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Video Game / Violet

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Calm down. All you have to do is write a thousand words and everything will be fine. And you have all day, except it's already noon.

Violet is a work of interactive fiction by Jeremy Freese: a one-room puzzle game which took first place in the 2008 Interactive Fiction Competition with an average score of 8.53.

You play as the unnamed boy/girlfriend of the eponymous Australian girlfriend who will leave you if you do not complete your graduate thesis in the next six hours. A world of distractions surrounds you and overcoming them will put your relationship to the test...

Not to be confused with the 1997 musical by the same name.

This game contains these tropes:

  • Affectionate Nickname: Loads from Violet.
  • Birthday Suit Surprise Party: At the very end. It's a long story.
  • Buffy Speak: Imaginary!Violet refers to the thing that makes the window blinds work as the "whatever". (She also notes that Actual!Violet would know what it was called, and in fact told you at one point, but you weren't paying attention.)
  • Chekhov's Gun: If you examine the vent, you find a piece of lilac thread, noted by Imaginary!Violet as being from one of her sweaters. Violet had hidden a webcam in the vent earlier to watch you solve her "treasure hunt".
  • Downer Ending: Take too long (and the game is usually generous with the time) or WAIT, and you lay your head down and cry as Violet breaks up with you.
    "I'm sorry. I can't go on like this."
  • Easter Egg: By entering the command SECRETS, you can get useful and funny background information.
  • Fission Mailed: When you finally get home after writing more than you'd promised, you're greeted by a note on the door from Violet saying she's left you (with Imaginary!Violet noting sadly that you should have seen it coming)... and then when you open the door it turns out she's thrown you a Surprise Party.
  • Gay Option: You're male by default, but you can change your gender to female by typing in FEMALE or, more humorously, HETERONORMATIVITY OFF. (There's no gay male option, however - Violet tells you bluntly that she's not changing her gender for you.)
  • Gender Flip: Changing your gender also changes the genders of several other characters mentioned — notably Marty/Molly, Colin/Camilla, and Historic Pfister.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Julia, and the player him/herself - Imaginary!Violet notes that you mentally embellish the flaws of anyone who might be interested in Violet, going so far as to call someone with a couple of tiny birthmarks "splotchy boy/girl".
  • Lemony Narrator: The player character is imagining Violet narrating everything.
  • Love Hurts: Far lighter than most examples, though. An increasing amount of puzzles requires you to destroy sentimental gifts given to you by Violet to finish your essay (and, by proxy, win back Violet), revealing that no, everything wasn't fine and dandy with Violet in the days leading up to your thesis, and that you'll have to hurt and destroy a little to save a lot. Lampshaded by Violet herself in the ending, who was watching you the entire time via webcam.
  • Mouthful of Pi: Julia once promised two men that she'd sleep with whoever could recite the most digits. They took turns reciting hundreds of digits, but in the end she went with a guy who claimed he could generate random numbers.
  • Narrative Profanity Filter: Curse words are replaced by [bother]. As Violet says, "I decided Wisconsin was turning me into such a pottymouth that something needed to be done."
  • No Name Given: Historic Pfister. You mentally refer to them as that because their parents reportedly own a hotel by that name.
  • Nonstandard Game Over: "TAKE JULIA".
  • Oh, Crap!: If you let Julia talk for too long, she eventually starts flirting with Historic Pfister. This is Violet's response.
  • Painful Rhyme: If you try writing to MC Dingo's music, you'll be distracted by his rhymes of "casino"/"albino" and "zebra"/"Deborah".
  • Plucky Girl: Shines through in every sentence of Violet's dialogue — or at least the dialogue your mind associates with her. The end dialogue notes you really flanderized her quirks.
  • Potty Emergency: Your final puzzle has you needing to relieve yourself without going outside your room (as you'll be hopelessly distracted if you do; not to mention that you're naked at this point). A handy wastebasket or bottle does the trick. Or a cactus, if you're playing as a male.
  • Ridiculous Procrastinator: The PC, full stop. Even the MP3 player being slightly too loud is enough to stop you from concentrating on your thesis! You'll almost certainly be reminded of that night you kept on being distracted from working on something super-important by various diversions while playing this game. Maybe you're even procrastinating on something while playing the game itself.
  • Right Through the Wall: It's implied that Julia and Historic Pfister are getting it on across the hall.
  • Shrinking Violet: Primrose Meanwell, one of Violet's friends. She has an album on your gimmicky MP3 player - it's mostly her shyly, quietly singing about mundane topics, but it works well enough to keep you on track.
  • Swallow the Key: You can try this, to stop yourself from getting the ethernet cable back after you lock it in the cabinet. It doesn't work.
  • Violation of Common Sense/Solve the Soup Cans: The puzzles, which range from jamming gum in your ear to keep an MP3 player from being too loud, to stripping naked. It's lampshaded in the ending, where you wonder how the Hell you ended up naked, gum jammed in your ears, piss in a pot, and holding a flower vase.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: After winning, you can use the AMUSING command to hear a little more.
  • Woman Scorned: Julia. You were dating her at one point, but dumped her for Violet. It's heavily implied Julia never got over it, and spends most of the game trash-talking Violet to an unseen acquaintance. Imaginary!Violet suspects she's come in to the office on a weekend specifically to sabotage your writing efforts.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: Not literally, but someone organized a zombie march at the park outside your flat. If you let it distract you for a while or spend too much time trying to solve the puzzles before the one requiring you to shut the march out by closing the blinds, it eventually drags in pirates, aliens, mole people, and someone even brings a zeppelin.