On The Farm by Lenny Pitts(1999)

The Little Evil, Evil Guy On My Shoulder's Verdict: Excuse me while I go smash my head against the nearest wall a few hundred times. Thank you.

The Little Nice, Handsome Guy On My Shoulder's Verdict: Eh? What?

My Verdict:This game is okay.

The Review

I approve of Lenny Pitts' grand experiment. We could definitely use some more pastoral interactive fiction. In fact, come to think of it, I can think of only a relatively small number of games which take place in a rural setting. This is clearly a terrible problem which the IF community badly needs to rectify. Lenny Pitts has taken the first step by writing a game about a boy visiting his grandparents on their farm. A bit of a pity that the game itself is a bit boring. Indeed, the only criticism I have to make about this game is just that: it's boring. Didn't inspire anything but sluggishness from me. The reason this game is boring has little to do with the setting, but a lot to do with the meandering plot and dull puzzles. See, my real problem with this game is that I didn't have much of a reason to play it for any extended period of time other than for to write up this review. It didn't compel me or absorb me in any way. It felt more like performing a chore than playing a game. In other words, it bored the living freaking daylights out of me, more so than any other game I've played so far in the comp. Aren't computer games supposed to be fun, or if not that at least compelling in some other sort of way?

That said, I have no other complaints to make about the game. There aren't any nasty typos or bugs, the graphics don't look that great but they're okay, the writing is solid enough if uninspired, the puzzles are challenging, and Grandma & Grandpa are pretty cool. Honestly, I like the way the game opens. I enjoy interacting with Grandma & Grandpa. They're nice folks. It's just that after the opening all the life goes out of this game. Completely. It's like someone stuck a needle up this game's balloon, then threw the needle in a haystack and asked you, the player, to waste your time looking for it. Oh, well. The farm is basically abandoned since Granny and Gramps are too old to work it, so there aren't farm animals to interact with. However, there are a couple of machines, a barn, and a windmill worth investigating, and Grandma also wants you to gather some water and vegetables so she can make dinner. Exciting, huh? Doesn't much get me going. And the dramatic find of the diary which is the center point of the game doesn't seem all too dramatic to me either, unfortunately. Honestly, I'm really, really sorry to write such a mediocre review of this game, but what do you expect me to do? I find it all very boring and I'm not feeling clever at all tonight, plus Lenny Pitts seems like a nice guy so I don't want to rag on him. This game is an entirely inoffensive, humble entry in the comp, and it's also completely unexceptional and uninspiring. That's all.

The parser is good, very responsive and nurturing. I kiss it on the cheek and I say, "Thank you, my dear. You gave me many moments of pleasure during an otherwise dull virtual experience."

Simple Rating:5/10

Complicated Rating: 26/50

Story: 6/10

Writing: 5/10

Playability: 5/10

Puzzle Quality: 4/10

Parser Responsiveness: 6/10

Oh yeah, it gets a ten out of ten for sheer boredom, but I'm not adding a special rating for that.

Reader Remarks

Lurd sprach the following on February 26th, 2000:

Wooohoo!!! 10 out of 10 for boredom, but where was the xyzzy nomination for Most Boring Use of Medium? It would have been an honor just to be nominated.
notes to self: recompile game with build 182 source that included the talking horse, Daisy Duke, and the mechanical bull (man, I knew I shouldn't have listened to those beta testers). Oh, also delete source code for the sequel - At The Home - where you have to mend a fight caused by grandpa hitting on the nurses.

Great site guys, keep up the good work.

Roody Yogurt sprach the following on March 3d, 2000:

Personally, this was one of my favorite games from the last comp. I think your enjoyment depends on what kind of player you are. I, for one, talked to Grandma and Grandpa right away and got an idea of what the plot was, but I can see that if you missed that, there'd be a lot of aimless wandering. I thought the stories to be discovered were interesting (although I would've liked to see them play a larger role in the game's resolution). I thought that while some of the puzzles were kind of unclued but generally pretty fair. Overall, I thought On The Farm was a nice, fleshed-out game.

Bryan sprach the following on March 5th, 2000:

Man, I'm getting burnt over here. I've acknowledged already that my review was entirely subjective, but it would be nice if somebody agreed with me. Anyway, "On The Farm" bored me but it finished quite high in the comp(seventh!), so I just must be an idiot. Shyeah.

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