Murphy’s Law

The desire to create a painstaking simulacrum of reality is a common pitfall for beginning authors, whether writing interactive fiction or not, with the resulting work running the risk of all too well recreating every day tedium. Murphy’s Law takes on this cliche head on with a twisted and satisfying depiction of the banality of paying one’s bills. Sprinkled through out the game are clues to the PC’s back story and personality, and these details pull the player into the mind state of the unfortunate PC. One puzzle had me stumped for a moment until I realized that I was approaching it from the way that I personally would take on the situation. When I tried approaching the puzzle from the perspective of the PC,  it not only made perfect sense but provided that a-ha moment that makes interactive fiction so wonderful. While I enjoy experimental IF, Murphy’s Law is more like a good pop song: concise, cohesive, and fun.

Not a week after playing Murphy’s Law, I had a very nasty paper cut at work. My boss was somewhat alarmed, and I was more than a little embarrassed, when they saw me digging through the first-aid kit. I explained: it’s just one of those days.


Thieves often get the short end of the stick when it comes to characterization in role-playing games. Paladins get to cut through hoards of orcs, while mages blast lightning bolts from their fingers. But thieves end up as skulking and sketchy, or, even worse, as nothing more than portable trap detectors. Being a thief isn’t just about picking pockets and finding trip wires. It’s an attitude, a way of life, and Valkyrie captures it delightfully. From one of the thief endings:

“It took three hours and a ‘borrowed’ van but I managed to steal every last coin in the room without anyone noticing … I returned home and began planning a new life with my acquired fortune happily thinking that I now didn’t have to rent a van to move.”

I’ve had to move often in recent years, each time shelling out several hundred dollars in U-Haul fees. You think a mistress thief is worried about that? Nah.  She’s got it covered.