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Gostak, The

From the Database of Home of the Underdogs

GAME DESIGNER:Carl Muckenhoupt



Copyright 2001, Carl Muckenhoupt

One of my most favorite games in the 7th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition, and not least because I spent far more than the requisite 2 hours in trying to understand what’s going on, The Gostak is probably best described as Jabberwocky for the IF fans: a devious and clever game written entirely on an original language invented by the author, Carl Muckenhoupt. Think of the fun primitive language puzzle in The Edifice and multiply it tenfold, and you’ve got The Gostak.

Since the game’s most important “puzzle” lies in “decoding” its language, I won’t describe the plot lest I spoil the fun ;) Suffice it to say that if you like interactive fiction, love challenging games, and are patient enough to fill up sheet after sheet of strange-sounding words and try to translate alien vocabulary into English, The Gostak is your game. Perhaps the best testament to the game’s strength is the fact that I felt a lot more fun than tortured when I tried to decode the language, and the game made “sense” in the end even if I couldn’t translate many words. If you like Infocom’s Nord and Bert or recent modern wordplay titles like Ad Verbum or Bad Machine, you will have a lot of fun with The Gostak. The game requires a lot of effort and patience, but once you grok it, you’ll feel a sense of achievement that only the most insidious of puzzles can evoke ;) Two thumbs up!

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