An instant in the life of a man, by Sam Barlow.
|Authoring system||Inform 6|
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.
- 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
- Directly inspired the following two games:
- Aisle (Sam Barlow; 28-May-1999; Z-code 5).
- Revision 3 / Release 1 / Serial number 990528 / Inform v6.14 Library 6/8
- IFID: ZCODE-1-990528-9252
IFID links: IFDB, IFDB cover
- XYZZY Awards 1999: Winner of Best Use of Medium; finalist for Best Individual PC and Best Story.
- Download Aisle.z5 from the IF Archive - the story file.
- Play it online at ifiction.org.
- Aisle - at SPAG #18 by Duncan Stevens, September 1999.
- Aisle - at IF Ratings.
- Review by Alec Meer - at Rock, Paper, Shotgun
- Review (archive) by Emily Short - at Play This Thing!