The Untold Story

The Untold Story is an earnest puzzler ostensibly about retrieving five chess pieces that have been lost from the chess set we used to share with our late brother, for whom we are still in mourning. The "story" in the title refers to a book our brother was working on before he died.

When I say this is an earnest puzzler, I mean that it is earnest, perhaps a little too much so. Important objects and directions on how to use them are indicated with a very heavy hand: that is, the game will tell you explicitly that an object will be important and that you should pick it up, with the exact syntax for other puzzle-solving actions spelled out in italics where relevant. I can see this being suitable for a young audience just discovering IF for the first time, but for someone who's been around the medium for a while, it can grate a bit. I found that this heavy-handedness extended into the writing as well, particularly with regards to ourselves, our brother, and our relationship with him. And yet this doesn't feel like a story about coming to terms with our grief.

There's also the matter of our hero's faith. See, our hero likes to pray, and they've got a Bible bookmarked at John 3:16. I really wish authors wanting to reference the Bible would choose some passage other than John 3:16. It's overdone to the point where it feels as though it's the only passage some people know -- which in turn implies (whether it's true or not) a very shallow "planted on rocky soil" understanding of scripture. As for the praying, well, that's one instance where telling would be better than showing. Prayer, unless we're talking about a prescribed formula like the "Our Father", is a very personal, private thing, and repeating the actual words in this context feels a lot like walking around City Hall naked. And while I'm sure the regard of other people should never come between you and God, 1 Corinthians 8:9.

For breakfast, we are having a wedge of strong Cheddar, a hard-boiled egg, and some crusty bread. No salt. Mineral water. Some distinctive flavours, but no blending between them.