Ad Verbum

I have always been a fan of “interactive fiction”, an old (practically prehistoric nowadays, you might think, but you’d be surprised) genre of computer game, where you interact with the game through short commands like “go north” or “take sword” or “push blue button” or “give blue gem to frog”.  (I prefer the name “interactive fiction”, but these games are sometimes called “adventure games”, after Adventure, an early example of the genre.)

You can get to a bunch of them, most of which I haven’t played yet, through the “iFiction” link.

The game I stumbled on today, Ad Verbum by Nick Montfort, is a gem.

The premise is a spoof on the old cliche: you must collect all the “treasures” (read: “junk”) from a condemned mansion and put them in the “atrophy case”.  The twist?  Wordplay.  The specific words you use are as important as what they mean.  For example, in the western room of the initial *snicker* floor, only words beginning with w are recognized.  There’s an obvious wooden weapon you need to collect, but how to get it? “take weapon” and “get weapon” won’t work.  And once you have it, how will you get out of the room?  Not by typing “east”…  So much originality.

My personal favorite puzzle: disposing of the pile of feed.  But getting the sofa down the stairs is a close runner up.

It’s not a long game (I beat it in a sitting, and my lunchbreaks are short), but it’s brilliant.  Try it.

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