Mental Entertainment

In a future where spending time in virtual worlds is a common pastime, it is our job to assess certain users who've been flagged as possible VR addicts. We have three files on our desk (which is, ironically, in a virtual office because VR is cheaper than actual meatspace) and we've got to speak to these three individuals before sorting their files and going home.

There do not appear to be any consequences to how we assess these people. Whatever happens, we still go home and hope we've done the right thing. It seems to me that the real point of this work of IF is to showcase this future world with all its problems, many of which are projections of worrying trends today. For one of the people we're meant to assess, a software engineer who knows exactly what this is all about, that comes down to something of an essay about what's wrong with the world.

So we're basically here to see what these three people have to say about the state of the world we, today, might be building. The parser format asks us to explore in a more hands-on fashion than a hypertext format would, which I think makes us a little more involved in the discovery. Still, one likes to think that one's actions have meaning. I don't know if the worldbuilding here is telling us anything that we don't already know or fear. It could be taken as an author tract, but somehow I'm not annoyed. I think it might be because I found myself sympathising with the people I met, which goes a long way towards making a thing feel real.

One quibble I have is with the game's understanding of synonyms and objects. I've had to rephrase a command or two because the noun I chose wasn't understood by the parser: "Book", for instance, for any one of the books in the office; or "Barry" for Barry's file.

I think it's a small cup of free trade coffee and half a dozen doughnut holes -- Timbits to us Canadians. I see an attempt at social consciousness there, but we're not really doing a lot that's new with that mindfulness; at least, not yet.