IF Comp 2013: Reels (Tyler Zahnke)

Reels is a choice-plus-text-input-driven game with a minimal slice-of-life framing story. Review follows the break.

So the premise here is that you have some antique reel-to-reel recordings that for some reason you’ve never digitized but that are of high value to you. One day, an old archnemesis of yours steals them and leaves behind a note that you have to solve a bunch of questions in order to ever see the reels again. The questions all take integer answers, and they’re all solvable with a combination of math work and googling; they’re essentially a quiz.

The first question of this quiz is to determine what LOVE would be if construed as a number in base 36. And I could figure this out, but to be honest — maybe my dedication to the cause of IF reviewing just isn’t high enough — I could not be bothered. At this point I had zero investment in the game or story, and several of the other questions looked to be similarly fiddly questions, and I didn’t feel like spending even a small amount of my afternoon on a middle school math homework sheet. So I didn’t.

I have certainly done larger amounts of work in order to get through other games, but the thing about this particular “puzzle” is that it’s solvable entirely through elbow grease. There’s nothing to figure out per se — no discovery to the mental challenge; you just have to perform a bunch of multi-step mechanical tasks. This is essentially the same thing people hate about 15-puzzles, mazes, and towers of hanoi.

There is an option to decline this task, but if you take that option you lose the game and are told off because you’re bound to feel regretful and guilty. That is very sad, but my virtual protagonist will just have to live with it — and wonder why she didn’t shift all that stuff to mp3 a long time ago.

4 thoughts on “IF Comp 2013: Reels (Tyler Zahnke)”

  1. I (and at least one other judge) did figure out the first answer, only to discover that the game wouldn’t play in our browsers. So you saved yourself some time by just skipping it from the get-go.

  2. I found it didn’t work in any of my browsers (I have about six different ones, for my job), except for an older version of Internet Explorer. Now that I’ve gone through all that effort to get it to work, I’m off to write a little script to do their base conversions for me, because I need to know if the ending was worth my trouble

  3. I just tried the game, but entering the first answer and clicking on submit it won’t move on in any of my browsers. I’ve tried the latest Firefox, Safari and Google Chrome on my Mac. All have the same result. And frankly I can’t be bothered to try any more – and why should I. I’m probably going to rate the game, but this is not ideal.

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