It’s noon and you’ve still got 1,000 words to type. That might not seem like much, but it’s been months since you’ve last worked on your dissertation and distractions are plentiful. To make matters worse, your girlfriend, Violet, says she’s out the door and flying back to Australia if you don’t finish the paper by the end of the day.
What’s your next move?
This is the premise for Violet, a text-based computer game in which a graduate student is the main character. As the student, you must fight through countless distractions and solve a number of puzzles to finish the paper in time to save your relationship. The story is told by Violet, who allows you to examine objects in your office and ask for hints.
Created by Jeremy Freese, a professor of sociology at Northwestern University, Violet recently won the 14th annual Interactive Fiction Competition.
This reporter, whom Violet nicknamed her vegemite, her muttonplum and her mintchip, could not get past Chapter 3. Along with the noisy neighbor, Julia, my character’s exhaustion prevented me from getting any work done. Which is too bad, I guess, because I’ll never know what surprise Violet said she had in store for her “randy little wildebeest” if he finished his paper in time. —David DeBolt