not much to suggest that being left behind is such a terrible or sorrowful fate for the protagonist. In fact, I get the impression that this is more of a "practice" game, something the author put together in order to learn the basics of Inform7. At least it wasn't an implementation of his apartment.

This is a crisp red apple and a hot cup of sweet, milky tea.