by Adam Cadre
Interactive Fiction / Text Adventure
9:05 is the third interactive fiction published by Adam Cadre. It is, in his words, “a standard intro-to-IF piece” and the public opinion seems to be the same. If you’re looking for a way into interactive fiction, take this path.
9:05 harkens back to days where games like Zork were all the rage, complete with all the fun (read: frustration) of unrecognised verbs and pedantic wording. It may be quite a short game with maybe 10 minutes for your first playthrough (depending how fast you pick up on how to phrase your commands) but the multi-ending nature of it means you can play it over again.
The narrative of 9:05 places you in a bedroom, being awoken by the phone ringing. You are informed you’ve slept in too late, and given a description of the room you’re in. What a typical situation. You’re late for work, which might quell your enthusiasm to continue reading. But trust me on this one and bear with it.
You must answer the phone, and you can look around the room before cleaning yourself up and getting out of the house. Whilst in the house, there’s little you can do to affect the ending but looking around gets more story details and helps you to understand some of the endings.
Once you leave the house, however, you’re given a bit more freedom – you can choose to take certain exits on the freeway, etc. This does mean, though, that you tend to rush through the inside of the house on replays because you already know what you’re doing, and there is certainly room for more branches adding from the very beginning.
Those who tend towards impatience will often find themselves barely skimming the descriptive text and thus missing clues as to the ending they’re heading towards. Even though the sentences are stripped down to the bare bones of description, the game tends to repeat itself or you’re scanning just for the information you need right then (especially when you forget if the bathroom is to the north or south).
Cadre has almost no voice in this piece (only when telling you it’s probably a good idea to go through the tutorial first) but it’s clear he’s used to creating these interactive fictions (IFs) (no mistakes in there still being a Pop-Tart on the counter after you’ve eaten it).
One of the best things about 9:05 is the community that surrounds it. Though you can’t interact or view others’ results, it’s such a popular and well-circulated game that almost anyone you encounter who’s dabbled in IF will know what you’re talking about. Then there’s that shared smugness of knowing about the game’s secrets versus those people who haven’t read it before or gave up because the late for work trope put them off.
For all that 9:05 can put you off initially with the complicated commands and run-of-the-mill storyline, it’s not what you expect it to be. Cadre certainly knows how to put a twist in the tale and divert a reader’s expectations.
In short, if you haven’t already – whether you’re new to interactive fiction or not – try 9:05. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
You can find 9:05 and Adam Cadre’s other works at http://adamcadre.ac/if.html.