[A review of Wade Clarke's interactive fiction title, Leadlight. Leadlight was a contestant in the 2010 Interactive Fiction competition, and combines old and new elements to create a genuinely compelling experience.]
Crossposted from TK-Nation. TK-Nation's a South-East Asian gaming site that plays home to news about quality underdogs from the gaming world, indie cosplay and video game collectibles.
Despite my long history with MUSHes and other text-based genres (does Nethack count if I don't use tiles?) I'm not really a big fan of interactive fiction. It's not a fault of the genre per se; rather, too many developers take the format and use it to slap together an unimaginative text version of a hidden object game.
To me, Wade Clarke's Leadlight is an example of interactive fiction done right. Although still full of occasionally frustrating traps and puzzles, Leadlight leverages the unique advantage of text to craft pictures in your head far more evocative than modern graphics could ever be, and all for the sake of creeping the hell out of its players.
This quality writing allows Leadlight to surpass its occasional frustrations. There are lots of traps waiting to instagib poor Belinda, but they're gruesome fun to read and always come with the option to rewind and try again. If you're ever stuck, the handy (and clever!) hint sheet quickly sets you on the right track.
Play Leadlight w/AppleIIGo: http://www.leadlightgame.com/pla2/pla2.html
Official Leadlight game website: http://www.leadlightgame.com/