"For A Change sings with an ee cummings-like lyricism... I was endlessly fascinated." -- Adam Cadre, author of Photopia and VaricellaFor A Change was my entry in the fifth annual interactive fiction competition. It placed second out of 37 entries, and finished first in the Ms Congeniality voting (in which the authors ranked the games).
"Wow. No, even 'wow' doesn't suffice. Call me an artsy, but I'm thoroughly enchanted by For A Change." -- Suzanne Britton, author of Worlds Apart
Winner, Best Writing, 1999 XYZZY Awards; also nominated for Best Individual Puzzle, Best Setting, and Best Game
This is version 1.02, the version I submitted to the competition; there will be a post-competition release with some little bug fixes at some point. You'll need a zcode interpreter to run the .z5 file. There are interpreters for every imaginable operating system. If you run under Windows, I recommend WinFrotz, or you can browse around at ftp://ftp.gmd.de/if-archive/infocom/interpreters/.
I did an email interview about For A Change for SPAG, the Society for the
Promotion of Adventure Games. It can be found in this issue.
Every once in a while, there's a little SpeedIF "contest" on ifMUD. A few constraints
are chosen by the moderator, and then everyone has an hour or two
to write a complete functional text adventure satifsying those
constraints. I find them a lot of fun because in real life I
usually take forever to tweak every last thing; it's nice to be
forced to just write as fast as possible.
These aren't great works of art, obviously, but if you're looking to kill ten minutes on a simple fun game, you could do worse.
Write a spy thriller in which the spy is attempting to stop a courier from delivering top-secret plans to his contact. The secret plans are hidden in a pair of hand-eeze gloves, or alternatively in the latest self-help book "Pee On This!" The meeting is to take place during the dead of winter in one of three places: a baseball field, a phone booth, on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. Extra points for using: snow angels, truckers, a secret decoder ring, a chalupa, hot chocolate.I think there were a few too many constraints this time; a lot of the game ended up being kind of similar.
Write a game where the PC is purple, at least to start with, for whatever reason. The subsequent tale must include a big white chef's hat, gravel, the triumphant return of somebody or something, and an evil fish (or any form of sealife.) Bonus points for including an irrelevant misquote about turkey sandwiches, a strong anti-drugs moral/message, a telegram and one thing Gunther [Schmidl, famously grouchy guy in the IF community] really hates.