Androgynous Mel's Verdict: The Zork spoilers in this game made me want to wet my pants.
Androgynous Jamie's Verdict: It's about time someone punched Life On Beal Street square in the mouth!
My Verdict: Somebody please make it stop.
Game Type: Inform
Author Info: I don't even know this guy -- or girl's -- last name. UPDATE: Now I know. It's "Charla." And knowing is half the battle!
Other Games By This Author: None known
Download Link: ftp://ftp.ifarchive.org/if-archive/games/zcode/guestret.z5
Essentially I could tell you that this game is a knock-off of the 1999 IF Comp entry Life On Beal Street. Essentially, I could tell you that it sort of mocks said game by adding secretly androgynous characters to the Zork canon and then throwing Great Underground Empire references about. Essentially, it's just as great a waste of time as the game it good-naturedly attacks.
Ah. But that wouldn't describe the web of in-jokiness that A Walk On GUE Street alludes to.
It's no secret that Life On Beal Street is one of the worst games ever made. Its author knew this, but threw it in the competition anyway and for that you have to respect him. Sure -- his other game, Exhibition, was solid enough -- but still. Life On Beal Street is a game where you press "1" to advance or "2" to stop advancing. It is to interactive fiction what a home video of some kid beating his father's gonads with a wiffle bat is to high cinema. Minus the crotch-humor, natch. Perhaps I am so angry because when I was playing 'Beal Street I actually thought, "OK. This isn't great. And I hate not knowing the gender of the player character. But why rip the game? The author was genuinely trying something new and I don't want to be the guy who tries to destroy him."
But the kicker was that Ian Finley is a good programmer and author and it was perfectly okay for me (or anyone else) to shred Life On Beal Street. That's what it was there for.
I felt as if tricked by a classic parlor charlatan. (Especially since it clobbered my game in the final tally.)
So, that's the thing. Life On Beal Street has made me decide that every game I don't like that is entered in next year's competition will not get the benefit of the doubt and be skewered on this website. It has spawned a darker, grittier reviewer that does what he must to survive a world that is no longer his own.
A Walk On GUE Street, you say? I would have had no problem with it, if it were entered last year instead. Because going in we knew it was not to be taken seriously. It's fun enough, for what it is. If this is Chris' first game, then he or she adheres to my previous edict that calls for making your first game (if it must be short) a memorable one nevertheless. The addition of the gender-inquestioned GUEvian lover is a nice, if expected, touch. There were no technical problems with the game.
So while I certainly don't wish for the moments I spent with 'GUE Street back, hopefully no-one will ever do a "1"-to- continue- 2"- to-stop game. Ever again.
Simple Rating: 4.4 / 10
Story: NA (um.....)
Writing: 6.2 / 10
Playability: 2.5 / 10
Puzzle Quality: NA
Parser Responsiveness: NA
Slurdge sprach the following on March 7th, 2001: I never even heard of this game, but I believe its creator was one of the founders and ex-Editor-in-Chief of Next Generation magazine, which was (and maybe is?) one of the greatest gaming mags ever. That's my $0.02
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