I-O by Adam Cadre(1995)

The Little Ugly Evil Guy On My Shoulder's Verdict : This is the best game of all time. It responds to all the dirty, perverted things you always dreamed of doing in an interactive fiction environment! Man, it rocks.

The Little Handsome Good Guy on My Shoulder's Verdict : A very good game, but very short.

My Verdict: This is a fine, if imperfect game that is a precursor of things to come.

The Review...

I'm about to praise a game that I feel is already, to a certain extent, overrated. There's one major, major problem about this game that prevents me from truly enjoying it: it's too short. Way too short - you'll have this game won in fifteen minutes easy. But despite its brevity, I feel that this game is paving the way for future interactive fiction. At the present time, it has become acceptable for authors to spend several months hard at work on a game of interactive fiction, meshing out code, writing out the story, fixing bugs. In rare cases, sometimes up to a year is spent on a single game. But this, I feel, is nothing compared to what we will be seeing in the years to come. Like the most dedicated and talented novelists and filmmakers, writers of interactive fiction will continue to push the limits of their medium. They'll want to make games that function in larger, more realistic environments - they'll want the games themselves to be larger, longer, and better. In short, eventually there will be a few text adventure games that took not months, but YEARS to make. These games of the future will include alternate endings, lots of scenes and characters that serve as "digressions" for the player that have no bearing on the true game plot, and just in general more complex and developed storylines. But this is still a long way off. People have got to convince themselves that their IF "artistry" is worth giving up a small portion of their lives for without hope of much commercial compensation. So where does I-O fit into this picture?

Well, it's like this: though a very short game, I-O can be won(played) several different ways. In each situation the protaganist is faced with, the game recognizes and accepts several different approaches. It's quite possible to play the game in the most perverted way imaginable. You can get naked. The game will recognize it, and there will be a reactive circumstance. You can solicit. You can masturbate. You can do all sorts of nasty things, you sick bastard. Of course, it's also quite possible to play the game in a completely "PG" rated way, too - it's completely up the player how he wants to play it. That's power, and I loves it.

The game puts you into the high heels of Tracy Valencia, a first year college student who turns eighteen tomorrow. You're going home for your birthday. Crap happens. Can you get home, defeating those villains and evil circumstances which will try to circumvent you? This is a very straightforward game. In fact, if you happen to be brand new to the realm of Interactive Fiction, I might well suggest you play this one just to get started! It is easy. There's no getting around that. It shouldn't take anybody more than twenty minutes to solve. But it's a rare sort of text adventure game in that it can draw the player back to play it again and again, to try new approaches and to see what happens. There is, after all, more than one way to play this game or any other game in fact. Three cheers to Adam Cadre for recognizing that!

Simple Rating: 8/10

Complicated Rating:

Story: 4/10(It's actually not that good.)

Writing: 8/10

Playability: 8/10

Puzzle Difficulty: 5/10

Parser Responsiveness: 10/10(This is I-O's greatest strength. Few games recognize so many different varied approaches and commands as this one does.)

Special Ratings For This Game

Replayability: 7/10

Complicated Rating: 42/50

Reader Remarks

Ice Cream Jonsey sprach the following on September 18th, 1999:

I just want to say that Tracy Valencia is my hero. I think it's 'cos I want to bang her.

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