by Ian Finley
A gifted storyteller can create an entire world from scratch and treat it as if it is as normal and natural as the world we are used to living in. A brilliant science fiction author can enchant us with a vision of the future, and at the same time frighten us with where our culture may soon be heading.
Ian Finley, author of many classic IF games, created the most enchanting—and downright scary—IF vision of the future with the aptly titled Kaged. The game casts you as a grey-uniformed worker in the "Citadel of Justice" in the Office of Documentation, where you serve as the Registrar of Seals. Your entire adventure takes place in the Citadel, as you investigate the cause of a "madness" that is spreading. The effects in the Department of Enforcing and the Office of Filing have already been fatal, and your covert investigation (done behind the back of the High Inquisitor, a dangerous proposition to be sure) will lead you to a breathless split ending allowing you a final choice in your destiny.
More than any other IF game I have ever played, Kaged allowed me to truly visualize my world. The walls of the Citadel are cold and grey, cameras everywhere to ensure no employee dissension. The living quarters are sterile and unwelcoming. It is somehow enchanting, but frightening also, and the ultimate resolution of your quest is remarkably satisfying.
Kaged was entered into the 2000 IF Competition, and came away with a hotly-contested victory in what many have called the best competition ever. Tragically, it was almost completely shut out in the XYZZY's, with only a nomination for Best NPC. Surely the single greatest science fiction game to ever spring out of the community deserved better. This is the type of game that can enchant the sci-fi fan, and make a fan out of the sci-fi skeptic.
In short, Kaged is an absorbing and compelling work of art, and a must-play for everyone who loves getting lost in a story.
We're in the home stretch now; two to go!Continued on the next page...