Ifcomp 2016: Zigamus: Zombies at Vigamus

“Zigamus: Zombies at Vigamus” is exactly what the title says: a zombie infestation at Vigamus. This is a real place, with a real video game museum, which I will assume is much as described in this game–albeit without the zombies.

So, the place is real. I don’t know if Paddy and Metalmark are correspondingly real people, but I suspect they might be, simply because I don’t see any self-respecting author making up a name like “Metalmark”: this looks like an online handle, and might in fact be a friend of the author.

The premise is that zombies have emerged from a zombie apocalypse arcade game and overrun the museum, and it’s up to you to put a stop to the rampage. Set as it is in a museum dedicated to video games, this whole romp is a bit of a love letter to the medium. It seems clear enough that the author knows his video games, and artifacts from those games figure as essential items to be used on this quest for zombie extermination. The tone is both silly and self-aware: at one point, we are literally told that we are in a text adventure and that we should study the relevant tropes. The author is clearly having a bit of fun, and there’s no reason why we should not as well.

Language-wise, we’re looking at some of the same shortcomings in the author’s other entry this comp, “Darkiss 2”: it’s a game written initially in Italian and then translated into English. I’d say that something is lost in the translation, but in all honesty I think that the result actually adds to the humour of the game–the author is turning a weakness into a strength. He’s seen that if linguistic dissonance makes it difficult to take something seriously, then a completely non-serious entry is the answer. It’s “Poirot at his most foreign”, and it works pretty well for me.

In terms of game design, the puzzles are fairly simple; bog-standard, in fact. The prompting feels a bit obvious, to me, which at least means this is fairly easy to get through. One issue I do have is that, while each zombie seems to want a specific weapon to defeat it, there’s no indication as to what weapon will work with which. This is not an issue when you have access to only one zombie, and only one weapon on hand; but there comes a point where you have at least two zombies before you, and it seems a bit arbitrary to say of one zombie that it (figuratively speaking) simply shrugs off the attack, whereas another zombie succumbs in humorous fashion. Perhaps some further distinction is in order … or perhaps the organisation of puzzles should be rethought a little in order to work around this. Otherwise, I found the coding to be quite competent and bug-free.

If this were breakfast, I think it might be scrambled eggs on toast. I think scrambled eggs might now be my codephrase for “happy accident”–something that should not have worked but somehow did. Everything’s neatly contained within the bounds of the toast, and then garnished with a sprig of parsley. To go with this, we have orange juice: cold, fresh, and pulpy.

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