IFComp 2009: Condemned, Yon Astounding Castle, The Ascot

This is another Interactive Fiction Competition review.

A brief survey suggests that this year’s competition has more solid games than usual. These three were not among them. Let me just get these things out of the way.


A careful examination of the ABOUT text reveals the author of Condemned to be the amazing Mark Jones. He’s a little more polished this year than in previous years, but is still in the habit of using words that are almost but not quite correct:

You ruminate for a moment, trying to put your father in the position of wrongdoing. “I mean, rules are okay. But too many rules is just plain stupid. Sure, he loves tradition. But 1600’s tradition is just way too incompatible for today’s moral standards.”

The glowier, and much redder part of the garage is back to the south.

Again, you feel vulnerable and prone to a slight chance of death.

But now that you are in the hallway, you can make plans and prepare your censorshiping ability more easily.

“He’s going to abuse me in the name of punishment and emotion release!”

This may be the stupidest passage in the entire competition:

Moving the doll’s head out of the way, you watch nervously as a huge object regurgitates from the inside of her stomach and up through her esophagus. Splat! A goopy organ dislodges from her mouth and splats onto her platter-formed hands, a long drool string following behind it.

“W-what is it?” you ask.

She shakes, lifting up the saliva-drenched anatomical organ from her hands, shoving it your face.

You step back.

“Look at what you did to her!” she screams, jiggling the organ around in her hands.

An anatomical organ is shoved in your face, the angry stare of your mom behind the hands dishing the organ.

Unlike When Machines Attack and Press Escape to Save, Condemned is not fun despite itself. It’s the scuzzbucket story of a kid whose sister is horribly injured due to his neglect. He’s willingly executed by a representative of the “symbolic realm” (don’t ask):

Your feet are starting to feel hot. You try to breathe by lifting your body upwards, but your already singing feet feel irritated as they rub against the rough-textured ropes. The smoke makes your lungs feel like glowing poison embers.

The game ends by labeling the kid a martyr. Actually, he was just an asshole. With singing feet.

Yon Astounding Castle

The entire game is written like this:

Outside Yon Castle

Ye standeth at ye edge of ye forest outside yon castle, which is surrounded by yon moat. Yon drawbridge in ye east is up, preventing ye entry into yon castle. Nearby there groweth yon nut tree.

So basically it’s unreadable. Mind you, it might have been more fun and less incomprehensible if the author had cared enough to do some research and actually write the thing in early modern English instead of replacing random words with “ye” and “yon.”

Immediately I found that the game didn’t understand what I was doing when I tried to climb the tree. So I went straight to the walkthrough, and it was all:

Ye olde walkthrough hath been writ first upon this 29th of September, in ye second thousand and ninth year Anno Domini. ”˜Twas writ to showeth actions only, thereby being free o’ story spoilers (tho’, forsooth, containing nearly all o’ ye puzzle spoilers).

You know what? I’m not finishing this one. (And remember, I just got all the way through Condemned.)

The Ascot

As long as I was in the Adrift folder, I decided to take a look at The Ascot. Just to get it over with. The only possible commands are YES and NO and the story is a whimsical thing that reads like the author typed it off the top of his head in five minutes. As is frequently the case with whimsical stories typed off the top of one’s head, it is less funny than the author had probably hoped.

1 thought on “IFComp 2009: Condemned, Yon Astounding Castle, The Ascot

  1. Of course Yon Astounding castle will not let you “climb tree”! You must type “climbeth tree”!

    Actually, I thought that was a nice touch.

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