is a one-room Interactive Fiction
game by Andrew Plotkin that takes place in the player character's apartment the night before a planned trip to an arts festival. Your ostensible goals are to complete your household chores and make sure that you have everything ready for your trip. Of course, things become more complicated later on...
To say anything more would spoil this game's unique playing experience; in fact, most of the tropes listed below are major spoilers
in name alone, so it's strongly recommended to play through the game at least once before reading them (and the YMMV page). Just keep in mind that Shade
won the 2000 XYZZY award for Best Setting and was a finalist for many other awards in spite of it taking place in only one location, which should tell you something about its quality and ability to linger in players' minds long after completion.
You can download the game here
or play it online here
This game contains the following tropes:
- All Just a Dream -> Or Was It a Dream?
- But Thou Must: Either you do the actions required to advance the plot, or you stay stuck until you do.
- Creepy Changing Plant: Over the course of the game, your hyacinth plant turns into a spider plant, then a fern, and finally a cactus.
- Dream Apocalypse: Made even creepier by how you seem to actually be exulting in smashing the remnants of your doomed dream midway through the game.
- Dying Dream
- Foreshadowing: Your thirst at the beginning of the game, the radio broadcast about people missing in the desert, the helicopter you hear passing over your apartment...
- Hope Spot: You find yourself back in an intact apartment after seemingly turning almost everything in it to sand, and you hear the sound of your taxi ride to the airport pulling up outside. Except that when you try to do anything, your entire apartment vanishes, leaving you stranded in the desert.
- Last Place You Look: Your airplane tickets will always be in the last of three possible locations you search.
- Mind Screw: Okay, you're most likely suffering from a near-death hallucination in the desert, but what's up with the shadow that tries to hide from you, is harmed if you so much as speak to it, and says "it's my turn now" when it's supposedly "dead"?
- Surprise Creepy