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A View to a Home Reviews
Author: Anjan Chakrabati
Date: 2009
ADRIFT 4.0


Reviewed by Richard Otter

I did not get a very good feeling about this game when the ADRIFT download page proclaimed it is an "exploration of a 70 Room Home" and an "introductory adventure". Hmmmm.

Still I'm a seasoned adventurer and not easy to put off. I open the game and I'm presented with game objectives of "collect the gold, silver, and bronze medals and place them in the trophy case." Doesn't say why, whether they are lost or stolen or what happens when I find them. My feelings about this game do not get any better.

So onto the first location which simply says -

"You are standing in front of the entrance to your house."

Oh dear, I think it is going to be one of those games. What does the house look like? smell like? feel like? Have I been here before? Never? Am I happy, sad, afraid? Actually I'm bored, bored with this game already.

Right, onto the second location -

"Clean Aire
You have stepped beside a picnic table and gas grille. Also here is a shovel. You can move north and west.

x picnic table
Paint is peeling from the picnic table.

x grille
There is no gas in the canister."

Well, at least I can examining the items listed in the location description (even though it only contains two!).

A third location -

"There are a multitude of shoes on the floor and coats on their hangers. You search diligently and find nothing."

It is not getting any better. I progress -

"Utility Room
You are in the command center of the house. All the heating and cooling is handled here. You are especially fascinated by the automatic sprinkler system. You search the sprinkler system and your fascination quickly evaporates into futility. Nothing ineresting here."

So, every time I return to this location I'm going to be "fascinated by the sprinkler system" am I and search it? If the location has "Nothing ineresting here" [sic] then why is it in the game? At this point I stopped playing. The thought of 70 locations all like this hold absolutely no interest for me at all. The game appears to have no real plot other than locating some objects and putting them in another. The house has no logic in its layout, the locations are poorly implemented and randomly tacked together.

My advice to the author (or any author) is to "read" the "Adventure Creation Tips for Newcomers" on the ADRIFT forum - http://forum.adrift.co/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=5490#p66606.

Now, lets be honest usually everyone's first game is not very good. Like this one. So what should a new author do? Listen to advice on the forum, read the above and play some IF. Then come back with a winner.
 


Reviewed by Duncan Bowsman

Few may agree with me on this, but this game felt special to me.

A first-time (sadly non-returning) author's "my apartment" style game. Only that apartment is the 70 room home of an affluent, three child household, presumably the author's own. The author even explicitly writes of the PC, Lungu, that: "Lungu is Anjan." Now, this could either mean that Anjan Chakrabarti intends the work to be autobiographical, or that he has created a fictional home which he wishes he could inhabit through the persona of Lungu. Either is telling, and drew me into the headspace of the PC in a weird way that absolutely insisted I follow these threads to their end.

So, despite all the game's copious first time flaws, I had to explore it because I wanted to learn more about this man. His sister is contemplating suicide and he wishes to soothe her with religion. He's a Trekkie who plays ping pong and hates the hats that his father wears. He's fascinated by his house's sprinkler system, he believes in the power of meditation, but his father drinks (in moderation?) and so he also has some esteem for alcohol.

Yes, it could have been better executed (getting the gold medal is a puzzle so illogical I would expect no-one to get it without reading the source code), and it fails to really innovate on the my apartment genre, but it's a first game. There is in this game and its code an attempt to innovate, which is where I think most of us start. Besides, the autobiographical theme is what's strongest here-- the goal involving the medals and all the "game logic" involved is superfluous aside from serving as a wrapper for the exploration and discovery of the game's environment and its main character.

For it's flaws, I can't say I actually recommend it as a game, but I do think it's worth more than a cursory glance. After playing this game when it was released, I wrote to its author and let him know I posted his work on IFWiki and such, but never heard back from him. It's been a long time since this game's release, but let's hope that Anjan Chakrabarti isn't lost to us, that he might indeed return to ADRIFT, find the Forum, and hone his skills.


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