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Game #2059
Hall of Belated Fame Inductee  Space Under the Window, The    View all Top Dogs in this genre
Interactive Fiction   Multiple endings

Rating: 8.42 (7 votes)

Space Under the Window, The box cover

Space Under the Window, The screenshot
Some of the most original IF (and, for that matter, any game genre) you'll ever come across, The Space Under the Window is a masterpiece of storytelling that must be played to be believed. Robb Sherwin's review of this seminal game is so well-written that I'd like to quote it here in full:

"Andrew Plotkin is probably the best game designer you've never heard of, and in the opinion of this webpage second only to Marc Blank as the greatest computer game designer on earth.

Plotkin's 1997 masterpiece The Space Under the Window is, as he states "not what you're expecting". Although it was created with the text-adventure authoring software known as Inform the game does not use standard interactive fictions commands such as "get", "north" or "drop." It instead presents the player with a scene and offers an opportunity to expand on certain sections of the narrative as determined by the player's choice of words entered on the command line. The game offers a chance for its player to determine the prose presented and, consistent with all of Plotkin's work, the writing is atmospheric and chilling while seemingly attempting to claim an innocent, pedestrian flavour.

The player can create many different scenarios by choosing to focus on different pieces of the text. In virtually all cases, the end story that results is one where the world presented is as unfair, depressing and bleak as the real one with a subtle difference. Plotkin manages to distill the disappointments of reality and subtly twist them: as if all your personal problems still existed and in addition you lived in a world without the color red or ever feeling warmth, only vaguely aware that something was missing.

Except for The Sentinel, no game ever created has offered a more concrete example of the power and potential of entertainment software. Under no other medium would The Space Under the Window be possible. Playing it is accessing a glimpse of the future when this hobby has had time to mature. Its only fault is its short length. At some point you'd hope that the entertainment software industry could support art like this game and that a person like Plotkin could have eight months to devote to something as original and important as this game. Until that day comes we are forced to devour these little gems and long for true gameplay advances." Two thumbs up!

Reviewed by: Underdogs
Designer: Andrew Plotkin
Developer: Freeware
Publisher: Freeware
Year: 1997
Software Copyright: Andrew Plotkin
Theme: Unique
None that we know of
System Requirements: Inform
Where to get it:   IF Archive
Related Links:  
If you like this game, try: Photopia, Spider and Web, Sentinel, The

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