Shift-F7's Verdict: Come on, m'man... I'm sitting right here, waiting for action...
The English Language's Verdict: Andre, I loooooove how you abuse me. Make me squeal like a little pig!
My Verdict: I don't know what you're looking for -- you haven't found it yet and that's for sure.
Game Type: AGT
Author Info: Andre M. Boyle was, in 1993, apparently a young Irish lad who hatred for cops made it into his video games.
Other Games By This Author: None known
Download Link: ftp://ftp.ifarchive.org/if-archive/games/agt/cardigan.zip
I get the feeling, playing Space Aliens Laughed At My Cardigan, that this is what it was like for people to play my 1999 Comp entry, Chicks Dig Jerks. Reason being is that Andre Boyle has created his own sort of vernacular and language in his game. I was surprised when people commented on how CDJ had a sort of "next-generation slang" -- the words and phrases used are pretty much how I communicate every day, so I didn't anticipate it even being an issue. 'Cardigan has that kind of atmosphere, however, in droves. When Boyle allows himself to describe scenes and characters with a sarcastic, pouting hate his game comes off incredibly well. Unfortunately, a host of parser problems keep this game from becoming a true classic.
The game's initial paragraph of prose is rather uninspiring. Essentially, space aliens saw you hanging about in your cardigan and vaporized it. It's original, definitely, but not really well-written. Are we to believe that it is no big deal that these creatures from another world have visited? I can accept that all these other-worldly beings did was blow away a kid's sweater. I can't accept that their very presence caused no real emotional reaction in the intro.
I became a fan of the game with the following line:
There is a overweight policeman standing here like a total and utter prune.
I love games that hate cops. I don't know why. Maybe it's because although at a deep psychological level I understand that the majority of them risk their lives every single day, all the contact I ever have with them is when I am given a hard time for going 65mph in a 50 zone. Ergo, much in the same way I enjoy first person shooters but would never open a crate, load a rocket launcher and shoot someone I enjoy text games that have a negative world-view of our boys in blue. Mostly, I'm a sick fuck but I digress. The hell is a prune? I have no idea what the author is talking about, but he painted the scene perfectly. 'Cardigan is full of funny juxtapositions of words that do not belong together, yet were meant for one another. It's like a Molly Ringwald movie minus the miserable acting, generally torturous plot and obligatory teenage whining.
The game has some problems, however. The parser is a bit crap. I haven't spent a lot of time playing AGT games, but I didn't like the stock responses for LOOKing at an item that didn't exist. I don't want to mess around with objects not in the game and, in my opinion, unimplemented objects (not scenery; I'm talking about referenced objects not programmed) should generate a "you can't see that thing" statement rather than "you see nothing special." The latter implies that I can mess around with it in other ways.
It's strange because 'Cardigan does have several other handy features. Instant help with F10, shortcut verbs using the other function keys (of seemingly arguable value, but if you are a slow typer, a great boon that probably many other games should have). The game apparently allows the user to change screen colors, although I could not get it working. Remarkable, Captain. A list of handy verbs is provided, as well as a LIST EXITS command.
Space Aliens Laughed At My Cardigan, essentially, is fractured as a game yet definitely saved by the extremely raw talent of its writer. I laughed while playing it, which almost never happens when I'm mucking about with a video game. The gameplay itself is really nothing new, however Boyle's descriptions and savage opinions make the game notable.
Simple Rating: 7.3 / 10
Story: 4.9 / 10 (the story is rather boring...)
Writing: 8.0 / 10 (but the writing very funny in parts, although riddled with spelling errors)
Playability: 7.7 / 10 (definitely helped by the F10 insta-hint key)
Puzzle Quality: 6.0 / 10
Parser Responsiveness: 2.5 / 10 (definitely the game's weakest bit)
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