Review of "History Repeating"

History Repeating is a Z-code 5 interactive fiction game written with Inform 6 and is © 2005 by Mark Choba and Renee Choba.

Review by David Welbourn

I liked this one okay, but I don't think I'll ever be very enthusiastic about any game that takes place in a school. I certainly wouldn't want to relive my school days, and I'd have some choice words to say to any science teacher who bought me back against my will.

(Incidenly, the premise doesn't make sense if you think about it too much. How does Hopkins, your science teacher, know that you didn't hand in your history report, or that failing to do so would have such an impact on your life? Isn't he from the past where none of that has happened yet? You must suspend your disbelief and just accept that Hopkins knows anything you know.)

Gameplay could have been a bit better. I managed to complete the game without hints, though, so my complaint isn't too serious. Still, the NPCs were rather wooden and could've had more topics to talk about. And I fumbled a bit too much for comfort when trying to use the library and the stereo. Some additional hints would have been nice.

Possibly the most problematic part of the game is only apparent near the end, when it matters what you did 15 minutes ago, and if you didn't do a certain action recently, an important opportunity is lost. The problem with this design is that the player has no reason to expect this sort of situation, and may well have done the action much earlier, or dawdled since doing it. This means that the player may well have to replay the entire game just to set things up properly. And it's an unnecessary burden on the player; the 15 minute limit is completely arbitrary.

Ah well. I did say I liked it. I guess that's the main thing.

Rating: 5

✍️🏻 See my handwritten notes.