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The Home of Otter Interactive Fiction

Pool Party Reviews
Author: Christopher Cole and A Bomire
Date: 2004
TADS


What does AIF stand for? Adult Interactive Fiction. If you likely to be offended by games with sexual content, you are advised not to open these files.


Reviewed by Purple Dragon (Inside Erin Volume 4 Number 9 - September 2008)

Basic Story

Your friend Tim is throwing a pool party as sort of a last hurrah before you all head off to college. Several of your friends have always kind of liked each other and this is your last chance to see if you can get them together. Along the way, maybe you can even carve out a little fun for yourself.

Overall Thoughts

Christopher Cole and A. Bomire are two of the best writers around. When you get two titans together to collaborate on a project what you end up with is either an exceptional product, or an unmitigated disaster. Happily, in this case it is the former. The idea and much of the organization for the game started with Chris, but (as A. Bomire has mentioned) he was so open to input and new ideas that the end result tuned out to be a true collaboration and better than any other similar project I know about.

Puzzles/Game Play

It is not a secret that Chris does not really care for puzzles in AIF games. He has said before that he does not really like them in the games he plays and he typically doesn't have much in the way of puzzles in his own games. I could of course be wrong, but I see A. Bomire's hand in most of the puzzles in the game. They are not really all that hard as a rule if you pay attention to the text (yes, even the non-sexual text I'm afraid) and they are implemented very well.

For example, at one point during the game you are playing ball in the pool when it goes up on the roof. How do you get it down? Well, a ladder might be nice so you check out the shed and there it is. You drag the ladder outside and now what? In real life you would lean the ladder against the house, but will that work here? Yes it will, along with many other synonyms for doing the same thing. What it comes down to is that (unlike some games) the challenge is figuring out what to do, not figuring out what to type to get it to work.

The game is well paced for the most part. There are things you need to do to move the story on and sometimes it progresses to the next scene all on it's own. I never really felt like I was wandering around with nothing to do, nor did I feel that the game was rushing me along. In spite of the fact that the basic plot continues the in the same direction, the game has a very open feeling. There are a lot of things (and girls) to do, and you will find that it is not possible to do them all in one play through. There are many different endings to the game and not all of them are good. Most of the bad ones have to do with having sex with the wrong girl at the wrong time, but we'll talk about that below.

Sex

The sex in the game is hot, varied, and abundant (and there ain't nothin' wrong wit dat baby). There are seven girls in the game and you can do the nasty with all of them but one (and even with her you can fool around a bit). However, this is not to say that you can do them all in one play through because you can't. There are times (as amazing and illogical as it may seem) when fucking one of the girls is the wrong thing to do. So as not to spoil the game I won't spell these situations out for you but let me just ask a question. If you had a friend, and you knew that he really liked a certain girl, and you then went out and fucked that girl, what would your friend's reaction be when he found out? Enough said.

The variety of sex is one of the nice things about this game. The scenes are different from one another in regard to the girl involved, her personality and tastes, the setting, and particular actions that you can or cannot do with each of the girls, either because she doesn't want to, the setting wont allow it, or because doing so will prematurely end the game. Even if you avoid the pitfalls mentioned in the above paragraph that is not to say that a little fooling around with the girls might not be in order. Taking this approach, which is the one that provides the longest game experience, actually enhances he overall experience by even further differentiating the scenes from one another.

It is also quite possible to miss your opportunity with some of the girls. In certain cases, the game only gives you so long to make your move before moving on. Do the wrong thing, or do nothing and you will find that the ship has sailed on you. All of the above give the game a high replay value. In fact, if you want to see all the possible scenes, you have to replay at least parts of it 3 or 4 times.

Technical

Pool Party is an amazingly clean game technically. I'm not really surprised at that, since both authors involved have a reputation for creating error-free gaming experiences. However, all the variables in this game makes the feat even more impressive. I've never played a game that I found to be perfect from a technical standpoint and even here I found a couple of little things, but they are so minor that I would feel embarrassed even mentioning them, so I won't.

Final Thoughts

It should be apparent by now that I really like this game and I think it got much too mild a response when it first came out. If I have a problem with the game at all it is at the ending, well, one of the endings. In this one, after the scene with the girl you are given the opportunity to stay with her. Not just for the moment, but as if you have found your true love. This seems to be
the main goal of the game, or at least it is the only place that I found where you could get more than just sex from one of the girls, the only one where you actually end up with a girlfriend. It is a good ending, warm, tender, sexy, even a bit mushy. The problem I have with it is that I never felt there was enough build-up to the moment throughout the game. There is really no
indication while playing the game that the girl is really in love with you, or you with her. The final scene with her, and especially the beginning of it, is emotional and loving and shows some of the feeling that they have for each other, but it just seems to come a bit late. When you are given the choice to stay or not, it just feels a bit arbitrary.

I realize that's a little nitpicky of me. I guess it's the old romantic in me trying to thrust his way through my porn encrusted exterior. I imagine that not many people would have even noticed the above and certainly many may flat out disagree with me. At any rate, if it is just sex that you are looking for, you won't have any problems with the game at all. The openness and variety of the game, the logical and well-implemented puzzles, and the hotness of the overall writing make this one of the best ones out there.

Rating: A


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