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Video Game / A Change in the Weather

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A Change in the Weather is a 1995 Interactive Fiction game by Andrew Plotkin, and his first "serious" IF work. It tied for first place in the inaugural Interactive Fiction Competition.

The player character begins at a picnic in a meadow. Wandering off, you end up getting caught in a rainstorm.

You can download or play the game online on the author's website or IFDB.

Contains examples of:

  • All or Nothing: Make ONE wrong move, and the game is lost.
  • Epigraph: The original version contained quotations from Eric Bogle songs — "A Change in the Weather" at the beginning, and "Katie and the Dreamtime Land" at the end.
  • Minimalist Cast: The only real characters are the player character and the fox. There's also some distant presences: the crowd at the beach, and the voices across the stream during the dream phase.
  • Nintendo Hard: It's notorious for its difficulty. Once the storm begins, every move counts, and you can easily put yourself in an unwinnable state without realizing it.
  • No Antagonist: The story is about escaping from a dangerous situation with purely natural causes. There's nothing that can be pinpointed as an antagonist besides nature.
  • Scenery Porn: The environment is described in lush detail.
  • Sequence Breaking: You can skip the entire game. The game begins with the player character at a picnic, out of earshot of his friends, being moody. He wanders off to be alone, and then a sudden rainstorm occurs and he has to go through a series of events to avoid catching pneumonia. Having done that, the game is then won by returning to the starting area and going back to the picnic and his friends. It was soon discovered that the same ending can be achieved by simply going back to the picnic at the start. When this was brought up, Plotkin delivered the immortal response: "Yes, it's intentional."
  • Titled After the Song: The game is titled after the Eric Bogle song of the same name.
  • Unwinnable by Design: Once the storm begins, you can easily render the game unwinnable and not realize until later.
  • You Shouldn't Know This Already: Parodied. Early on in the game, you are told that you see a "glint" in a bush; EXAMINE GLINT reveals it to be a bucket, and you can then refer to it as BUCKET for the rest of the game. However, if you have played before and already know what the item is, you might POUR WATER INTO GLINT, which the game detects and replies it "Huh? Into a.. glint? Oh, hang on, it's a bucket. Fancy that."