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Survival in New York City

From the Database of Home of the Underdogs

GAME DESIGNER:Bert Lewis

GAME DEVELOPER:Keypunch

GAME PUBLISHER:Keypunch

Copyright 1986, Bert Lewis

Survival in New York City is a marginally above-average interactive fiction title, included in Keypunch’s Swords and Sorcery package. Given Keypunch’s notoriety as the company that kept stealing other people’s games (mostly public domain works released via BBS’s), it is no surprise that designer credits are nowhere to be found in this game.

History of sleaziness in the computer gaming industry aside, Survival in New York City is not a bad game. Your goal at the beginning of the game is to escape from a New York City ghetto, then find adequate food and shelter as soon as possible. To survive, in other words.

The writing is short, but to the point. It looks like a typical text adventure except for one strange and glaring omission of THE one word that 99.9% of all text adventures support: the command “LOOK.” That’s right – there is no way to look at, or examine anything in this game. What it tells you in the room description is all you get. On the upside, that means you won’t have to worry about hidden objects that can only be revealed through repeated examinations; in this game, most objects you can get or interact with are lying in plain view. One nice feature is the existence of multiple solutions to many puzzles. This gives the game a good non-linear feel, even if many of these choices belong simply in either the “violent” or “non violent” categories. Another nice touch is that you will see different endings depending on how you solve the puzzles.

Survival in New York City is definitely not one of the best interactive fiction works you will play, and the parser is nowhere near Infocom’s level of versatility. Regardless, it is a neat little game that features some concepts – multiple solutions and multiple endings – that are not so common in the heyday of text games. Well worth a look.



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