This Won’t Make You Happy is an entrant in the 2021 Interactive Fiction Competition. All of the entries can be browsed and experienced here.
You are standing outside the Caves of Despair and you’re feeling sad. Maybe it’s not a good idea to go into the Caves of Despair, then. Maybe you should stand outside and check your phone. Take a look at Twitter. Check out your dating apps. Play a game … you know something? Caves of Despair are looking pretty damn good right now.
Inside the Caves of Despair, there are gems! That shouldn’t come as a surprise to any Interactive Fiction veteran. How many games have we played where we were supposed to be happy just because we found a gem or a diamond in some musty old cave? This Won’t Make You Happy is one of the few games with the courage to directly address the absurdity of wasting your imaginary life on not only gems but also protecting them from obnoxious gnomes.
This Won’t Make You Happy is a meta game that comments on the shallowness of hunting for gems and paying attention to a narrator. It’s the type of game that will probably annoy people searching for a more traditional IF adventure but I liked it because it addressed several issues that I always wondered about whenever I played any of these games. For instance, who is the narrator and why are we following his orders? It’s a quick game and there’s enough funny moments that it’s worth replaying.