Being Steve

From IFWiki

Being Steve
Author(s) Anonymous
Publisher(s) n/a
Release date(s) 19-May-2006
Authoring system Inform 7
Platform(s) Z-code
Language(s) English
License(s) Freeware
Color effects none
Graphics none
Sound/Music none
Cruelty scale Merciful


This game is an attack piece, apparently designed to humiliate or ridicule Steve Breslin, an IF theorist and programmer who specializes in AI and spatial simulation. This attack was published around the time when Breslin formed a series of arguments critical of the then-recently-released Inform-7. These arguments emphasized two things: 1) a critique of the naturality of I7's "natural language" syntax; 2) a critique of the utility of rule-based programming, for IF.

At the same time, Breslin also attacked Graham Nelson (the designer of I7), on the grounds that he was being pretentious and engaging in deceptive rhetoric, among other complaints. There were further arguments, Breslin arguing in favor of open-development, etc. The discussion went back-and-forth for a few months.

The discussion became heated at times, and this game is evidence of the hostility people felt at that time.

The Game

The player-character awakens as a fictionalized version of Steve Breslin, now living alone in a single-unit apartment, possibly hung-over. The game forces the player to urinate on his television, then sit at a computer and write personal attacks against Graham Nelson. The game uses forced keystroke command entry.

Notable Features

  • Forced Keystroke. The game is almost entirely non-interactive. For most of the game, whatever the player types is replaced with preprogrammed commands, character by character. The player isn't given normal control of the keyboard until the very end of the game, and even then, there's nothing much the player can do.

Trivia and Comments

  • The PC's full name is not mentioned in the game, but people who followed Breslin's discussion of Inform 7 (and in particular, the responding hostility) would immediately recognize who the PC is supposed to be.
  • The title of the game, Being Steve, parodies the title of an earlier game, Being Andrew Plotkin (J. Robinson Wheeler as "Celie Paradis"; 2000; Z-code), which itself was a parody of the movie Being John Malkovich.
  • Steve Breslin himself has never written any attack pieces.


Release 1

  • Being Steve (Anonymous; 19-May-2006; Z-code).