IFcomp 2016: Pogoman GO!

Time for a parody, with “Pogoman GO!”. Now, what on earth could we have here…?

This was odd, to say the least. It starts out like a parody simulation of “Pokemon Go”, with the usual capture and evolution of “pogomen” and the accumulation of XP to progress to the next level of pogoman mastery. A higher mastery level is required to unlock the midgame section, which is a bit more like traditional IF with its puzzles and problem solving. Things then take a turn for the weird(er) as we meet Elon Musk, go to a place where Pogomen are real, possibly have to fight them ourselves and … yeah, it gets really surreal.

The parody element is strong. There’s also a strong sense of satire as we explore the corporate headquarters of the game in our efforts to be made a beta-tester, which is, of course, every gamer’s dream. The puzzles we hit in our explorations are phrased as tests we must pass before the company–and Elon Musk–will consider us for the beta-testing career. They’re not bad … something of a break from the randomised battle and resource management (albeit very forgiving randomised battle and resource management) of the parts surrounding it.

So what is going on? Well, apparently Nyantech is poised to Take Over The World. We’re not so much expected to foil their plans as we are expected to have wacky interactions with them. Having reached and prevailed in the final showdown, we have a choice of endings, most of which are pretty silly. Nothing is meant to be taken seriously here, I think, and even some of the more horrible implications are meant as comedy. Does it work? Well, I was amused. There are some nice self-referential touches, and I’m sure a lot of people can commiserate with some of the “technical issues” that occur.

Breakfast is pop-tarts (of course) with strawberry icing, and banana-flavoured milk, all of it sweetened with aspartame. Light, heavily processed, brightly coloured … maybe not quite as innocent as it first appears.

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