IFCOMP2014: Begscape review

Begscape by Porpentine placed 28th in the 20th Interactive Fiction Competition IFCOMP2014. You can play online at ifdb. This series of blog posts are mini-reviews I wrote as a fellow author to document my impressions of other games.

Spoilers below

I went for this game because of its simple aesthetic. It feels like the PeopleSoft style text games from the 1970s (e.g. Chris Gaylo’s Highnoon). Those games helped me learn to program! I have done some fairly faithful conversions of these old games to Twine and Arduino. This means I already have an affinity for the style of game.

The choices are brutal and limited; even by the standards of the 1970s games. But those limits are the story. Poverty is not only about money though that becomes the basic means of maintaining health. Poverty is about resources; health, mental, charisma, and connectedness. That this game doesn’t let PC me do a bunch of things RL me could do (borrow, ask a relative or friend, apply state benefits, work for food, etc) speaks exactly to that.

Perfectly sized and I love it.