The Gostak

From IFWiki

Green IF comp ribbon.png
IF Comp 2001
21st place of 51
The Gostak
Gostak small cover.jpg
Author(s) Carl Muckenhoupt
Publisher(s) n/a
Release date(s) Oct-2001
Authoring system Inform 6.21
Platform(s) Z-code 5
Language(s) "Gostakian" English
License(s) Freeware
Color effects none
Graphics none
Sound/Music none
Cruelty scale Polite

How It Begins

You are a gostak rasking your shamtag (which is lelloed). You have pelled from the bewl at here, the delcot of tondam, to distim the doshes, but the doshery lutt is crenned with glauds. You reb some gitches friking in the hoggam, but, oddly, no duscats glake here. You also reb a tophthed curple, a gomway, and a samilen.

You are the gostak. The gostak distims the doshes. But you'll have to discren those glauds first.

(For a jallon, louk JALLON.)

Notable Features

  • Linguistic background: "The gostak distims the doshes" is a linguistic phrase that was invented to show that even if one don't know what the basic words in a sentence mean, one can still derive some meaning from the syntax. English readers do not know what the words gostak, distims and doshes mean, but can still infer that a gostak is a noun, that distims is a verb in the present tense, and that doshes is a plural noun whose singular is dosh. More importantly, English readers can also deduce relationships between the terms. For example, a gostak is something that distims the doshes, distimming is something that gostaks do to doshes, and a dosh is something that is distimmed by a gostak.
  • The language used in the game is essentially English except most of the nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs are completely new; this variant of English might be called Gostakian English. (An example of Gostakian Esperanto might be "La gostako maltimmas la doŝojn.") Players are forced to do some non-trivial note taking and blind experimentation to try to figure out what the words in Gostakian might mean. Complicating matters is that Gostakian terms might not have any exact equivalant in English, and that the world of the gostak may be completely alien to us.
  • The help menus (JALLON) are also in Gostakian English. This provides the player with a large amount of sample text and suggests many of the basic verbs that the player will need. System commands like "save", "restore", "quit", etc. are left in normal English, although their descriptions are in Gostakian.
  • Some of the choices for Gostakian words aren't completely random and might be considered in-jokes. For example, the words bal and da (for yes and no) were used by Raymond Smullyan in some of his logic puzzles.
  • Several puzzles not directly related to the language issue.


Version 1

Version 2


General Info