Hall of Fame: Inform Games



by Philip Joseph

"In a heroic effort to free the ants from control of your sister and her ant farm, you landed yourself 3 weeks of being grounded. In the basement. As a 7-year old, being grounded is starting to become a norm with you. And to be extra mean, mom also took away your Gameboy. And unfortunately, you smell the wonderful aroma of your mom's sweet homemade cookies. Locked in the basement, you have access to neither the Gameboy nor the cookies.

Sitting there, sulking in your grounded state, you overhear your mom say she is going to the market and will be back in 15 mintues. What you do for the next 15 minutes is up to you. Use your time wisely, for your mom will be returning shortly."

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The story:

            The premise of this game was that you are a young child who has been grounded and locked in the basement without any of your toys.  You overhear your mother saying that she will be gone for fifteen minutes, so you know that you have some time free if only you could get out of the basement.


            I really liked the story.  When I first read the intro I thought it might turn out to be a little boring, but there was a lot of things to explore put into the game and it was fairly easy to understand.  I especially liked that a timer had been implemented and that it was displayed as minutes.  I think the warnings about how much time you had left were sufficient to let the player assume how long a minute was and what amount of time they would need to get to where they needed to go.  The game had very good descriptions of the rooms and it was easy in most cases to figure out what was able to be taken.  I also liked how you would use things that you chose to take in one room in another room.  This was good since the player does not have any idea that they would need the thing, until they are already past that room, making the game challenging.  I liked how you did not really have to talk to the NPCís to get the job done.  This helped save the valuable time you needed to get the tasks accomplished and was intuitive.  An example of this is the sister and the diary.  You just had to show her that you had seen her diary and then she would promise not to tell Mom on you.  I also enjoyed the score since it made certain tasks such as getting the Gameboy and eating cookies seem more important.

            One thing that is not really a bad thing is that there seemed to be too many rooms for you to go to in the allotted time.  The reason I do not see this as bad is that it encourages replaying and is realistic since you are on a short timetable.  The only other thing that I noticed that was actually just a mistake was that some of the directions for the room descriptions were wrong or not there.  I believe it was in the bedroom there were two things that said they were to the north when one was actually to the south.  I also think one of the closets didnít tell you which way to go out.


            Overall, this game was very, very well done.  It was extremely easy to get into and understand.  The world allowed for many things to be done, but limited the amount you could do per game.  The timer was very well implemented and it was, in general, a good game playing experience.  Good job.  5/5 stars.



            In this game you are a 7-year old boy who has been grounded by his parents and locked in the basement. But your mother has left so you have a limited time to sneak out and have some fun. This is basically a small puzzle solving and exploring game. You have to search around and find the right items to open certain doors or get past certain obstacles, such as locked doors, your brother, sister, and dog. The setting of the game is your house, where you start off locked in the basement. Two of your main goals are to find your gameboy and eat cookies, all while avoiding your mom finding you.

            The best part about this game was the puzzle solving and exploring during the time limit. I had to play the game several times before I managed to do everything in the time limit. There isnít much story aside from the plot and the fact that all of your family seems to hate you. And there isnít much NPC dialogue in the story, but the rest of the game is quite good. I found that the grammar was very intuitive and broad; I didnít have to go on a verb or noun search to do what I wanted. Descriptions of rooms made it very clear where I could and couldnít go and in what directions. I didnít have to waste time running into walls. I liked the way that you had several different paths you could to do things, and that you had several small goals. Instead of one game objective, the objective in this game was basically to have fun. You could do that in several ways and earn points based on what you did, all as long as you got back downstairs in time. It might of have nicer to have a longer time limit in the game, 60 turns is pretty short, but it encouraged me to play the game over again. Also it would have been nice if certain actions or typos didnít waste turns, but again it only caused me to play it over again, so it all works out. I think there could have been room for more NPC conversation though, the sister, brother, and even mother could have provided for interesting conversations. The one thing I never managed to figure out in the time limit was how to get the cookies; perhaps this could have been a bit clearer.

            Overall this was a very good game though. It had a good setting with interesting puzzles, and plenty of objects and people to interact with. Its relatively small size made it easy to get immersed in the game. I really liked the concept of this game too, it was very creative, a change of pace from most types of games. In the future, a little longer game with more NPC conversation would be nice. But I would defiantly recommend repeated play of this game until you win it. I give it 4 stars.


Last edited 4/28/03 by RZ
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