Narcolepsy / Adam Cadre (2003)

Jon Stewart Doing Craig Kilborn's Five Question's Verdict:
... Hey, this whole red and blue text thing isn't my bit, you know.
Jack Black in High Fidelity's Verdict:
He picked up right where your precious I-0 left off, and you're sitting here complaining about no more games like I-0. I can't believe you haven't played this game. That's insane.
My Verdict:
Seriously, I'm not sure if I should be filling out these boxes, subscribing to a format that the other guy brought in, whom I haven't heard from in four years. I'm not sure if I can verdict-up something quick and dirty to fit in the box.

Game Information

Game Type:
Glulx text adventure with a custom layout for the game's text and then another thought bubble to the right that lists conversational choices and exits.
Author Info:

Adam's website is right here:

Download Link:

Adam's website

Baf's Guide

This website, as all things abandoned, now exists only to mock and humiliate me with each passing day. I'm not 100% certain if dropping my biased reviews of text games here is a particularly worthwhile endeavor. Checking the logs, the last time I contributed an original review of a text game to this place it was October of 2001. It's been almost as long since I put a review of any kind of game here. This is due to the following reasons, and I am absolutely going somewhere with this.

1) When I started making my own IF I put "playing IF" up against "making IF." Strangely, "browsing and posting in forums" was never pit against "making IF." So it was perfectly okay to come home from a long day of optimizing the servlet, or whatever it is we do, and spend an hour crafting long paragraphs on how Reggie Bush is playing just fine, but if I sat down and finished The Pawn, well, that was a block of time I've committed to and would never get back.

2) I became friends with, or at least very fond of, a lot of people making the games I'd be playing. I put on an interactive fiction presentation with Paul O'Brian this year -- am I going to fire up L.A.S.H. and say, "I hate robots and animals - ZERO STARS!! NEXT!"? Of course not. Not only because I don't, but also because, unlike endless phalanx of droids that have joined the Internet since I last reviewed a text game, I don't have that soulless two-faced streak in me. And no, I am not saying everyone with Asperger's is like that, just that everyone who contributes to Wikipedia is like that.

3) I'm actually still worked up about #1. Okay, number three is because Bryan disappeared and Ben either lost his muse or was discouraged by my previously outlined issues. I felt most motivated to go review a text game right after Bryan or Ben did.

What I'm getting at is - this is nothing more than one guy trying to tell you why he had a good time playing Narcolepsy. I personally believe that feedback is the best thing you can give an author. so let's get to it. Now, god dammit!

Narcolepsy is a big thrill for people who loved the hell out of I-0. Assuming I didn't blow away the td/tr tables up top to fit more ad boxes yelling at you to buy Malinche games, and I think we can assume that, I stand by what it says up there: the game really did remind me of "Barry's" line in the movie High Fidelity when he was talking about a band that I had never heard of. I played through the first hour of I-0 at home, went to work the next day thinking about the little gem, the tiny little gemlet I grabbed from the net the entire time, came home, played for another ten minutes and saw that it was over. I didn't have my mouth agape in dumbass surprise, but if you were cartooning my reaction to I-0 being over so soon, you would have drawn it that way. Cadre went on to make other games that text games fans really enjoy, except of course for those that post on the IF Ratings site. They did different things, which brilliantly stopped him from getting pigeonholed into a genre or style, but the entire time I personally wanted another I-0. I have entitlement issues, I guess. But I-0 was so much fun I got hung up on looking for another of it.

And then, do you know what he did? He delivered Narcolepsy in exactly the same way. "How can the same thing happen to the same man twice?" is a quote from Annoyotron II, which means it's possibly taken originally from an episode of Married with Children. But the same thing happened to me: I had been playing Narcolepsy at the start of a winter vacation, checking into the Mud the two times I got stuck, getting out of the hellhole that is Chud City, impressing Esperanto-speaking foreign chicks, just generally being the unlikeliest action hero of them all...

Then it was over.

I'm going to personally blame all the other video games I find myself playing, that go on for ever and have the unmitigated, infuriating audacity to start off with a shitty level or otherwise waste people's (well, let's not get crazy, I'm not gunning for a Pulitzer here -- my) time. I knew that Photopia would be done in a couple hours, at most, because it was a comp game. But otherwise, my two favorite Cadre games reached that perfect spot where I was just ready to roll up my sleeves and get down to business, only it ended sooner than I anticipated.

I haven't even mentioned why this is remarkable! Narcolepsy being too short is quite amazing, because I wanted to punch our protagonist, Eugene Oregon, in the face to begin with. There was just something about him that rubbed me the wrong way, at first, and I don't know what it was. (I mean the Internet version of "punch in the face." Not literally or anything. I am a man of peace and not just during Christmastime.) Narcolepsy is written in the first person and I love that. I wish more IF games would do it. Narcolepsy does not really support the "verbose" command, and in fact reduced the descriptions of rooms to little more than two or three words when you >look. I liked Eugene for speeding things along, though it's not something I'd recommend for other text games. These things were not enough to win my affection with Mr. Oregon, though.

No, what was going on with Eugene is that he made me laugh a few times. This has a kind of psychological effect on me that I have only recently noticed. My girlfriend, Dayna, believes that I will warm up to people who might otherwise be losers, fuckups and methheads if they can make me laugh. Laugh with, not at, I should state. I take the high ground and say that I simply don't judge people, but man, here is a text book example of me popping 180 degrees on a character because of some of his funny descriptions and one-liners. If I were a highly experienced reviewer of new media and also not Roger Ebert, who hates video games and Japanese people, I'd blather on about how Narcolepsy revealed something personal about myself in the playing, and applaud it thusly. Ain't a whole lot of games that do that these days. The thought of Eugene grinding against a mannequin dance partner in the only place that arcade dance games can technologically go, man, that just cracks me up. I don't care that he's essentially a shiftless transient that falls asleep too often. I'm looking at the list of text games I've put in Rainlender and just hoping that one of them will make me chuckle half as much as this one did. If someone can tell me that Leon Trotsky is comically referenced, even just in the readme, I'm there.

There were some things I didn't like, and these things mainly had to do with technical issues and the interface. When I first started playing I got a little too quick with the keyboard during the e-mail section and I couldn't find a way to scrollback. Perhaps there was a way to scroll back, I just really didn't want to log onto the ifMud and hit up the Narcolepsy channel with such a question. I figured I had three chances to ask a question or request a hint before people either started >toading me, chipping in to have me >toaded, or putting the channel on mute and I didn't want to spend my currency of goodwill so soon. The thought bubble... worked! I'd say "in my opinion," but Jesus, nobody else speaks that way when it comes to text game GUIs and if this site became any more marginalized it would start shedding atoms. In fact, let's hit it up raif-style:

The thought bubble worked. You don't think so? FUCK YOU. I liked having my motherfucking directions listed nicely and neatly.

Having the game be transparent between the thought bubble and main window was cool. I'm sorry, did any of you shivering lumps have some kind of fucking issue with it? You make me sick. None of you deserve your degrees.

The conversation system ("say 1") was nice for THIS game, but none of you start getting ideas about putting it in your own worthless endeavors. I liked it in this game but honestly wouldn't want them all to be this way. I will now drone endlessly on about what I don't like in Galatea.

...I think that's just about ready for the newsgroup! I can't stand the lack of an >exits command in some of my games; it honestly drives me crazy and I'll probably re-release a couple of them at some point to simply give them this functionality. So being able to see where I could go at all time was great. I was getting a Level 9 ... er ... feeling? (We'll go with feeling.) being able to simply type "go to nightlife" and so forth and having it just work. The only time I stumbled with it was when I was retracing my steps to get the rod, and since I missed it the first time when it was clearly presented, perhaps I am not the best person to comment on where the >go to command did and did not work best. In fact, I don't believe I typed in a compass direction the entire time I played. I mean, obviously, I tried "look south of Rainbow's collarbone" but that's only because I have been ingrained to ask IF characters about their breasts and leave no stone unturned in doing so. Excellent.

I did only make it through one play through. I don't see why I wouldn't hit it up again for a second time because, speaking of hitting something up, I never met Eugene's sister. In fact, Narcolepsy told me that if I wanted to see different paths I should try not making my first contact with the outside world that of electronic mail. The game said it in a particularly friendly way, which I guess is fitting: if I looked down my nose at Eugene any harder at the beginning of the game my cross-eyed leer would have the top banner reading NARPSY. It's just that I've played the first five minutes of like every interesting piece of IF released in the last five years and I have some making up to do. If Narcolepsy is any indication, I'm in for a treat.

Reader Comments:

Add Your Comments:

Your Name or Handle

Your Comments:

Reviews From Trotting Krips