Whitefield Academy of Witchcraft IF Mini-Review

whitefieldOf the selection of  top 20 games currently available on Quest, Whitefield is by far the best.  If I’m somewhat on the fence as to whether Quest can be taken as a serious IF programming environment, Whitefield is probably what brings me down on the side that “yes, it is–with maybe some qualifications.”

The game is not quite Infocom-quality, but certainly evokes an Infocom-ish milieu and is definitely up to the standard of some of the best amateur IF, at least as far as the puzzles and technical side.  The artwork is very well-done and symmetrically scattered throughout the narrative.  I noticed a few glitches, such as rereading books generated an error message, and I’d have implemented some additional “aliases” for some objects, such as “berries” for “blackberries”, but on the whole, very good. One other complaint was a “guess the verb” situation with a textbook (spoiler alert!):

> get textbook
You chase the wild textbook around the terrarium, but it evades your hands easily.

> x hopper
A plastic hopper. You can use it to feed creatures in the terrarium.
> feed textbook
I don’t understand your command.
> x bookmarks
These gilded bookmarks are just perfect for putting inside a good book.
> put bookmarks in hopper
Done.

> put bookmark in textbook
You can’t do that.

> put bookmark in hopper
Done.
> x hopper
A plastic hopper. You can use it to feed creatures in the terrarium.
> push hopper
You can’t push it.
> open it
You can’t open it.
> x hopper
A plastic hopper. You can use it to feed creatures in the terrarium.
> feed bookmarks to textbook
I don’t understand your command.
> give bookmarks to textbook
You slide the bookmarks into the hopper. The textbook sits up straight, sniffing the air, and approaches the food curiously. It takes the bundle, plops down, and begins munching on them. It looks calm and happy.

Oh, right, the “hopper” was just scenery, and only the verb “give” works here.  Maybe this is just a limitation of Quest?  Anyhow, on the whole, I was pleasantly surprised by this game, and after finding a disheartening amount of “misses” over “hits” from the available Quest games, it has convinced me that there are a few IF diamonds worth searching for in its massive catalog of games.

http://textadventures.co.uk/games/view/yga06kzqtku8cn8vfgjt2a/whitefield-academy-of-witchcraft

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