Key & Compass presents:
Playing Games
by Kevin Jackson-Mead

Playing Games is a Glulx interactive fiction game written with Inform 7 and is © 2011 by Kevin Jackson-Mead. As "Pam Comfite", the author entered this game in IF Comp 2011 where it took 28th place. This game is also part of a metapuzzle with three other games: Cold Iron, Last Day of Summer, and The Life (and Deaths) of Doctor M. At the 2011 XYZZY Awards, the four games shared the win for Best Individual Puzzle for the hat metapuzzle.

In this small puzzle game, you play as a male game player being initiated by other game players. After drinking a drink that knocks you out, you wake up blindfolded in a forest and ready to solve some puzzles.

This solution is by David Welbourn, and is based on Release 1 of the game.

SPOILERS AHEAD. Reading a walkthrough prematurely can sometimes diminish one's enjoyment of an interactive fiction game. Please make an honest effort to play the game before reading this walkthrough.


RuinedBuilding (LOSE) Roadto Town ForestClearing ForestPath End ofPath (WIN) d d d d "This wayis notfor you." SmallStoneRoom SomewhatSmallStone Room LargeStone Room u u u


Before we begin, know that there are ASCII graphics and sound effects in this game. You don't need to hear the sound effects to play this game, but you really do need to be able to see the ASCII graphics which show puzzle board layouts. Blind players should use the special command SOLVE to bypass a board puzzle. Unfortunately, there's not much game left if you skip all the board puzzles. But it's nice to have the option, isn't it?


> about. remove blindfold.

Forest Clearing

> x me. i. x blindfold. listen.

> x moon. x forest. x fog. x ruins.

> n.

Ruined Building

> x stone. x glint. take watch.

> x watch. open it. push stem. (That works: it's 10 to 5.)

> close watch.

> s. w.

Road to Town

> x bridge. x brook. x fields.

> e. e.

Forest Path

There doesn't seem to be any way to talk to the dark man.

> x man. x hat. xyzzy.

> give watch to man. (Looks like his, but he lost it at noon.)

> push stem. set time to noon.

> give watch to man. (He gives you a glowing stone and dashes north.)

> i. x moonstone.

> n. (The man says "This way is not for you.")

> e.

End of Path

> x bushes. search bushes. x trapdoor. open it. d.

Small Stone Room


The board is a 3x3 square grid, with a slot in the center and a malachite stone at the center south edge.

> x board. x malachite. x slot. take malachite.

You can't take the malachite stone. instead move it LEFT (T or W), RIGHT (R or E), FORWARD (F or N), or BACKWARD (B or S). Probably simplest to use the compass directions.

And I've marked where the invisible walls in the maze are on my map.

> w. n. n. e. e. s. w.

The malachite stone falls onto the floor and an ladder down is revealed.

> take malachite. d.

Somewhat Small Stone Room


This board is a 4x7 grid, with slot at northeast corner and lapis lazuli stone at southwest corner.

> x board. x lapis. x slot. take lapis. (Again, you must move it.)

Again, there's an invisible maze to the board.

> e. e. e. n. n. w. n.

> w. s. s. w.

> n. n. n. n. n. (Now at northwest corner.)

> e. e. s. e. n.

The lapis lazuli stone falls onto the floor and another ladder down is revealed.

> take lapis. d.

Large Stone Room

X 4 2 6 3 5 1

This board is a 9x9 with four notched areas. A hematite stone at the southwest corner; slot at the northeast corner. There's also two hidden teleports: on my map, you'll teleport from "2" to "3" and from "4" to "5". Teleporting is only one way.

Oh, and that red wall west of the "5" on my map? It only stops you going east; if you go west from the "5", you'll have to manuever back to the "2" to get back on track.

Okay, so solve this thing:

> x board.

> n. n. e. e. e. e. e. e. e. e. ("Beee-oop!" The stone teleports.)

> n. w. s. s. e. ("Beee-oop!" The stone teleports again.)

> e. e. n. n. e. s. s. e. n. n.

The hematite stone falls onto the floor and a panel is revealed.

> take hematite. x it.

> x panel. (Indentations: ivory, ebony, sapphire, and emerald.)

This hardly counts as a puzzle. It's just colour matching, and you can't even put the stones in the wrong indentations. So anti-climactic.

> put moonstone in ivory.

> put hematite in ebony.

> put lapis in sapphire.

> put malachite in emerald.

This reveals yet another ladder down. Automatically, you descend to where you find your fellow game players who started this initiation.

*** You sometimes dream of a hat, but you can never describe it upon waking ***

So, let's sum up. The game players drugged you into unconsciousness. The game players like to hang out in a lair four levels underground. For your initiation, they gave you very easy puzzles to solve, but they also cheated by never giving you a white stone or a light source.

Congratulations on winning, but are you sure this is a gaming club you want to join?




The response to CREDITS is:

Playing Games
by Pam Comfite (email redacted)

First, a few bits of important information. If you are using a screen reader to play this game, you should know that the later part of the game will have some puzzles that you will almost certainly not be able to solve. I apologize that I wasn't able to come up with a format for these puzzles that was screen-reader-friendly, but I had this idea I wanted to play with. However, all is not completely lost. When you come to these puzzles, you can simply type the word SOLVE to solve the puzzle (you'll know when you get there, because the output of your screen reader will likely be nonsense). You won't get the full effect, but you will at least be able to finish the game. And to anyone else who is reading this who isn't using a screen reader: please feel free to use that command to skip those puzzles if you would otherwise just quit the game.

In a similar vein, there are a couple of places where sound is used later in the game. The sounds are not strictly needed; they simply make it so that you are less likely to miss a couple of events happening. You can turn the sound off by typing SOUND OFF. You can turn the sound back on by typing SOUND ON. You can check whether the sound is on or off by typing just SOUND.

This game has been entered into IFComp 2011. Please vote on it and all the other competition games at by November 15, 2011. Full details can be found at the website. A walkthrough is available by typing WALKTHROUGH.

And now the list of thanks. Thanks to Stephen Granade for organizing the IFComp, and thanks to the authors, judges, and people who donated prizes. Thanks to Graham Nelson, Emily Short, and many other people for Inform 7 (, and thanks to David Kinder for the Windows front-end to Inform 7. Thanks to the people who helped improve this game with their testing and comments, and thanks to my writing group for keeping me going and for the collaboration. Thanks to my partner for allowing me time to work on this and for additional testing.

If you have any comments on the game, please feel free to send them to me at email redacted. In particular, I would love to see transcripts of the game. If you are planning to send me a transcript, you can include inline comments by typing your comment preceded by an asterisk and a space, as in:

* I have no idea what to do here!!!

Thank you for trying out the game!




There are two sound effects in this game. Both are completely optional; you don't need to hear the sounds to play the game.

The sounds are:

Use the SOUND OFF command to turn sounds off, use the SOUND ON command to turn sounds back on, and use the SOUND command to see the current sound effects setting.

Thank You to my Patreon supporters

This walkthrough is provided free of charge since the work it's based on has less than fifteen locations. Please consider it a thank you for your support!

I create larger walkthroughs too! Please visit my Patreon account if you're interested in helping me create more interactive fiction walkthroughs. I appreciate all the help I can get! Thanks again.

Support me on Ko-fi

Ko-Fi is a way to send me small one-time donations. Every little bit helps, and thank you!