[ After such knowledge, what forgiveness? Think now
History has many cunning passages, contrived corridors
And issues, deceives with whispering ambitions,
Guides us by vanities.
– T. S. Eliot, Gerontion (1920)]
Welcome to JIGSAW
[Please press SPACE to begin.]
Interactive fiction/text adventure is a genre which was, for a decade between the 1976 release of Colossal Cave Adventure/ADVENT and the 1986 acquisition of Infocom by Activision, dominant. Then it sort of fell off a cliff into niche territory, slightly above train simulators in cachet, dominated by hobbyists that hacked apart the code of earlier games and eventually reverse-engineered languages and interpreters to make their own.
Almost exactly a decade later, JIGSAW was released, in 1995. Created by Graham Nelson, a Fellow in pure mathematics at St. Anne’s College at Oxford and poet, it was his fourth game.
I like JIGSAW, a lot. There are more affecting games, there are less obtuse games, but it’s clever and strikes a nice balance between interaction and fiction, somewhere in between Adam Cadre’s Photopia, Emily Short’s Galatea, and the old Infocom games.
JIGSAW is a huge game, broken up into a series of levels, which are more-or-less self-contained. All of these are timed, and many of them have fairly difficult puzzles. So, what I’ll be doing is letting you all decide what to do first. If you can successfully complete the level before time runs out, great. If not, that’s OK, because I’ll upload a “perfect” run afterwards, along with commentary on the level. I also reserve the right to fudge a little with commands to synchronize things- if Person A changes rooms and Person B wanted to interact with something in the other room, I’ll move back to the other room instead of posting Tim Allen noises.
With that being said, let’s begin.
Prologue - Century Park
New Year’s Eve, 1999, a quarter to midnight and where else to be but Century Park! Fireworks cascade across the sky, your stomach rumbles uneasily, music and lasers howl across the parkland… Not exactly your ideal party (especially as that rather attractive stranger in black has slipped back into the crowds) - but cheer up, you won’t live to see the next.
An Interactive History
Copyright © 1995 by Graham Nelson
Release 3 / Serial number 951129 / Inform v1600 Library 6/1
Standard interpreter 1.1
At one side of the great Park, on a gravel path which runs west to northeast beside poplar trees. Crowds of celebrants are enjoying themselves to the north, having abandoned the canvas marquee east.