Posted 8 January 2000 to rec.games.int-fiction
Welcome to the first review from the IF Review Conspiracy. I'm just one of the schmoes who signed up to do occasional reviews -- the credit for setting up this enterprise goes to Marnie Parker and Duncan Stevens. More information about the Conspiracy can be found at www.textfire.com/ifreview.html.
A Simple Theft: An interactive larceny
by Mark J. Musante
quick.gam, available from the archive (currently in incoming)
There are times when you want a meal. There are times when you want dessert. And there are times when you just feel like a light snack.
If there were a time when you wanted just a single potato chip, and if you lived in some Bizarro world where hunger was satisfied by playing IF, then you might reach for "A Simple Theft: An interactive larceny", by Mark J. Musante. This game isn't the huge perfectly unbroken potato chip that was nestled securely in the center of the bag to prevent it from being shattered, but it certainly isn't the strange green and brown chip hiding in the bottom of the bag, either. And that's about where that particular metaphor train runs out of steam.
A Simple Theft has the feel of being a prologue to a longer game. The whole thing can be solved in thirty turns or so, with puzzles Thomas Covenant could count on his left hand. There are a number of interesting references to the amusing mythology of the outside world, and to the character of Apaman, the nameless protagonist's wizard employer. My main thought while playing was that I wanted to retrieve the Magic Widget and get out of the castle, so I could start playing in the real world where all of these interesting people and gods might be lurking around. But no such luck.
I noticed a few bugs in the game, and a few other bits that seemed a little implausible. The writing was a bit sparse, but the liberal humor was effectively done. If the author ever decides to come out with "A Slightly More Complex Theft: An interactive grand larceny", I'd be happy to give it a try.
In a line:
"It's a fun little thirty minute game. What else did you have planned for the next half hour of your life?"
This article copyright © 2000, Dave Coleman