First you're a bombed-out guy in a car with a friend. Next you're an astronaut on Mars on a mission. Then you hear a splash. Then the narrator and plot shift again to match with the color of the times...

Such is the nature of Creator/AdamCadre's ''Photopia'', a 1998 InteractiveFiction work unique in the execution of its narrative and gameplay elements. While relatively brief and puzzle-light compared to many other InteractiveFiction, it uses that time to give you pieces of a large picture that gradually fills in as the game progresses. And when the pieces finally click together... let's just say that there's a reason for the game placing 1st place in its year's Interactive Fiction competition.

In the history of InteractiveFiction, ''Photopia'' marked a GenreTurningPoint; before ''Photopia'', games often used MindScrew surrealism or HighFantasy loosely bound by a huge StoryArc. After ''Photopia'', plot and puzzles became more important to the feel of a game, and slice-of-life realism overtook surrealism as the most popular environment in InteractiveFiction.

Download links for the game are [[ here]]. Cadre has dropped hints of an in-progress movie adaptation.
!!This game contains examples of:
* AnachronicOrder: [[spoiler:The sections between the astronaut story are told out of order, starting with the crash that kills Alley and ending with Alley in her crib, as a baby.]]
* ButThouMust: While you can make some different choices, the narrative is extremely linear and nothing you do affects it significantly. This is most noticeable on a replay if you [[spoiler:try to prevent the car crash.]]
* ColorMotif: The astronaut story. To brilliant effect, each section of the real life story segues into the astronaut story by a common color. For example: the red of the stoplight from the accident in the beginning segues into Mars' red soil...
* ContemplateOurNavels: In-Universe: While Alley and Alley's father are standing underneath the stars, and when [[spoiler:the real Wendy]] asks Alley why her story's kind of apocalyptic and weird.
* DecoyProtagonist: [[spoiler:Drunk guys in beginning? Nope. Wendy the pirate astronaut on an LSD adventure? Nope. Alley's father? Nope. The nervous nerd trying to ask her out? Nope. Guess who?]]
* DialogueTree: Evident when Alley's father go stargazing and Alley's date.
* EpiphanicPrison
* GodSaveUsFromTheQueen: The Queen that rules over the strange land the pirate astronaut is trapped in is a borderline HumanoidAbomination that kills almost everything with her sight. Anything that enters her realm dies or leaves. [[spoiler: Subverted in that the realm was already like this when she arrived.]]
* HumanoidAbomination: The Queen. [[spoiler: Or so it seems...]]
* JigsawPuzzlePlot: You won't fully understand what's going on until later on in the game.
* NinjaPirateZombieRobot: Wendy, the pirate astronaut scavenger who knows kung-fu.
* NoEnding: Well, there ''is'', but with anachronistic order above, [[spoiler:the game ends with Alley's father using the titular device - a kid's observatory/constellation projector - while Alley's in her crib, watching the colors blend together to make the whites of the stars. It ends abruptly as you turn off the lights to her room. The farthest point in time is Wendy's father waking up at the hospital after the car crash that killed Alley.]]
* PrecisionFStrike: There are a few in the introductory scene in the original version, but not in the newer versions.
* SameFaceDifferentName: Adam Cadre submitted this game to the 1998 Interactive Fiction Competition under the name "Opal O'Donnell", out of fear that people would associate ''Photopia'' with his earlier sex farce game ''I-0''.
* SliceOfLife: When you're not the astronaut.
* StoryToGameplayRatio: Heavily favoring the "story" side. Don't worry, it's a mix.
* TheAllConcealingI: It's not immediately clear who "you" are. Best example: [[spoiler:"The cool breeze ruffles the feathers of your wings."]]
* TitleDrop: The meaning of the title isn't made clear until the very last scene.
* TheMaze: One of the most discussed aspects of the game is how it subverts this. Specifically, [[spoiler: the maze is entirely meaningless in its layout, and the way to get out is to simply take off your space suit and fly out.]]
%%* TooGoodForThisSinfulEarth: Alley Dawson.
* TwoLinesNoWaiting: One appears to be a MindScrew, the other a relatively straightforward plot.
* UnreliableNarrator: [[spoiler:Justified, as the science fiction plot is revealed to be a story Alley is telling the kid she's babysitting. Also the reason behind the {{Tomato In The Mirror}} and {{Wing Pull}} elements.]]
* {{Unwinnable}}: Completely averted; it's impossible to get permanently stuck in the game aside from a bug in the competition version. The only thing closest to this is the maze.
* WingedHumanoid: [[spoiler: The astronaut]].