Monday, 17 March 2014

Overlooked AIF Games 3

Here's another Overlooked AIF article, so you don't have to wait any longer to find out what to play! This time I've included four because one of them is... well, you'll see. Let's get on with the show!

HORSE by A. Ninny

No, this game doesn't involve an actual horse. It's about the game HORSE in which you have to land five basketball shots before the other player does. A. Ninny presents a game here that is superficially quite simple, but which works really well and is fun to play. While the actual game of HORSE is technically the impressive part, the sex is also worth your time, as the goal girl (I am struggling to come up with the right term for the object of your affections in an AIF game) is a sexy, sporty woman that made for a good sex scene. HORSE was a mini-comp entry in 2007 that placed 3rd. It was a very competitive year as Goblinboy's The Second Guest was the winner and Burnout's great A Goblin's Life came a strong second, but nonetheless it feels like HORSE got the short end of the stick. The game deservedly won a "best sex scene" Erin Award, so it's maybe not appropriate to list it in my Overlooked AIF column, but on the other hand A. Ninny never quite got the recognition he deserved so I don't feel it's inappropriate to feature him here. If you play none of the others in this article at least play HORSE.

Rogue Redux by Choices

A brief follow-on to Rogue Cop, this game didn't get as much notice because it's a lot less ambitious. It's only really one sex scene, and I believe it may have been released as a tech demo of some kind. Anyway, while it's premise expects some knowledge of the previous game, I really don't think it makes much difference - basically the setup is that there's a very religious, self-righteous, judgmental woman with a hot body and a streak of hypocritical, wanton sexuality, and you're in a position to take advantage. I could have just recommended Rogue Cop, but that's kind of an AIF classic that should be pretty broadly known about, and if it isn't then it deserves to be discussed in a different sort of article (maybe a series on the highlights of AIF).

Train by Sly Old Dog

ATTENTION: I am very conflicted about including this one. It's a very buggy game and contains n/c themes, and I don't know if I can recommend something from out of the darker corners of the back catalogue. The game does leave an impression, however, and maybe it'll at least provoke some discussion...

In this game the player is a passenger on a train who decides to grope another passenger. Sly Old Dog was controversial for releasing a lot of games which were not just untested but largely incomplete. This was during a time when there was a lot of pressure to improve the quality of AIF and purge it of the often embarrassingly poor output that was common. If Sly Old Dog was only known for Train, however, then he might be better remembered, as the game experiments with some random branching elements (what the girl chooses to do in response to the player's groping). Before you play it make sure you're okay with the concept and with the fact that it's poorly technically implemented. Don't blame me if you don't like it, though feel free to critique the game in the comments below. Oh, and play it in ADRIFT 4, as the ADRIFT 5 runner makes it unplayable outright.

Sexual Awakening by Tanner V. Chorus

As a bit of an apology for the above game, here's a bonus. This 2008 mini-comp entry is a rare case of satirical AIF. Basically this game is structured as a mockery of the works of Vachon, a prolific but much criticised AIF author from some years ago, who favored taboo themes but had very poor technical and game design implementation. He also clearly didn't have English as a first language.

Weirdly, this wasn't even the only game with this satirical idea in the 2008 mini-comp! There was also a game called Lusty Lovers by Negative Slippy Slide that is on basically the same theme. If you're wondering whether there was any community discussion that might have prompted two authors to have the same idea at the same time, I can't say I was aware of anything. They just seemed to come out of the blue. I listed Sexual Awakening because I personally felt it carried the point across a bit better, but honestly you could give them both a go as they're both in the zip file. In both games the author doesn't actually state outright that the game is a satirical AIF community in-joke, so you the player have to work it out for yourself. It was subtle enough that I'm not actually sure everyone got the joke. If you're (relatively) new to the community you may not be aware of Vachon, who was being directly parodied in Sexual Awakening, but you might get some laughs anyway if you've ever played a bad AIF game.

So what do you think of these games? Did you enjoy them? Is it pure sacrilege to list Train alongside HORSE? Or was I right to point it out? Would HORSE have been better off released as an independent game? What was up with the satirical theme of the 2008 mini-comp? And what other games do you think I should feature in the future?


  1. HORSE is fantastic, and I second the recommendation.

  2. It's been a while since I played it, but I also remember really liking HORSE.

    As for Vachon, I actually kind of miss him. His games were horribly made and their content was insulting, but every game was a fun (or funny, if you prefer) experience. It was always something to point at and think "if I ever get around to making my game, at least I can be better than that." Buddy was an inspiration. I've got to go play the parodies now.

    1. I have mixed feelings about Vachon as well. On the one hand, he was clearly a terrible author and, more importantly, had no interest in improving. On the other hand, it must have been encouraging for new authors to know that no matter how badly their game might have turned out, there was someone who was worse.

      So, while he deserved the criticism he got, given the important service he was (inadvertantly) performing I can't help wondering if he really deserved to have two games made for the sole purpose of mocking him.

      Out of interest, were the identities of Tanner V. Chorus or Negative Slippy Slide ever revealed? Given that "Tanner V Chorus" is an anagram of "Vachon Returns" I've always wondered if it was Vachon was trying to mount a comeback (although anagrams seem a bit too... sophisticated for him).

      I'm only familiar with Rogue Redux as a TADS 2 library (a successor to MMX). I hadn't realised that Choices had released a demo game for it.

    2. More likely I think the anagram is the author poking a little bit more fun at Vachon.

  3. "the goal girl (I am struggling to come up with the right term for the object of your affections in an AIF game)"
    Movie people and book authors often use the term "female lead character"

    1. I believe in much AIF a more accurate term would be "Designated Lust Interest". "Female lead character" implies a well developed character, beyond just the sex goal.

    2. Why not just something like leading lady?

    3. I personally prefer Designated Lust Object. Interest implies (to me anyway) an emotional element that's just not present in the majority of AIF.

      (shameless plug:

    4. DLO is actually what I was going for. I knew "interest" didn't sound quite right, but I couldn't come up with the world "object".

    5. I think saabie may have been sarcastic.

  4. Satirical AIF isn't really as rare as all that, is it? Blow Job Drifter, Fever Cabin, Backlot, The Tesliss Equation, that incredibly depressing minicomp game about the guy having sad sex with his wife (don't remember the name of the top of my head), et al.

    It's good to see Sly Old Dog get a bit of positive recognition for some of his work. I agree that his stuff is more than a little rough around the edges, but behind all the sorely-lacking beta testing there's a lot of ambition and character in most of SOD's games.

  5. Gave them all a try and had some fun. HORSE seemed pretty solid and was an enjoyable little game. AIF with little interactive sorts of games within the game can add a fun touch to the situation. I think it was great enough as is, but certainly wouldn't have minded a full-fledged game, perhaps with several days going by and various areas/activities.

    Rogue Redux was alright I guess, though from the sounds of it I should check out Rogue Cop instead for an actual game vs this tech demo.

    I either wasn't around for the Vachon stuff, or maybe I just heard of them being poorly made and avoided them, I'm not really sure. It does seem a bit harsh to make a game for the express reason of bashing someone, but I don't really know the situation so maybe some of it was deserved or the parody was all in fun? Either way, the game itself had some entertaining parts in it even without my knowledge of the whole situation.

    Train really wasn't my thing, but you gave plenty of warning.I just wanted to see what it was all about. Not bad or anything, and not overly shocking to me - I myself have thought of putting in some pretty 'dangerous' stuff in my own work but decided against it - but I just never cared for the whole total dom / training of girls scenarios.

    Speaking of games with taboo themes, has everyone played The Baron? Granted its a bit more IF and less AIF, but it touched on a pretty rough subject. I wasn't bothered with it in the way some people were, nor did I feel it was quite the masterpiece others made it out to be, but it was something different from the norm and certainly worth playing.

  6. HORSE was delightful, I really liked the atmosphere of the game. Ana is a vibrant character. The dreadful guess a verb stuff at the start was weird though, throw ball versus shoot ball not working was bad. Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed HORSE and I love these throwback AIF lists. Keep 'm coming BBBen!!