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Can I Do It? Reviews
Author: chillindawg
Date: 2005

Reviewed by Timothy Bard

In this short game, the player must try to rob a small market shop.  i enjoyed reading the introduction to the game as well as the first few minutes of playing it.

The game was a little rough in places and does need to be cleaned up.  As far as the story goes, I think it would help to know why you are trying to rob the store.  Is your family starving and you need to money to feed them or do you just need more money for more drugs?  Why does the store owner trust you so much? I certainly wouldn't trust someone so easily.

The programming also needs some cleaning up.  How can you wear things that aren't near you and how come things don't move into your inventory when you take them.

I think is games has the potential of becoming a very good short game to play.  I think that if a few things are worked on and cleaned up, it would make the game a lot better.

Reviewed by TDS

As I enter my throat starts to get dry. My hand twitches a little, but I know what I'm here for. Mr. White, the store's clerk, is reading a magazine. His face is buried in it so he doesn't notice me. I swallow hard, I start to sweat. I tell myself to calm down, but it's hard. I pull myself together right as Mr. White looks up from his magazine. He gives me a grin, and then continues to read his magazine. I look down at my bag, and my wallet. I know what to do, the question is, Can I do it?

They say a writer has to write a million words of rubbish before one begins to know what he or she is doing. I've written nowhere near a million words but my writing is much better than what it used to be. Interactive fiction is the same way, except the process isn't quite a million words and you start to pump out a decent material in much less time than you would go about creating a good novel. So please don't take this review too hard and quit writing IF immediately, as most new authors do after receiving a bit of criticism.

Starting the game I am slapped in the face by the first tale-tale sign of a crappy game. Half the introductory text consists of instructions on how to play the game. If this information was put into an "about" command the game would look much better. The second sign of a bad game is the grammatical error in the second sentence of the true introduction. The author overuses commas and uses them incorrectly most the time. In the intro paragraph there were nine commas but only two or three were necessary.

Market Front
The fluorescent lights make a strange buzzing sound as they give off a white light. The counter sits at the front of the room, behind it is the old shopkeeper Mr. White. This is a one room market, with a small stand with treats on it. To my right is an automatic door. There is a pretty big cash register on the counter. South is the back of the store.

This is the best room description in the game. Everything is listed one after another with no imagination or any kind of literary voice.

Back of shop
As I step behind the big rack of food supplies, I see many things. I see another rack of food. I see A magazine rack, and some coolers. From this angle, Mr. White can't see me. North is the Market's front.

1. Actions in room descriptions are amateurish.
2. Half the description is ridiculous. "I see this...I see this...and this...."
3. There should be no commas in the entire description.

The Way Out
I have no intentions of leaving just yet......

There should be no rooms like this. Rooms are physical places 95% of the time and this description is incongruous to the rest of the game.

When examining objects I get what I expect:

Ř x register
A big old machine used for holding cash.

One should describe objects in their description, not define them. That description told me nothing I didn't already know.

Ř x counter
An old counter top, it has a big cash register on it.

This description only tells me the counter is old. Everything else I already know. One word descriptions don't cut it in the IF world. One sentence descriptions rarely do. Telling me the counter is old isn't much because I still can't paint a picture of it in my mind.

The game itself is mediocre. Once I tried to take a candy bar and the store owner immediately calls the police. I didn't think I'd need to pay for the candy bar before picking it up. The scene when the cops enter is just...ridiculous....

Cop shoots me with the coppers pistol.

That's not all. In another scene the author switches from present to past tense for no particular reason. At one point I'm walking around the store wearing a paper bag with eyeholes cut out on my head. The camera (if there is one) has already got a good look at me by now and Mr. White should be pretty suspicious. In the universe of Can I do it? video cameras don't exist and storeowners don't suspect much from people wearing paper bags over their heads.

After managing to pull a gun out of thin air and reading the author mind I reach the conclusion of the game. The ending is classic.

I step on the mat....

That makes about as much sense detached from the game as it does within it.

This game makes me create a new rating. I usually only score from one to ten. But in this case...


*My advice to the author is to read a lot more fiction and play a lot more interactive fiction. Read interactive fiction articles and you'll cut out time spent learning how to make a good game. Just don't give up. I am very sorry for not reviewing your game sooner to give you time to improve

Reviewed by David Whyld (Reviews Exchange 7)

I wasn't expecting much from this game. The author had written two games prior to Can I Do It? One was removed from the main ADRIFT site before I got the chance to play it, although from what I hear of it I didn't miss much. The other? Oh dear… Let's just say it was bad and leave it at that. So I didn't have high hopes for this one.

It started off better than I expected. Nice introduction (although it would have had my old English teacher (the one with the grammar obsession) fairly spitting blood) but fails a little as it doesn't actually say what the aim of the game is. I figured it out from the title of the taf ("Heist") but it would have been a good idea to make it clearer in the intro.

Can I Do It? is a better game than the previous one I'd played by the author, but it's still got more holes than some very holey cheese. There are lots of newbie annoyances – GET and TAKE mean different things, so if, like me, you type the former as opposed to the latter, you won't be able to finish the game. A crucial item required to trigger the end game event only works if the TAKE command is used. I used GET, so even though I was carrying the item in question when I left the store the game wouldn't finish for me.

Some of the other problems with the game were minor, but annoying all the same. In one location, there is a food rack and a magazine rack, yet examining either of them just gives you the description for the food rack. 

There were a few lapses in logic that were pretty frustrating. I'm able to find a bag and wear it then wander around the store with it on, yet the shopkeeper doesn't think there's anything unusual about this. I'm also able to pick up items (steal them really) and leave the store without the shopkeeper doing a thing about it, yet I'm still expected to buy the items to move the game forward. I'm also kind of dubious that the shopkeeper would tell a customer where he keeps his gun just because you give him some candy. For that matter, why is the gun even where you find it and not somewhere closer to the shopkeeper? A gun out of reach isn't much use in the event of a robbery.

Some bits of the game were in past tense, others present tense which made for a jarring read at times. It could also have done from running through a spell check, and the frequent grammar errors were trying.

But all in all, it's a step in the right direction. By no means a perfect game, Can I Do It? is a marked improvement on the author's previous works and shows that, if he can start writing some proper sized games (this one was 5 KB), test them properly beforehand, and fix his spelling and grammar, he might actually have potential.

3 out of 10

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