Annoyotron / Ben Parrish (1999)

Sejin Electronics' Verdict:
Keep playing this game America. The faster you wear out your keyboard, the greater your pathetic nation of couch potatoes buckles to our chilling grasp of horror.
TV's Jerry Lewis' Verdict:
Dammit, this game is annoying.
My Verdict:
This is experimental IF which seeks to illicit a different emotional response out of its player than virtually every other single piece of entertainment software since Al Gore invented the internet and the computer game in the late sixties.

Game Information

Game Type:
Author Info:
Ben Parrish is probably the funniest guy on the internet. Except for the "Gaybot" of course, but I'm not entirely convinced that the Gaybot isn't him. Actually, I'm kidding about the Gaybot. The first part, I mean. He is the author of Apartment F209 and this game's sequel, Aggravatron: Annoyotron II. He also achieved a level of fame and fortune with the internet Pong Faq.
Download Link:

Annoyotron proudly announces itself the most annoying game of all time. While I'm sure a few of the Eidos boys that worked on Crimewave for the Sega Saturn would take serious issue with that statement, I don't see them really winning an argument on the subject.

: "I say, old chap! I've certainly heard the resounding scuttlebutt and it appears to me, mate, that there isn't a bleedin' chance in hell that you're more annoying than me."

Annoyotron: "I refuse to have this discussion with you. The Annoyomatic 2000 has been designed by one of the finest literary minds of our generation. At no point is stellar, remotely approachable gameplay attempted. I want nothing more than to see your blood boil in a thick, gaseous crimson cloud."

Crimewave: "Arbitrary bluster! Me mates have ensured that the instant a player buys the game and picks up his gamepad he will -- "

Annoyotron: "Ah, yes. Therein lies the crux of my argument. At any reputable software dealer a youngster is able to get back thy purchase price. He is able to manipulate you with a gamepad. I offer no such 'money-back guarantee.' All time invested within me is forever lost. I allow no easily mastered input control."

Crimewave: "Alas! We have players traveling in blind tunnels within which they cannot see!"

Annoyotron: "Bah! I have my players traveling down the carpal tunnel!"

And so on. Inevitably, representatives from Toonstruck, The Hive, Out Of This World, and Cyberia would attempt to stake their claim to extreme irritation. All are destined to fail. The only way Annoyotron could possibly get on your tits more than it does would be if it incorporated the hunger code from Ultima VII.

It is, however, absolutely essential that we understand the deeper level that Annoyotron frustrates us on.

The thing is, the more you are familiar with the Annoyomatic 2000, the more research and digging you do, the more you discern that its author is a seriously talented writer. Ben Parrish is not content in asking his player to repeatedly engage in tedium to advance the game's plot, nay, the entire time he teases you with his singular wit and imagination. The response generated by this ware's player  is not necessarily "this fucking sucks!" but, "this seems to really suck, but Il guarantee you that I'll get some great Parrish witticisms if I simply keep playing." When the player understands that the game is smug about its lack of Parrish-specific content, he or she is rightfully pissed. It is similar to attending a baseball game only to find that Babe Ruth will not be pitching or hitting -- he'll be a part of the grounds crew. Until reaching the point that you realize the entire experiment is Parrish-laden content, you are not in on the joke. It is possible, then, to understand that the author would have failed
implementing his vision had he sprinkled his unique, entertaining anecdotes throughout gameplay.

Annoyotron breaks new ground as it is one of a virtual handful of games that do not seek, ultimately, to be entertainment. The effect that most games wish to bring forth from their audience is one of "player fun." It is almost law. A game designed to stimulate its player in a different way is rare, yes -- but still, most of those games attempt to incorporate a good time within their processes.

Nintendo's Pokemon, for instance, attempts to get its purchaser to actually care about the monsters he or she is developing. When successful, it initiates a parental bond. It cannot be said that the process of doing so is not enjoyable, however. (Unless, of course, you've got a tendency towards choking on your own tongue when the li'l guys' cartoon is on.) 

Similarly, Softporn and its ilk succeed when it has brought its greasy chud typing the commands to climax. Although Softporn simply has less gameplay than Pokemon, it nevertheless must confess allegiance to at least some video game cliches. The player is still "role-playing" and could conceivable enjoy the "trapping" of the ware's female populace -- no matter how poorly implemented.

Annoyotron offers no such escapes, no such virtue. It is fundamentally impossible to have a good time playing Annoyotron. Unless one is somehow able to force another soul into experiencing it with the promise that a hilarious endgame awaits. Even then, a perverse pleasure in wasting another human being's time is really more responsible for the following glee than the Annoyomatic.

Few games have balls brass enough to challenge our perceptions on what computer games can be. Annoyotron chooses a different path, snickering at all other modern entertainment software with a smarmy, crooked grin. Like a prank you are not in on, you will not appreciate this masterpiece until it has made you its dirty diaper. It serves to give us pause and consider the trappings we fall in within this genre and allow us to speak definitively of what software designed to entertain should not be. Brilliant.

Simple Rating

0 / 10

0 / 10

0 / 10

Puzzle Difficulty
0 / 10

Parser Responsiveness
1 / 10

Irritation Factor
10 / 10

Reader Comments:

Ben's Mom
August of 1999

Oh oh, Ben is going to LOVE this. He is a talented little bastard, isn't he?

F209 Cat
August 23rd, 1999

I do not feel it's appropriate for the game designer's mother to get on here and blindly promote her son.  Those in this community have a hard enough time asserting their manliness without their mothers getting involved.

I demand that this website be taken down immediately, and never spoken of again.

And who would write a fucking game without pictures, anyway?

Tubby Tub
September 17th, 1999

help me how do i get past the locked door? i want to see the rest of this game!!!

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