Thursday, 25 June 2015

Interactive Fiction review #1 - Signos

Signos, by Mauricio Diaz Garcia (aka M4u) (2012)

Signos: The Hands of Enlightenment

Signos by Mauricio Diaz Garcia is a middle-length, allegorical quest for enlightenment.

On his way to inner peace (and stuff), the traveller is beset by unexpectedly required interactions, perilous spelling errors and vengeful lack of synonyms. You know you have a good game on your hands when the in-game walkthrough doesn´t match up with what you actually have to input to complete the game! On the plus side, the hyperlink-driven interface keeps you focussed on gameplay-relevant items and persons (but don´t expect anything else mentioned in room descriptions to actually be implemented in any way).

The story of Signos takes place in a dreamscape (even though the game keeps reminding you that you are actually "already awake"), requiring interaction with objects which are mostly symbolic and several NPCs, themselves representing mainstream religions, annoying the player with quasi-philosophical ramblings that amount to little more than nonsense. Perhaps the author intended to use broken room descriptions, mysteriously undefined items and the lack of any beta testing to allude to a deeper, enlightening purpose, but as the game is, even though enhanced by the praisable inclusion of pictures and sound effects, it fails to draw its player into the game world since one is constantly confronted with its blatant mistakes.

Despite Signos being, for the most part, an unsalvageable failure, I for one still endorse the intention of the author. The basic idea of creating a symbolic, surreal, metaphysical journey perfectly lends itself to the medium of interactive fiction. While Signos certainly isn´t the "Holy Mountain" or "El Topo" of text adventures, one probably can still play it to experience for himself how NOT to write a game of its genre.


originally written for the Interactive Fiction Database (check it out for thousands of text adventures to play for free - some even directly in the browser, no registration required!)

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