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Were I called on to define, very briefly, the term Art, I should call it 'the reproduction of what the Senses perceive in Nature through the veil of the soul.' The mere imitation, however accurate, of what is in Nature, entitles no man to the sacred name of 'Artist.'
Edgar Allan Poe


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3 Stars IFReview Rating Timeout

IFReviewed by Paul OBrian on 2006-07-20 09:48 

Game Profile

Author
Stephen Hilderbrand

Idiom
English

Authoring System
Inform6

Release Year
2001

IFR Overall Rating
3 Stars IFR Overall Rating
Separator
I'm in a dilemma about this game. I played through once, found some things to enjoy about it, and reached an ending that was pretty clearly not optimal. Not having a clear idea about how to reach the optimal ending, and running short on time, I pulled out the walkthrough, and it showed me something about a particular item that I hadn't really understood (due to the game's vague description of that item): it had a subcomponent that could be examined to yield more information. However, when I did so, the interpreter crashed with a fatal text buffer overflow error. Now, I've developed a pretty strict rule about unfinishable games -- I give them a 1, write a short review explaining the problem, and move on. The question is: does Timeout fit that category or not? I did finish it, so in a sense it's not really unfinishable, but on the other hand, it seems impossible to reach a more optimal ending. What to do?

Here's what I'm deciding. I won't give the game a 1. I was able to play through successfully (well, for one value of the word "successfully", anyway), and that's worth something. That first experience had some good points -- there were some funny spots in the writing, and some sort of fun cut scenes. On the other hand, it was mostly a negative experience. Timeout's implementation is maddeningly shallow, leading to lots of encounters like this:

You can see a trash can (which is closed) here.

>open can
That's not something you can open.

Or this:

A steel door is set in the north wall, and a passageway heads west,
back to the hallway.

>x steel door
You can't see any such thing.

>n
The door is locked.

>unlock door
You can't see any such thing.

Trying to get immersed in such a world is like trying to scuba dive in a puddle.

There were other problems too, including a NASTY FOUL IT'S/ITS ERROR, which is becoming my version of the Olympics' "mandatory deduction" items. And then the fatal crash. All this comes together to make a game that's not really worth my time in its competition version.

Paul OBrian Profile

Name Paul OBrian
Gender Male

This IFReviewer IFReviews

- 1-2-3...
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- Al Otro Lado
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- an apple from nowhere
- And the Waves Choke the Wind
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- At Wit's End
- Augustine
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- Begegnung am Fluss
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- Colours
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- Comp00ter Game
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- Delusions
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- Down
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- Elements
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- Exhibition
- Fear
- Fifteen
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- Fine Tuned
- For a Change
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- Screen
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- SNOSAE
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- SURREAL
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