After taking a month off from playing the Locked Door games, I got back to them this week by playing Locked Door VII: Out of Line.
Again, you start out in the most boring room you’ve ever seen. Bob is standing around and being useless. Rex is your faithful companion. Explore the area and, once again, you’ll find the shed and the stairs and the crate and all of the things that have been present in every Locked Door game. You’ll also find a few new rooms and a some new puzzles to solve. It may be because I was rusty after not playing the game for a month but I found the new puzzles to be challenging. Some of that is because the game still occasionally suffers from the “Guess the Verb” syndrome but, at the same time, some of the puzzles actually are clever and require some thought. The game is fun but it just needs a little bit of polish.
After I played the latest version, I glanced over the other Locked Door games. As of right now, there’s a total of 11 episodes, each with its own tag line. The tag line of Locked Door XI: The U.S. Theatrical Cut is “Can You Beta Test This Thing?” That does intrigue me. Could the game’s rough edges and guess the verb moments be intentional? From the start, Locked Door has satirized the needlessly complicated locked door puzzles that seem to show up in almost every work of Interactive Fiction. Could all of the Locked Door games be a part of an elaborate practical joke?
Maybe I’ll learn more when I played the eighth installment next week next week.
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Thanks so much for taking the time to review these games! The Locked Door series was my first successful attempt to make playable text adventures. The goal was to make the smallest text adventure possible and then to iterate on it while learning the skills needed to make something more ambitious. And also to poke fun at the medium! The series is essentially done now, and the last couple of iterations were mainly adding polish. More polish is still needed, of course, but it remains to be seen whether I will ever continue the series. My subsequent game (Hinterlands: Marooned!) is a different kind of learning experiment that pokes fun at the genre in a different way. I’m now working on a more ambitious story-driven text adventure with no release date in sight.