Thursday, October 15, 2009

[IF Competition] The Believable Adventures of an Invisible Man

Emily tells us that pumpkin pie is delicious. I don't know about that--I'm not even quite sure what "pie" means in the US--but I do know that the pumpkin is one of the great vegetables. And I should know about vegetables, because I'm a vegetarian. The only problem with pumpkins is that cutting them up and cleaning them is so much work. It makes me wonder why they don't sell pre-sliced pumpkin in my supermarket, even though they do sell such useless things as pre-sliced mushrooms.

Maybe we can put recipes in these spoiler spaces? Anyway, next is The Believable Adventures of an Invisible Man.

Many reviewers express concern at how unsymapthetic the player character is. This didn't bother me at all; in fact, it would seem to be interesting to step into the mind of the kind of vengeful sociopath portrayed here. People with a huge inferiority complex and an unhealthy dosis of paranoia are less rare than we might hope, they are pretty scary to be in close contact with, and I believe you can make effective social/psychological horror by having us enact the plans of such a person as move through a world coloured by his own warped logic and interpretations.

This is probably not that game although I didn't get far enough to say for sure. See, I hated the puzzles. So you have to kill the creepy guy with a pizza... but why? There is no indication that killing the creepy guy will allow you to take stuff outside--when you try to move outside, the game tells you that there might be people there, not that the creepy guy will notice. There is no hint that we believe the creepy guy to have wronged us. And there is certainly no reason to believe that he would eat a mouldy pizza when we throw it through the window! That is simply not standard creepy-guy behaviour.

The second puzzle involves you somehow guessing that in this game, the mail works instantaneously. Again, there is no reason to believe this.

So at this point I lost faith in the game and stopped playing. I will probably not be scoring it.


  1. A pie is a dessert, some sort of filling in a pastry shell, usually baked. Pumpkin pie (filled with sweetened pumpkin, spiced with cloves and cinnamon, among other ingredients) is a traditional autumn dessert.

    The problem is that the overwhelming majority of people seem to make it from canned pumpkin. Then they call it homemade. Puke.

  2. Canned pumpkin? Wow. They don't sell that on this side of the Atlantic, as far as I know. :)

    When I make pumpkin, it's generally as part of a main course, by the way.

  3. It's decently rare for pumpkin to be used as a vegetable in the states, actually. We'll happily eat savory preparations of assorted squashes, but pumpkins are usually used for three things: jack o'lanterns, roasted pumpkin seeds, and pumpkin pie.

  4. Pumpkin soup is great, and boiled/steamed/whatevered pumpkin goes very well with rice and Indian food in general. Non-sweet pumpkin "pie" is also very good.

    What exactly do you mean by "squash"? According to wikipedia, a pumpkin is a kind of squash, as is the zucchini (courgette).

    The only other pumpkin-like vegetable we regularly eat here is the butternut squash, but I would normally prepare it in exactly the same way I would prepare pumpkin.

  5. I suspect that when most Americans say "squash," we mean approximately "those squashes that have 'squash' in their name." Acorn squash, butternut squash, summer squash, yellow squash, etc. That's what I mean, anyway. It's actually counterintuitive to me that zucchini is a squash, but not that pumpkin is, even though zucchini is very like yellow squash.

    Anyway, I'm not much of a cook, but my reluctance to eat pumpkin preparations stems partly from pumpkin's position far to the left on the grapefruit/grape scale. I've eaten a fair number of savory pumpkin recipes that other people have prepared for me -- pumpkin curries, for instance.

    (I think that, if you examine the mailbox, it tells you that your mail will arrive instantaneously. The puzzles get very fiddly, though. I was going to say that I think it would be entertainingly perverse for a game to make you wait around for a whole day until the mail came, but I think I may have played some such games.)

  6. My next-favorite form of pumpkin after pie is the pumpkin risotto served at Andaluca in Seattle. (There's a version of this recipe here: but I have never had the nerve to try it myself.)

  7. Also, I think blogger munched the URL there, sorry.

  8. Yeah, I meant "squashes other than pumpkins." Part of the squash confusion is that there are two sorts of squashes. One is "summer squashes," of which zucchinis/courgettes and, redundantly summer squash (technically yellow summer squash) are examples. These are thin-skinned. The other kind is "winter squashes," hard-skinned varieties like pumpkins, butternut squashes, and acorn squashes. Winter squashes are typically steamed or baked, and served mashed, scooped out of their shells, or as a base for soups.