Nerd Quest

Gabor di Mooij (2008)

Nerd Quest is a home-brewed text adventure, written in Java, that fails on a number of levels. There's not much to do, the goals aren't clear, and the interpreter suffers by not implementing a number of IF standards.

In this game you're a developer for an IT company that doesn't want to be late for a date with his girlfriend, and a hacker has broken into the mainframe. You're locked in the server room by your boss and forced to fix the broken terminal; but the goal the game sets up isn't the real goal of the game, a discrepancy that makes it hard to play from the start.

Other problems abound in this hand-coded interpreter. It doesn't understand commands like restart/save/restore/quit/verbose or transcript, though I couldn't put the game into an unwinnable state. Shortcuts like 'l' for look aren't implemented either, and standard verbs like 'examine' are missing too.

The writing in this game is minimal, if you can call it writing, and it's very frustrating to play because you don't know what or how to interact with the few things that are implemented in the rooms. I quickly lost confidence in the interpreter and turned to the walkthrough.

Also, if you use the run.bat file to play the game it will end abruptly, and you end up missing the final remarks. In order to see what takes place you'll have to run it from the command line. Of course, I'm a PC user.

I think if this game was implemented in something like Inform or TADS it would have held up a lot better. The interpreter is weak, along with the room descriptions and interactivity. There's not a lot to enjoy here, and you'll probably find yourself turning to the walkthrough early on. I can't see it doing very well in this competition; the home-brewed aspect just kills it, but at least it's short.