From IFWiki

One trophy.png
XYZZY Awards 1999
Best Use of Medium
Two white ribbons.png
XYZZY Awards 1999
Finalist - Best Individual PC and Best Story

An instant in the life of a man, by Sam Barlow.

cover art
Author(s) Sam Barlow
Publisher(s) n/a
Release date(s) 1999
Authoring system Inform 6
Platform(s) Z-code 5
Language(s) English
License(s) Freeware
Color effects none
Graphics none
Sound/Music none
Cruelty scale Merciful

How It Begins

First, there is a title card page, where the author explains that the player is given one instant to interfere in the life of the male protagonist, and that this action will both begin and end the story. There is also a warning that there are many stories and they are not all about the same man.

The set-up: You are a man shopping in the pasta aisle that runs north-south in a supermarket. Shelves are on either side. You particularly note the fresh Gnocchi which you haven't had since Rome. You can also see the aisle markers, your trolley, bags of pasta, and a brunette woman filling her trolley with sauces.

Notable Features

  • The original "one move" game. After the results of the player's command are displayed, the game pauses for a keypress, then returns the game back to the beginning so the player can make another choice.
  • Multiple endings. Although some endings are better than others, there is no best winning ending; the player is not playing to win or lose. Also, the endings, taken together, imply inconsistent past histories for the PC.
  • Puzzleless. The player is expected to explore the possibilities offered by the set-up. There is some emphasis on calling each variant a story, or part of a story.

Trivia and Comments


Release 1


General info