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100 Mins Interactive Fiction

The interactive fiction game that I chose to play for an hour (actually longer in retrospect) was entitled I-0 (‘jailbait on the interstate’) by Adam Cadre which referred to Interstate 0. I was very skeptical about playing this game but the content seemed interesting. Originally I did not play this game as one of the 4 samplers but I decided to give it a look out of curiosity because I wanted to branch out from the traditional game genres that I had previously explored. In general I had not had very good prior experiences with Interactive Fiction games as a whole. There was something unexplainably hard about them that left me frustrated and completely confused. Going into this game I decided to just go with what I knew and wing it. Surprisingly that was exactly what worked.

The game is based on the premise that you are Tracy Valencia, a first year student in college that is going home on a four hour drive for Thanksgiving Day but your car has mysteriously broken down on the side of the interstate in the desert. The first time I played this game I was killed because of my lack of observation skills. At the start of the game I could not even get out of the car because I had not unbuckled my seatbelt yet. So I unbuckled my seatbelt and exited the car. I stuck out my thumb because my first instinct was to hitchhike. Cars were passing in my general direction but as the game put it they were “oblivious to my plight.” Finally a car stops, and this man named Jack asks me if I needed a ride. I should have realized this was trouble when he was “more interested in your breasts than conversation.” Well sure enough it is trouble and Jack pulls over to the side of the road and rapes Tracy and then murders her. The games ends and once again I feel like I have failed at interactive fiction.

Being determined to actually accomplish something in playing these games I end up playing I-0 for about 2 hours straight one night and figure out new things each time I play. One thing that I learned and will benefit me in many IF games is that anything can be a helpful clue. When I began in Tracy’s car I did not even think to look around, it was my initial thought to get out and get a ride to a gas station. Upon later review I discovered that in her glove box are a map of the surrounding area and a helpful pamphlet regarding the situation of being stranded in the desert. This pamphlet hinted at the later encounter that I had with a rattlesnake and informed me of how to survive it. Also in Tracy’s car is the key, cassette tape and her purse. The purse is another important item which I needed to open and search. There is pepper spray, Tracy’s license, and lip balm inside. The pepper spray can be used to fend of Jack and the balm to seduce a policeman out of busting you for murder. (I’ll get to that part in a second.)

When I did use the spray while Jack was driving he ran off the road and wrecked the car. Ironically I was thrown through the windshield and out onto the highway. By this point I was highly pissed off. Why couldn’t I win? Soon enough I realized that when I first got into the car I needed to buckle my seatbelt and I would survive the crash. Also in attempts to fight off Jack when he pulls the car over, I looked under the seat to find “The Club” and I hit him in the head with it, knocking him out. Eventually I figured out to search Jack’s car after the crash or after he was knocked out. I opened the glove box and searched Jack himself.

If you stick around the scene after the crash/knock out then the cops will come and at this point the lip balm seduction may come in handy. The furthest I got after this point was to a fast food restaurant called “Taco Junta” (basically a Taco Bell) where I made the mistake of spraying the server with pepper spray because I wanted to steal her car. She was too quick and knocked me out and then called the cops. In actuality I later found out that I was supposed to hide in the bed of her truck in the parking lot until nightfall and hitch a ride into my home town. I thoroughly enjoyed this game and the many twists and turns it allowed me to take. This game would likely be a challenge for even the most skilled IF player but it is worth it.

Helpful Hints For Playing IF Games

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on November 26, 2004 12:00 AM.

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