Why aren't people playing/praising/proselytizing Counterfeit Monkey?


Likely to be eaten by a grue

tldr at the boilerplate: Emily Short is a great game creator and her latest work, Counterfeit Monkey is fantastic, while espousing some core game mechanics you wouldn't expect in a... Also: Metroidvania Zork.

The easy answer: It's a text adventure.

Now, like how Scott McCloud would have you call comic books, graphic novels, most would have you call text adventures the more erudite Interactive Fiction. What's funny about Counterfeit Monkey is that it is quite literally a text adventure.

i can edit posts from years ago? 2017

You awake confused, conjoined, configured as a living portmanteau called Alexandra. You are Andra. The other person running the internal monologue is Alex. What? The crazy is dripped, and it works with a very strict internal logic that's not unwilling to be just general logic. Even here, with text adventures having a traditional with the second person as the narrative toure de force, we get a little extra. Amnesia is played out, but having your character's brain be a timeshare allows for a lot of great conceits to play out, bolstered by a great verb REMEMBER that allows you to recall Alex and Andra's specific memories about things you come across. In media res is good and all, but if you put me in someone shoes, let me know a bit.

(I will know spoil the first real puzzle of the game. It made me audibly squeal with pleasure, as I ignored the tutorial messages that would have made my manipulate my environment without a payoff.)

So, as a groggy not-quite-entirely amnesiac, you find the streets of Atlantis empty. There's a holiday. Maybe gerunds are being celebrated? The streets are empty, you need to recover your (Andra's) stuff, as well as Alex's backpack, squirreled away in an art cinema.

There's a gate, a padlock that needs a numerical code. You are by a museum, which has an ancient codex in the window. But really, it's more of just a codex. The idea of ancientness isn't really applied to it. That will important later on. On your person is a simple letter remover.

What the hell is a letter remover? Well, examining it and futzing about, and that big old X on the codex inspires some thought.


Hot damn, we have ourselves a code. The door is open, and we proceed.

The base "weapon" of the game is the letter remover, but we are given to the perverted art projects of serial palindrome enthusiasts, homonym paddles (a toolbox screwdriver becomes a refreshing adult beverage) as well umlaut punchers, and the amazing anagram gun.

Your letter remover itself is upgraded throughout the game to make abstracts and living things. Gels and pastes, inserters, British spellings, and the Basque language all come up with satiric bits that makes the parts of speech more lively than any English teacher could wish.

Did I mention this game has multiple solutions? More spoilers. You need fuel. i was able to spare removing the N's from my funnel (leading to the anagram gun making a delightful elf nun later on.) Hard mode adds adjectives to a lot of items, giving even more replay, making that pear into a prickly pear, not so easy to make into an ear. You know, to scare the young american at the hostel who likes those Eli Roth films?

Did I mention this game has achievements? Again, spoilers. There's a cinema, with a projector. I have a letter. Later, I can make abstracts, remove the t's and have a leer. Nasty thing. I take it to the art project that reflects words spellings, and get a reel; a fishing reel. I take the reel to the licensed bartender who has that homonym paddle, she hits it and I know have a film reel. I watch it. I get an achievement.

Adventure games were always filled with great little moments off the beaten track that would reward you with their content. Achievements may be dumb, but the acknowledgment works with the faint metroid feel I get from the abilities and areas I uncover.

Ok, that's enough, but the plot is also fun and highly allegoric (I love that stuff) there's only a few real speedbumps, and with the nouns being the thing, the guess the verb stigma of interactive fiction is slight.

A great game, and a great text adventure.


Say yoho

oh yeah get it here http://emshort.wordpress.com/2012/12/31/counterfeit-monkey/


Likely to be eaten by a grue
ugh. mod, can we change this to "the Portal of Text Adventures" before it's off page 1? People will like this game...


I shall play this because of 1) Emily Short and 2) your avatar, but having to dl a separate interpreter with multiple caveats is certainly a bit of a hindrace.


Pizza Dog
I hadn't heard of this. Will give it a shot!

Edit: oh wait, I do not understand what I need to download to play this. Does it not work with regular text adventure software? What is UNDO? Do I need to run it in some sort of Linux emulator?

Double Edit: Yeah, I read a bit more. I think I figured out what I'm doing.


Likely to be eaten by a grue
Yeah, most interactive fiction is written in bytecode, so good news is that it runs on just about anything, bad news you have to download an interpretor, but these are relatively small files, and Emily has a list of interps right on the page
Heh, trying to stay on first page for more than 30 minutes with a thread about a text adventure is harder than mapping the maze in Zork :)
Saw your post/review on ifdb (it's linking back here) and I wanted to thank you for the heads up.


a kinder, gentler sort of Scrooge
Also: Metroidvania Zork.[/QUOTE]

Oh sure the humour, the obscure archaic words that are usable even though not needed, aluminium over that silly aluminum, anagrams, and the incredible richness that this game offers you to imagine as you read and write are all well and good, but it's the exploring and returning to try out new things as often as I want really made this the game for me.

It's been a long time, but I finally have an Adventure game that beats The Hobbit for me Thanks for making the thread xir.


Ooh, that's great. I never really got into these independent text adventures — my only experience was finishing So Far (and enjoying it!), mostly stuck with the earlier Legend games.

This one sounds very promising, works good with Gargoyle for Windows too.


Well, that was certainly some of the most fun I had with a game in 2013 so far. Thank you for bringing it up, and I never knew about Emily Short's work either.
A video review of a text adventure game? It must be a first for GameTrailers!
Very happy to see CM getting some more coverage. I suppose it will dominate the upcoming XYZZY Awards. Are there any other good contestants I should play?


Likely to be eaten by a grue
Well, that was certainly some of the most fun I had with a game in 2013 so far. Thank you for bringing it up, and I never knew about Emily Short's work either.

Emily Short is sort of a rock star, but what I like'd about CM is how much of a goddamn video game it was as well.

Andrew Plotkin's kickstarter should hit this year, if we're lucky.
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