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IFCOMP 2006 - The Bible Retold

Game #9: The Bible Retold: The Bread and the Fishes (by Justin Morgan and ďCelestianpowerĒ)
Played: October 25th (2 hours 20 minutes)
Platform: Inform 6 (Zcode)
Unofficial Score: 7

     Gameís Blurb:
     A light-hearted adaptation of the classic Bible story, The Feeding the Five Thousand. Not for the fundamentalist!

     XYZZY Response:
     Did you really expect something to happen? Collossal Cave Adventure won't be written for many years yet.

     This is shaping up to be a year in which I donít play and review all the IFComp games. Iíve made it through this, the ninth game, and am only now getting around to the review (five days later). Seventeen more days before the voting ends means... I may not make it. With my current work schedule, I probably canít make it.

     The first installment in the Bible Retold series (theyíre planning another) is pretty interesting. Itís full of anachronisms, religious humor (sort of), and playful depictions of biblical events. I use the word ďplayfulĒ because this retelling seems to be in good fun. It could be really offensive to those of a staunch Christians faith, if viewed as something that merely mocks the Bible.

     The beginning part is pretty smooth, but rushed development starts to show part-way and through to the end. The bugs are nothing a good post-comp update canít fix (Iím going to skip the bug report for this review), but a couple of the puzzles left me confused.

     One requires looking up Bible verses and following instructions there. Somehow, I just never made the connection. I had assumed that one area in the game was a sort of model for part of a book in the Bible, and I remembered the notice at the beginning to either have a Bible handy or be prepared to look it up online. It just didnít occur to me that I was in a puzzle that might only be solved by doing exactly that. I thought the Bible references would be handy for understanding the story itself, not for solving the puzzles, which may be how I failed to make that connection. I got the solution from the walkthrough.

     The other has to do with the geography of Markís Village. Itís one of those puzzles that probably seemed like a great idea to the author. During it, I kept flashing back to the cups puzzle at the pavilion in my own Trading Punches (2004). This elaborate system has been worked out, and itís a pretty easy system to use, but itís just not fun to repeat the same actions over and over, trying to figure out how to make it line up just right. I canít say much more without giving a spoiler, but it involves Markís personal chariot and the intervals between houses.

     In terms of review size, Iím afraid Iím going to shortchange The Bible Retold. After five days, and even with my transcripts, I donít find much else to comment on. I did like the writing, and the conversation between Yonah and Mark is interesting. Itís a good game of puzzles, but the competition release lacks polish. Thatís why Iím scoring it a ď7Ē on my scale. I expect good things as the series continues.

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