Reiko's Ramblings and Writings

What I'm reading and writing about lately.

IFComp 2014 Review: Fifteen Minutes

Posted by Reiko on November 10, 2014

This is a review of games from the 2014 Interactive Fiction Competition. Scoring criteria can be found here.

Fifteen Minutes
Author: Ade McT
Format: Inform

This is a complicated time-travel puzzlebox, no doubt about it. One turn in, alternate selves start popping up, and you have to figure out how to follow the right trail through time to do all the things you saw your future selves doing. Oh, and avoid getting expelled for a failing grade, although that’s hardly the immediate focus given how complicated the time travel machine is.

The first hurdle is simply to get the machine to do anything. Then it’s to set it to the right thing that will avoid a paradox of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The first jump is the hardest, because you don’t get to see a future self do it first. The second jump is actually the easiest, and then they get harder again as less information is provided. It’s really a logic puzzle more than anything else.

I spent at least an hour fiddling, observing, taking notes, and even following the walkthrough, but I was unable to prevent paradox, although I thought I worked out what the first jump should be. Not only did the walkthrough not work, but it’s clear that the PC must actually be a genius (if rather lazy) to work out what’s going on in less than the titular fifteen minutes and without taking any notes – a pen appears from somewhere during the time manipulations, but he doesn’t start with it and can’t use it until after taking several time jumps.

Eventually I got the first step to work. The walkthrough seems to have an action missing such that if you follow it exactly, you’re a minute too soon for the first step. After that, I was able to make the next several steps successfully and started to feel like I was figuring out what was going on. There was at least one more surprise, but with more time, I probably would have finished it.

Score: 8
Scoring: base 7, -1 for walkthrough not working, +1 for engaging and complicated puzzle, +1 for consistent coordination of multiple selves

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One Response to “IFComp 2014 Review: Fifteen Minutes”

  1. […] – 8 Zest, by Fear of Twine (Web) – 6 Caroline, by Kristian Kronstrand (Web) – 2 Fifteen Minutes, by Ade McT (Inform) – 8 HHH.exe, by Robot Parking (Web) – 2 The Entropy Cage, by […]

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