Wednesday, 3 November 2021

IFComp 2021 review: Closure by Sarah Willson

In Sarah Willson's parser game Closure, teenaged Kira has snuck into the dorm room of her newly ex-boyfriend TJ (using her spare key) intent on nabbing a particular photo of the couple for future reminiscence purposes. As she commits this rummaging crime of the century, she texts her best friend, YOU, THE PLAYER, detailing her every move and asking what she should do next at each juncture. The result is a charming game of rummagey revelations, presented in one's browser with an excellent marriage of content and aesthetic framing, and which took me twenty-three minutes to complete.

closure cover image

I think it would be easy to oversell the game's presentation as the answer to the question of why it works. When Closure is played in a web browser, it certainly puts the player in the right frame of mind to see the speech-bubbled messages appear onscreen as messages do, but what's considerably more important is the dynamic flow of the prose and its accuracy as (pretty articulate, considering the situation!) text message writing. The divisions between successive messages indirectly convey the flow of thoughts in Kira's mind, and also lead the player to visualise the physical actions Kira might be taking between texts. The game can't mention all of her lurching about, lifting and dropping things, her gaze alighting frantically on this and that, her occasional standing back to consider the situation, these things that she must be doing, but I experienced them in a peculiarly vivid way for their absence.

I was actually playing Closure offline initially (I play almost any game offline if given the chance) and even in that situation where the messages didn't appear in bubbles, I already appreciated how well the game was presenting as a text messaging simulation. Prior to IFComp, I had read and responded to some of the author's presentation queries on It was only via the ABOUT command, which mentioned something like "CSS magic", that I realised perhaps the author had found a solution that was browser-based, and which caused me to check out what she had done with the game online. So I can confirm that Closure works just as well without any CSS assistance.

The game is well-implemented in terms of cleverly fobbing off many typical parser actions in context, or translating them into the game's context in cute ways. For instance:

>x me

i'm using that picture from new year's as your contact photo!! hahaha

Mechanically, it is a one-room game in which you need to search everything in the room to reconstruct the backstory as to why TJ broke up with Kira. This isn't a particularly difficult task, but the revelations are laid out well, with Kira realising things about both TJ and herself in the process and the player being compelled to keep digging.

The next paragraph is 100% spoiler:

From what's learned, it's clear neither character is a titan of complexity (au contraire), nor was their situation. This all suits a still-in-high-school relationship. From being on the outside of Kira's experience, I moved into it a bit, and could think things like, "Yeah, you should have tried to understand TJ's extensive sneaker collection a bit more if you really wanted this relationship, not just made fun of his extensive sneaker collection." Outwardly, this sounds superficial, but I can buy it. People have broken up over infinitely dumber things. I also don't know the nature/extent of the sneaker-teasing; maybe it wasn't actually so dumb an interaction in reality. Also, it wasn't only the sneaker-teasing; there's the liking-metal-music teasing. The conceit is that Kira is texting in harried fashion as she snoops a dorm room, so I can also accept the lack of details regarding these events within the context of the game. Can the game stand up without such details? I've argued here that it can, except that the final revelation of TJ's having run off to marry someone else felt weird and extreme. It's clearly not an impossibility, but it didn't feel like the right end for this game to me.

I think Closure presents its situation as a game about as well as anyone has ever presented this kind of thing in IF. The texting conceit, the thoughts of the responding character as modified by this mode, the prose used to convey it, the dynamics of the text itself and the thoughtfulness of how Kira responds to conventional parser instructions are all handled wonderfully. The only misstep for me was the final revelation.

Monday, 1 November 2021

IFComp 2021 review: AardVarK Versus the Hype by Truthcraze

(Update: On November 5 2021, author Truthcraze reworked and extended the ending of the game. You can read about that in his post at this link)

Disclosure 1: I was supposed to help beta test this game. Due to a bunch of bad timing of availability and communication, I didn't. Therefore, when and if I see any bugs in it that I could have staved off, I feel I can only flagellate myself.

Disclosure 2: The author, Truthcraze, had sneakily let it slip in advance (i.e. he told me directly) that this game was likely to appeal to fans of the film The Faculty (1998) amongst other things, and I am a fan of that film.

This game did appeal to me, and continues to do so. It took me 63 minutes and 29.4 seconds to complete.

AardVarK Versus the Hype (AVH) is an extremely funny parser adventure about a bunch of teens whose rock band, AardVarK, suddenly becomes very important for the project of life's continuance when a corporate/alien entity known as Hype starts flogging its soft drinks ("sodas" for the handful of Americans out there) to innocent high-schoolers. The brew's side-effects include mindless shillism and bleeding from the orifices.

The game is set in 1997, a time when popular culture was still dominated by the recent explosion of alternative music into it but before the internet had made any excursion onto the same turf; the game is blissfully free of the internet. If I was going to hazard a cultural thought of the kind I don't know that Truthcraze would approve of in the case of AVH, I'd suggest the simplicity of The Kids versus The Hype conflict is already a bit nostalgic for the eighties, a time when individuals-sticking-it-to-commercial-behemoths plots were easier to articulate. The film Reality Bites (1994) captured the zeitgeist of young Americans of the 1990s trying to retain their cred in a culture that was beginning to facilitate the commodification of everything.

Such drama is not what AVH is about. It's about the eternal comedic struggles of being a teenager (well, eternal since the 1940s or so, so not very eternal at all, actually) and about the nineties version of them in particular. The player gets to control all four members of the band AardVarK at different times with a SWITCH TO (PERSON) command. The switching isn't bound up with complex puzzles. It's essentially for narrative purposes. These teens are boys and girls, punks, goths, would-be frontpeople, singers and guitarists. The nineties wack is clearest in their dialogue stylings. There is a ton of multi-option dialogue in AVH wracked with a mixture of self-consciousness and excitement as the teens try to blurt out their explanations of weird shenanigans and corporate shills.

It's not so much what the characters want to say to each other that changes across options, only how they're going to say it. Bravado, hostility, coolness, honest dorkiness and cluelessness are some of the modes the player can choose amongst. Just reading all the different options, including the 75% not chosen, makes for a good chunk of the comedy. There's rarely any revisiting of unpicked dialogue paths because the story and conversations are too busy screaming forward for that.

The seat of the game is a wonderful repeating set piece joke involving the Gas'n'Stop convenience store, a location that has been thoroughly plundered and destroyed by the time all the main PCs have abused it. There are also jock-guarded parties, night-time trees to be climbed, cars that are rocking, and condom-purchasing jokes executed in good taste. Furthermore, AVH has some cool tricks of delivery up its sleeve. One is the way it will suddenly override the player's typed commands with replacement evil ones if the current PC gets possessed by The Hype. Another occurs in a situation where the PC's car turns over, at which point some of the printed text does the same thing. I don't remember seeing that joke in a parser game before.

AVH is a game that wants to help you finish it. It has graded HINTs you can ask for, but it's constantly prompting for free anyway in an amusingly harried voice. I think part of this stems from the fact that it's trying (successfully) to create a sense of lively action, and having players stand around examining everything is anti-action. The game would rather remind you of the next thing you're meant to be doing than let you gawp. There's also a decent amount of fourth-wall-breaking, and its version of the parser voice versus character voice dance is a cute one. I hit some bugginess across the game (remember paragraph one: I am now hitting myself with a stick) but the only thing that actually tripped me up was a guess-the-verb moment which was cleared up by the HINTs.

I admit I'd have liked some more reinforcement of differentiation amongst the teens identities across the game, what with all the SWITCHing amongst them that goes on, and the victory scene felt rushed (Update: On November 5 2021, author Truthcraze reworked and extended the ending of the game. You can read about that in his post at this link) but these aren't major complaints for a story this funny and engaging. I laughed aloud a lot, admired the many forms of comedy wielded by the writing and loved the Gas'n'Stop situation.

Friday, 15 October 2021

IFComp 2021 review - The House on Highfield Lane by Andy Joel

The House on Highfield Lane or The House... on Highfield Lane if you believe the punctuation on the cover image – and which in any case I shall now on refer to as House – bills itself as 'horror without the horror'. I would probably bill it as a mystery, fantasy and sci-fi parser adventure, which ironically covers all the major genres minus horror and romance. The PC is sassy teenaged Mandy who, fresh from school one afternoon and still done up in its accoutrements, finds herself compelled to enter this house in her neighbourhood after finding a letter addressed to its occupant. Wide-ranging, puzzly adventure game shenanigans ensue in a steampunk-leaning environment. There are big-small spatial gags, some quirky NPCs, a Frankenstein-styled laboratory and creepy silver-faced background folk who always manage to run away.

The House on Highfield Lane cover art


House took me a bit over two-and-a-half hours to complete. I spent more than an hour just exploring and fiddling with things without managing to solve any puzzles, though thoroughly in the mood all that time and not with any sense that I wasn't getting anywhere. I then turned to the provided invisiclues webpage for help, and used it a fair bit from them on because of time pressure, thinking (in vain as it turns out) that I might be able to get through the game in less than two IFComp hours.

House induces curiosity and enchantment, demonstrates interesting and sometimes challenging design, and is a great first outing for the latest iteration of the Quest authoring system. Indeed, it's the best-implemented Quest game I've ever played, though still not perfect in this regard (though what game is?) House is kind of hard, though, in a complex way. I don't mean that the puzzles are all complex. I mean that what's hard about it is complex to tease out, and has a nature I suspect will fall quite differently across different players, as might its third person narration. Ultimately, I loved the atmosphere of House, and quite liked the puzzles in spite of my troubles with some of them and the invisiclues.

P.S. The heroine swears A Lot! Mostly with the two most common rude words. I'm not going to say them because this blog is not a home to filth.


I found the key joy of this game to be its development of a prolonged atmosphere of unyielding mystery. There's a derangement of reality at work that reminds me of Alice in Wonderland, as do Mandy's flip reactions to this reality. And like in Alice, there's a sense that there is some overriding meaning behind the weirdness. That's mandatory in this kind of game to prevent the feeling you're just solving a bunch of arbitrary puzzles.

The prose is narrated in third person present tense –

"Conscious that dust is about ninety percent dead skin, Mandy decides not to study it too closely."

– which is one of the less common viewpoint choices adopted for IF. I think the first way this choice helps House is that it gets the player through the unreality barrier faster. The game starts with what is arguably a lot of unexplained weirdness. My initial sense of separation from Mandy (she's not 'You' or 'I') helped me accept the lack of explanation. Once inside the house, Mandy quickly runs into some major discrepancies of physical scale and geography. Perceiving Mandy in the third person helped me appreciate the scale of theses scenes visually, as if I really was standing back and seeing a film frame of a relatively tiny girl in a room hundreds of metres high. Over time, Mandy's flip comments on the situation brought out her personality, and made me feel closer to her.

Returning to the topic of the game's puzzle challenge: That the first relevant puzzle entry I looked up in the invisiclues after playing for close to 70 minutes was named for an object I hadn't yet seen or heard of speaks to the difficulty of writing comprehensive invisiclues. This event did worry me, though. Was I really so out of touch with this game? Or had I missed some fundamental mechanic?

Fortunately, neither case applied, but I would say House's puzzles lean hard for a variety of reasons. First, some of them are old-school-styled, involving a lot of mechanical experimentation and repetition (rotate the object, look outside, see if anything happened. If it didn't, rotate the object again, check again etc. And have the idea to do all this experimentation in the first place). Second, this game is rich with interesting objects that seem like they'd help solve multiple puzzles, but usually only one solution is acceptable. I could think of several objects I possessed that could very feasibly be used to catch another falling object, amongst them a giant floppy hat and a magically embiggened chamber pot, but the game didn't have any programming in place for these attempts. The solution to this particular problem involved roping in an NPC I didn't even know I could communicate with, since he didn't speak when spoken to. Teaching players all the ways they can interact with NPCs in your game is vital for any game. Since the base level of game content here is solid, I don't see it as a great omission that House didn't have heaps of alternate solutions in place already, but I do see it as a necessary site for improvement when a game is at this level.

Finally, there may be a stylistic issue that obscured some of the game's numerous props, all those paintings and windows and pipes and levers and bureaus and drawers spread out all through the text. Most IF games cater to this angle of interpretive difficulty by using presentation systems or logic to set elements off; the exits, or prominent objects or geographical features, etc. House wasn't so great at this, presenting most of its prose in solid blocks, so I forgave myself for missing some stuff.

The lead character of Mandy isn't built out of personal details, but out of a lot of behaviours and attitudes players might recognise from girls in this age group. I especially like the way her cynicism for schoolwork is tempered by the occasional excitement she experiences whenever she realises she can apply something she learned at school to real life. Her frequent sarcasm makes her a good fit for the classic strain of sarcastic parser voice that also gets a workout in House.

This game is the maiden voyage for QuestJS aka Quest 6. QuestJS was developed by Andy Joel, author of House and current head of the Quest project, and is a JavaScript incarnation of the Quest engine. House is a great ambassador for the new Quest, which is what you want in a maiden voyage. In the first place, it's engrossing and well-implemented by any standards. Second, it's the best-implemented Quest game I've played to date. I've been playing Quest games for about a decade and they've always been a bit querulous. You could only play on PCs, playing online was too buggy, and the parser was flakey. House seems to have eliminated all these problems, and the standard of its parser is way up. Unfortunately my transcript was missing all my own typed commands, but this feels like an easy tech fix.

I feel I have to address the game's final riddle (no spoilers to the actual answer here, though if you want to know even less about the question than a measure of spoiler-safe info, stop reading now. Then again, wouldn't you have already stopped reading much earlier?)... it is, as a joke, pretty good. As a puzzle, it's probably terrible because it relies entirely on the player's own knowledge if they want to be able to solve it themselves, with the out that they will soon be given the answer if they can't. But they don't know there's an out coming when the riddle happens. And the game had previously enforced a PC/player knowledge divide in the opposite direction, with a riddle to which most players would know the answer but which they weren't allowed to solve until they had first made the PC research that answer in-game.

The kindest spin on all this is that the game adopts two opposite positions as a joke. Even then, I'd ask is it worth doing this when there's a high risk of annoying players on one or both occasions? Reviewer Bitterly Indifferent wasn't as indifferent as he generally claims to be in the case of the knowledge enforcement of the first riddle, as evinced by his linked-to review here. This type of enforcement was, coincidentally, recently discussed on in this topic. The upshot is that I don't think ending any game with this kind of riddle is a strong way to go out, and even in the case of this game, which at least gives you the answer if you can't get it, it will be received as an unrewarding ending by a subset of players.

Wednesday, 6 October 2021

IFComp 2021 review: The Spirit Within Us by Alessandro Ielo

The Spirit Within Us is a parser-driven thriller with crime and mystery elements that opens with the injured and bleeding PC waking up in a bedroom. Amnesia-game-fearers need not fear per se; the amnesia is well justified and quickly overcome. The whole game plays out around this house setting in what feels like real time, and ultimately with an emphasis on realistic action.

The Spirit Within Us cover image

The author describes Spirit as psychological, but I found the prose too sparse and some of the content too vague for it to succeed at that level. It is evident English isn't the author's primary language and its use here is functional. The section of the game based in the house presents as an almost default set of IF content: a bunch of rooms, doors, fiddly doors, openable things and plain objects from daily life — sinks, toilets, boxes, etc. If it weren't for the timed interjections of the PC's returning memories and the few interesting book props, this phase could be a boredom challenge for the player.

The author wrote the game and its parser from the ground up using C. While that parser effects the basics, the game's needs have definitely outgrown it. My transcript shows I once entered seventeen commands trying to eat a pill from a packet of vitamins before I succeeded, and twenty-three trying to execute the last action required by the game. What to do was obvious, but I had to consult the walkthrough to get the right phrasing.

The story that is revealed and the violent situation that grows out of it in light of the player's explorations and recollections are more compelling on paper than in the game. They're particularly filmic, as well. I've seen a lot of thriller and horror films make good use of the "waking up in a messy and potentially violent situation" scenario when they're also withholding some information from the viewer. Spirit is in this terrain, but unfortunately doesn't have the prose detail to sell it.

There's also a health timer element for the PC that induced a bit of unintentional amusement for me. The PC starts losing hit points from his injuries as soon as the game starts, and the player has to keep finding enough food and supplies to keep them up until the end. This mechanic does seem to be well balanced in terms of raising player stress levels while not being too savage under the hood. I finished the game without dying on my first play, and with plenty of health left, and this only took me about twenty-five minutes. (I acknowledge that geographically, I had good luck during my playthrough. After I'd made the whole map in my head, I could tell I'd fluked the ideal direction to explore in on a couple of occasions.) But the amount of time I'd spent rummaging around for food – fruits from gardens, leftovers from kitchens et al. – seemed to be too great a portion of the game experience. It's the major mechanical feature atop the find-and-use puzzles and some semi-randomised combat.

From the epilogue, I learned that the author's stated intention was to create a game with some moral challenge/choice. But again, the psychological content wasn't evident enough during play to make it clear I was making any moral path choices, at least in terms of my choosing them against apparent alternatives. If an action seems the obvious one needed in a game, I will take it. I don't come to these games to test my own morality, and I know this a difference between me as a player type and some other player types out there. Certainly the ending text I received was of the kind to indicate what the other endings might be compared to the one I got, but I'm not interested in replaying to see them.

I like the kind of story and situation this game presents, but its sparseness of writing and implementation mean the story doesn't really land, or with the right impact. The game's title is also too vague, in retrospect. I'd still say Spirit may be of interest to players who like a game with a bit of contemporary grit. And its mystery remains a little abstract, which is to say, I have questions about the backstory and I'm not sure whether I'm supposed to. This situation could just be due to the limitations of the prose. Even if it is, the particular degree of vagueness where the details have ended up is not a bad one.

Sunday, 3 October 2021

IFComp 2021 review: Dr Horror's House of Terror by Ade McT

I always start an IFComp season with a horror game, since horror is my home turf, mentally, spiritually, fan-wise and way-of-life-wise. This year I chose to go with the parser game Dr Horror's House of Terror (DHHoT) by the redoutable Ade McT.

(Link to ballot page with links to game: You might need to be registered with IFComp to see it? Search for 'house of terror' at 

I didn't finish DHHoT in two hours and, as far as I can tell, I was a long way from finishing. This outcome alarmed me, as I'm one of those people who seeks to avoid really long games in IFComp (re: the rules; you must lock your vote at the two hours of play mark.). I was given fair warning: the game is labelled "Longer than two hours". However, with my horror chutzpah I'd thought, "I bet that time label overestimates the duration and underestimates my great skill levels." I did not find the label to be an overestimation. I did not find my skill levels to be great, but they were sufficient.


In this comedic horror adventure with a surfeit of exclamation marks, you play an actor of questionable skill appearing in the new vampire flick for Mallet Studios. After incensing the film's director, you find yourself embroiled in supernatural life-or-death shenanigans all over the studio backlot. The game is lively with dialogue and NPC action, solid with mostly mechanical puzzles, and has a deft light touch over an underscore of the uncanny that grows out of its highly varied studio settings. Implementation is very good but not great (there are a lot of omissions of inconvenience, and I feel more actions could have been implemented) and I didn't totally understand the mixed-up time aesthetic as a choice. Overall, an engaging long form puzzler with some extra juice for folks who appreciate the films referenced and the luvvie world. The playtime is three hours plus, and how much plus I don't know yet.


Geographically, this game can be viewed as a series of hubs. Most of the hubs are sets for different horror films. These sets riff on the production styles of both the 1930s/1940s Universal horror films and 1960s/1970s British Hammer films, and on the classic monsters that appeared in both studios' films. The hubs have self-contained puzzles as well as elements that help you solve puzzles elsewhere. So even though the map isn't huge, this style of puzzle construction takes a lot of work to tackle. The environment quickly goes from being gated to semi-gated to open, meaning you may have to explore everything in the open area before you can work out what puzzles there are and what tools might help solve them all. I should point out there's a hint file with the game that I didn't use. I felt the difficulty was about right for me and that I'd be more satisfied going without.

The surface tone of DHHoT is initially light, and the humour is very perceptive of the world of dry-witted British luvvies, all these actors constantly caught up in the preciousness of their work and the gossipy connections of thespian life. This lightness becomes darkly funny as the game pushes you into a confused reality, the adjacent film sets and their different worlds being quite disorienting. The monsters may be real and the actors may not be acting, but even as the latter realise this they're still speculating on how life's going back at the Old A, or the prospects of the chap who went to Brazil to appear in "If you like it, Missus".

When there is gore, it has a slapstick silliness about it that fits the overall lightness. The creepiness of the game is in the reality gulf depicted in its cloistered studio world. Your actor pals are largely oblivious to the nature of the weird, trapped life they're leading, and your'e the only one who notices the grisliness of some of the studio props (or not-props). Still, your PC takes goings-on at least half in their stride, and they have to, narration-wise, or the game would be entirely bogged down in reactions to every strange occurrence. It's solid with prose already for a game of this pitch.

At first I assumed DHHoT was set in the 1960s or 1970s, based on the kind of typical-for-Hammer vampire film Mallet are making in the opening scene. But then I came across a keypad-locked door and security cameras. After that, I encountered the elaborate set for a werewolf film which definitely seemed to be a version of Universal's famous backlot from the 1940s, and not something Hammer could or would have done in the 1970s. The game also distracted me every time it mentioned the name of the character Blake Lively, a contemporary female actor in reality but a male Laurence Olivier-type playing a vampire in this game. It may be that the author christened him thus primarily for the sake of the joke of having Blake Lively's name on the cover of the game, and I have a sneaky admiration for that kind of commitment.

I ended up concluding that DHHoT is set in no particular real time. Its reality is constructed out of anachronistic ideas related by theme that the author wanted to put into this world. I actually wish it was set in a particular time and place, because that would have made its specific references resonate more strongly with me. People who don't know this turf as well as I do, and those who've grown up in the postmodern maelstrom of the 2000s, will probably not notice or care about this.

After a few hours, I had cleared one-and-a-half hubs and explored another two. There were hubs I hadn't even entered yet. So that speaks to the ultimate volume of this game.

Monday, 14 June 2021

1. Remember newsletter 2. Tristam Island review

1. I recently contributed to Remember, Hugo Labrande's monthly newsletter about text adventures. The topic of issue seven was Horror, or more specifically, why weren't there more horror text adventures in the 1980s?

You can subscribe to Hugo's newsletter at the following link:

The topics of previous issues have included Compressing Text, Women in Text Adventures, A History of Text Adventures in French, and Where Doesn't the Z-Machine Run?

2. Earlier this year, I reviewed Hugo's new .z3-format adventure Tristam Island for Juiced.GS magazine's March 2021 issue (issue contents list link). Tristam Island is available on 36(!) different platforms (; I reviewed it for the Apple II.

Juiced.GS is a print-only and commercial magazine, so I can't just go sharing my review of the game at this point, but I can let slip that it was positive, as evinced by the four stars I gave the game over on IFDB.

Friday, 14 May 2021

Andromeda reawakening?

Today on I read Rovarsson's new review of Andromeda Awakening and I thought, "This is timely," as I will have an Andromeda-related announcement to make somewhere in the next eight weeks.

If you like a sci-fi parser game with a lot of what they're calling worldbuilding these days, and puzzles, you should go check out the pair of Andromeda Awakening (2011) and its sequel Andromeda Apocalypse (2012) by Marco Innocenti, both from IFComp, the latter the winner of IFComp 2012.

Link - The Andromeda series games on IFDB

The wicked cover art for all the games is also by Marco.

After the first two, you get a series, with games by other authors adding to the world via two Andromeda Legacy competitions (that I helped judge). These games are Andromeda Dreaming (Joey Jones), Tree & Star (Paul Lee), Andromeda Ascending (Truthcraze) and the currently unavailable Andromeda Genesis (Joey Jones).

Reading back my own analyses of these –

Andromeda Legacy 2012 results link

Andromeda Legacy 2013 results link

– I was reminded of how tightly these games work with details from the original pair. I would say that without playing Awakening, Dreaming is part-incomprehensible, and Genesis is entirely incomprehensible; plus you need to have played Dreaming before playing Genesis! From the not-incomprehensible perspective, Dreaming is a five star game for me. Re: the absence of Genesis online, Joey Jones has said publicly that he did it in too much of a rush, and would have liked to revisit and properly develop it. That was a long time ago, so I admit I'm not holding my breath for that postcomp version.

The other two additional games, which are a lot more linear and action-based, have a different relationship to the original pair. One can have some fun with Tree & Star and Ascending without playing Awakening/Apocalypse first, but both get a lot of their effects or amplification from integration with the preceding stories, or rely on direct reference to them to develop their meaning.

Tree & Star might be the most playable on its own. Ascending shows deep knowledge of both Awakening and Apocalypse, and makes a lot of specific jokes about them. Actually, it's an outright comedy, and now I see it as the Thor Ragnarok of the Andromeda games.

Finally, there's another game, the retro quasi-amusing remake of Andromeda Awakening as Andromeda 1983. Here the original game is redone as a simpler-style adventure (with cool graphics by Marco and a C64 soundtrack by me) that might have come out for the C64 or Apple II in 1983:

Andromeda 1983 gameplay

The extra games have been played a ton less than the originals. I guess that's a combination of them lacking IFComp exposure, the fact they're seen to require more investment by playing other games first (broadly, they do require that) and the fact they inevitably differ from the tone established by the first games. If you're ready to see different facets of the original world, though, I'd encourage more people to play the followups. It looks rare to me to see parser games that follow up on their originators and which Are so tightly integrated with the originators' details. That's how the additional Andromeda games have operated to date.

Other links:

Marco's Andromeda page ( (unsecure link... tsk tsk!)

I've written two pieces of music for Andromeda games so far. Here are playable Bandcamp links:

Black Giant (for Andromeda Apocalypse)

Andromeda 1983 (for Andromeda 1983)