Stupid Kittens, by Pollyanna Huffington

First, imagine you're me.

Okay, wait- put the gun down. Imagine you're me, but without all the "issues" which make you wake up in the middle of the night with your fist clenched so tightly that feathers are coming out the pillow through the fine weave of the pillowcase. And without the lingering exasperation with the nature of life itself, that we all live, doing our best to survive in an empty universe filled with random laws, starting nowhere, ending nowhere, and knowing that you'll be dead shortly and none of it means a goddamn thing. Also, forget that you work in a place where 80% of the women are whiplash-gorgeous, to the point where not only can't you get any work done, because you sit in a cubicle right next to where they all walk by, but it fills you with such a grotesque, unbearable mix of hornitude, self-hatred and frustration that it's all you can do to keep yourself from climbing under your desk, pulling a low-hanging monitor cord and dropping a 19-incher on your head. (*)

While you're at it, forget that time when you were twelve, and on a field trip with your classmates, one of whom was Dana Booth, who you loved dearly, even though your parents kept insisting that you didn't know what love was. And during the field trip, one of the tasks was to climb rocks, and you stood on top of the rocks as she was climbing up, and you said something stupid like, "C'mon, keep going, I'm here for you!" and one of your dopey classmates said, "Ha ha, Ben likes Dana," and then you blew it off and started acting tough and basically ruining any sort of connection you had with her. Make sure you forget that.

You might also wish to forget that you've got tits way too big for a man, and won't even go down to the pool in your own $1200/month luxury apartment because you're afraid people will laugh at you, you pathetic piece of hippo turd.

And forget you're writing this.

But imagine you're me.

You've been out of the IF scene for months, partly due to your undeniable laziness, but partly because you were just getting fed up with more and more people championing the cause, and less and less people doing anything about it. raif and rgif are more active than ever, but every time you check the "incoming" folder on gmd, all you see is the next version of Hugo, and "Inhumane" translated to German.

But then IFComp2000 comes out, and you decide then to give it all another chance. A chance that maybe your ranting and raving has done some good, even if nobody ever heard it. That maybe people decided to quit making "This is me learning TADS" games, and do something creative and inspiring. That this will be the year it all turns around. You download the many, many megabytes of game data (Thanks, Robb) and get yourself all set up with a bottle of wine and a pizza, and just fire one of them puppies up at random. The one you pick is a cute-sounding little zcode number called "kitty.z5".

And these are the first words you see:

Hello my name is Karen I am a girl. I have a kitten, who's name is Fuzzle. He is bad. And fat. Do a trick Fuzzles. He doesn't do the trick he sits in his basket. An sometimes he poops. On the basket. Or licks his, butt. He is stupid. Do a trick! Nope he doesn't do it.

Son of a fuck.

Now if you're really imagining you're me, you immediately typed "QUIT" and picked another game. But that just shows you how bad you are at imagining you're me. You think I'm gonna give up on a game just because it starts with a bunch of grammatically butchered stupid bullcrap? Ridiculous. I vowed to play it for at least two minutes.

The first scene consists of you, as Fuzzles, sitting in Karen's basket. Karen then throws a grenade at you.

This is, without question, the most normal, realistic, cerebrally recognizable moment in the game.

From there, it takes off into a shifting, kaleidoscopic world of what one would have to assume are drug-induced vignettes, as Fuzzles travels through scene after scene of numbingly surrealistic imagery and characters. There are puzzles in there, I think, but it's kind of hard to tell there's a puzzle going on when you're just staring at your screen with a bewildered little half-grin on your face, your eyebrows curled up in confusion, drool dripping sloppily upon your keyboard...

Let me put it this way. One of the endings of the game consists of real, honest-to-goodness Inform library errors. Intentionally.

Aw, hell yeah.

Add to this the absolute funniest "HELP" system I've ever seen, and what you have on your hands is a pretty nifty little IF toy. I wouldn't want them all to be like this, but I'm glad this one's like this.


(*) Note to self, this could be a good IF puzzle one day.


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