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Queen of Swords

From the Database of Home of the Underdogs




Copyright 2003, Jessica Knoch

Queen of Swords is a worthy winner of the “Best of Show” award in the 2003 IF Art Show, an annual IF competition set up to encourage games that focus on player’s experience and interactivity rather than on posing difficult puzzles. This entry from Jessica Knoch is a very well-written, very interesting ‘game’ that is best described as a text-only fencing simulation. The plot: you are practicing fencing with your husband David. Before you can start, though, you must put on all the necessary apparatus in the right order and attach them all properly.

Part of what makes Queen of Swords a lot of fun is all the authentic (as far as I can tell, anyway) details about real-world fencing. If fencing is your hobby, you will likely find Queen of Swords an easy game. For the rest of us, though, the game is moderately difficult, although each equipment is described in excellent detail, with enough hints about how you are supposed to use it. You will have to deal with not only obvious fencing gear such as a mask, jacket, and foil, but also more obscure equipment such as a plastron, a lam?, and a floor reel and cord that must be hooked up to the scoring equipment.

After all the fun I had setting up the equipment, it was a big letdown to see that I didn’t get to actually fence: rather than as part of the game, fencing is presented as a cut-scene/ending without the player’s input. Still, Queen of Swords was a lot of fun while it lasts, and the level of detail and well-written prose will keep every IF fan happy with this short but satisfying ‘simulation’ of one of the world’s most esoteric sports. Highly recommended!

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