Care to chat?

[SPOILER ALERT: This article contains some spoilers.]

There’s always something to be said about objects that allow human conversation, even interaction, without the extras that provide other important clues, such as facial and body movements. Like most other new technologies, a lot of What-If questions accompany their birth, even as they become obsolete, and many of these questions have remained unsolved and unanswered. Yet we play along, as the technology of “chatting”, for example, advances more and people become more isolated in turn.

Chatroom, TheJBurger’s second game, serves to illustrate one of these questions.

Chatroom game snapshot

Similar efforts have been seen elsewhere. Take, for example, Jon Ingold’s interactive fiction (IF) game Fail-Safe, where the player interacts with a dying alien. However, Chatroom goes one step further – it actually implements a simulated Internet chat, with all the quirky and not-so-quirky responses normally seen in a chatroom. Most of the responses were quite spot on, but given that it is a short game set on a post-apocalyptic world where everyone’s pretty much gone, I didn’t really expect a lot from it.

At times I did wonder whether it would have been beneficial to the game’s concept if it were implemented instead as an IF game. AGS’s parser isn’t really that bad, even with the author’s improvements, but I can bet it could have improved more (and better responses might have been added) if Chatroom had been made using either Inform or TADS.

[But then it probably wouldn’t have made the One Room One Week AGS competition, which the game was entered on. :)]

Like La Croix Pan (which was also reviewed here), Chatroom can be seen as “one of those AGS experiments,” except, of course, given its implementation time, La Croix Pan remains to be the author’s better work. All in all, I would still recommend playing Chatroom just for the sheer concept. That 10 minutes one this game will be well-spent.

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One thought on “Care to chat?

  1. Thanks for the review. I’m glad to know that more people are playing it outside of the OROW crowd. I think your comments are well justified, considering the simplicity of AGS’s parser, which is rudimentary at best.

    I have tinkered around with IF in the past, but my main goal–from my younger years–was always to create a graphical adventure. As I actually started making graphical adventures, I realized once again the power of the text parser. This subsequently sparked my desire to try interactive fiction again, but throw away all the IF-conformity of phrases like “Go North,” “Look at tree,” etc, but still keep the power of the parser. I thought about doing this in a conversation simulator, which is what you see in Chatroom.

    In retrospect, I think it may have worked better in IF, but I am so used to AGS by now and I still wanted some graphical capabilities in the game. Anyway, thanks for the review, and thanks for playing my game.

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