IF Comp 2019: Girth Loinhammer and the Quest for the Unsee Elixir

girth.pngGirth Loinhammer and the Quest for the Unsee Elixir (Damon L. Wakes, Twine) is a short fantasy comedy. The protagonist is a dark-lord type, but people only visit his dungeon for kink purposes, and he’s sick of it.

There are far fewer sex jokes than the title and premise might suggest, and a lot more jokes about drinking, wanton destruction, heroic adventure tropes, doing stupid shit, fucking up, and drinking some more. The most consistent source of jokes, though, is the character sheet. The game is premised as a pen-and-paper gamebook, but it’s there entirely so that it can give you traits with silly names, ask you about them, and berate you for obvious cheating. (You’re not really expected to actually use it.)

I’ve played a bunch of comedy games so far in the comp, and I feel as though a lot of my responses to them are kind of similar, so here’s an informal scale:

7: actual lol
6: this delights me
5: clever; almost funny
4: goofs I’m not mad at
3: joke tedium zone
2: legitimately unclear whether this was meant as comedy?
1: just an asshole

Depending on how tired I was when dipping in, Girth Loinhammer got somewhere between a 3 and a 5. I played it a bit in the evening when I was kind of tired and grumpy and my basic takeaway was ‘I guess it’s not awful but I don’t really see the point of this Asylum shit.’ I played it a little more in the morning during a soothing rainstorm and my response was more along the lines of, well, I’m still not laughing but it’s fundamentally capable prose, it’s got some smart enough moments, and it’s managing to do this register of comedy without really feeling like it wants to shit on anyone.

I feel like this is a 4: it’s not trying to do anything very ambitious, you won’t be missing out if you skip it, but it’s doing OK for the thing it wants to be.

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