IFRO

Brain: an apparatus with which we think we think.
Ambrose Bierce


Login | Register


Username:
Password:

Who is Online

We have 671 registered Members.

There are no Members online.

There are 7 Guests online.

8 Stars IFReview Rating Jacks or Better to Murder, Aces to Win

IFReviewed by Andrew Plotkin on 2006-07-01 04:20 

Game Profile

Author
J. D. Berry

Idiom
English

Authoring System
Inform6

Release Year
1999

IFR Overall Rating
8 Stars IFR Overall Rating
Separator
Interesting work here. The author is packing a complete (if short) conventional story in, as the subtitle implies. All the characters are fully developed, including the protagonist.

This leads to a fairly wide disparity. The player's path is a set of simple and well-clued actions. The protagonist's story is a mess of scheming, plotting, considering the strengths and weaknesses of the other characters, remembering scenes and facts from childhood -- all of this boiling down to just a few actions, which are what the player does.

On the one hand, this means rather a lot of info-dumping and "you think... you realize..." The writing isn't strong enough to make this enjoyable on its own. And there's an inevitable sense of disjunction. In the ending, for example, the protagonist pulls some terrific sneakiness, but the player has nothing to do with it; the only command that was parsed was "go north".

On the other hand, the dumped information and the sneakiness are interesting (even if not brilliantly rendered as prose). And the underlying story ideas are excellent. The player is involved in some of the plot, just not all of it. "Jacks" represents an impressive approach to putting IF together; we should experiment more with it.

Andrew Plotkin Profile

IFReviewer Rating
9 Stars IFReviewer Overall Rating

Name Andrew Plotkin
Gender Male

Also IFReviewed by

Paul OBrian

This IFReviewer IFReviews

- 1-2-3...
- A Crimson Spring
- A Day for Soft Food
- A Day In The Life Of A Superhero
- A Good Breakfast
- A Light's Tale
- A Moment of Hope
- A New Day
- A Night Guest
- Aayela
- Acid Whiplash
- Ad Verbum
- Aftermath
- Alien Abduction?
- All Roads
- All Things Devours
- an apple from nowhere
- Arrival, or Attack of the B-Movie Cliches
- Asendent
- At Wit's End
- Aunt Nancy's House
- Babel
- Bane of the Builders
- Beat the Devil
- Bellclap
- Best of Three
- Blink
- Bliss
- Blue Chairs
- Blue Sky
- Breaking the Code
- Calliope
- Carma
- CASK
- Castle Amnos
- Castlemaze
- Cattus Atrox
- Chaos
- Chicks Dig Jerks
- Chronicle Play Torn
- coffee quest II
- Color and Number
- Coming Home
- Comp00ter Game
- Constraints
- Death to my Enemies
- Delusions
- Desert Heat: A Romance Of Sorts
- Dinner with Andre
- Downtown Tokyo, Present Day
- E-Mailbox
- Earth and Sky 1
- Earth and Sky 2: Another Earth, Another Sky
- Earth And Sky 3: Luminous Horizon
- Elements
- Enlightenment
- Enlisted
- Erehwon
- Eric's Gift
- Evacuate
- Exhibition
- Fear
- Fifteen
- Fine Tuned
- For a Change
- Fort Aegea
- Four in One
- Four Seconds
- Friday Afternoon
- Fusillade
- Glowgrass
- Goose, Egg, Badger
- Got ID?
- Grayscale
- Guard Duty
- Guess the Verb!
- Halothane
- Happy Ever After
- Hell: A Comedy of Errors
- Human Resources Stories
- I Must Play
- Identity
- Identity Thief
- In the End
- In the Spotlight
- Informatory
- Janitor
- Jarod's Journey
- Journey from an Islet
- Jump
- Kaged
- King Arthur's Night Out
- Kissing the Buddha's Feet
- Koan
- Kurusu City
- Letters from Home
- Life on Beal Street
- Lightiania
- Little Blue Men
- Lomalow
- Lurk. Unite. Die. Invent. Think. Expire.
- Magocracy
- Maiden of the Moonlight
- Masquerade
- Metamorphoses
- Mingsheng
- Moonbase
- Mother Loose
- Murder At The Aero Club
- Muse: An Autumn Romance
- Music Education
- My Angel
- MythTale
- Nevermore
- Of Forms Unknown
- On the Farm
- Only After Dark
- Order
- Outsided
- Pass the Banana
- Phlegm
- Photopia
- Phred Phontious and the Quest for Pizza
- Piece of Mind
- Planet of the Infinite Minds
- Poor Zefron's Almanac
- Prized Possession
- Prodly the Puffin
- PTBAD 3
- Punk Points
- Punkirita Quest 1: Liquid
- Purple
- Ralph
- Rameses
- Ramon and Jonathan
- Redeye
- Remembrance
- Research Dig
- Return to Zork: Another Story
- Reverberations
- Rippled Flesh
- Ritual of Purification
- Ruined Robots
- Scary House Amulet!
- Schroedinger's Cat
- Screen
- She's Got a Thing for a Spring
- Silicon Castles
- Sins Against Mimesis
- Six Stories
- Small World
- Spacestation
- Splashdown
- Spodgeville Murphy and the Jewelled Eye of Wossname
- Square Circle
- Stack Overflow
- Stargazer: An Adventure In Outfitting
- Stick It to the Man
- Stiffy Makane: The Undiscovered Country
- Sting Of The Wasp
- Stone Cell
- Strangers in the Night
- Stupid Kittens
- Sun and Moon
- Sunset Over Savannah
- Sylenius Mysterium
- Symetry
- Tapestry
- Temple of the Orc Mage
- The Best Man
- The Big Mama
- The Big Scoop
- The Case of Samuel Gregor
- The City
- The Clock
- The Cruise
- The Djinni Chronicles
- The Edifice
- The End Means Escape
- The Evil Sorcerer
- The Frenetic Five vs. Sturm und Drang
- The Gostak
- The Granite Book
- The Great Xavio
- The HeBGB Horror!
- The Lost Spellmaker
- The Masque of the Last Faeries
- The Meteor, The Stone And A Long Glass Of Sherbet
- The Moonlit Tower
- The Newcomer
- The Obscene Quest of Dr. Aardvarkbarf
- The Orion Agenda
- The Pickpocket
- The Plant
- The Realm
- The Tempest
- The Temple
- The Trip
- The Water Bird
- Thorfinn's Realm
- Threading the Labyrinth
- Till Death Makes a Monk-Fish Out of Me!
- Tookie's Song
- Trading Punches
- Transfer
- Trapped in a One-Room Dilly
- Travels in the Land of Erden
- Typo
- Unnkulia X: Escape of the Sacrificed
- Vicious Cycles
- VirtuaTech
- Volcano Isle
- Wearing the Claw
- What-IF?
- When Help Collides
- Where Evil Dwells
- Who Created That Monster?
- Winter Wonderland
- Withdrawal Symptoms
- Yes, Another Game With A Dragon!
- You Are Here
- Zero One
- Zero Sum Game