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Encounter 1: Tim's Mom Reviews
Author: Christopher Cole
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 A. Bomire
This is a pretty short game, and is the first in a series of games by the same author in what he terms his "Encounter" series. This game is a typical "A Night With" type of game, in that there isn't really much to the game as a game. I normally find these types of games disappointing, because they are typically a first effort by a new author testing his/her writing wings. In this case, Christopher Cole had a couple of games out when he wrote this game, and I played it because I had enjoyed his other games so much. Fans of the author who are expecting one of his normal sex romps will be slightly disappointed to discover that there is only one NPC in this game, but the amount of sex you can have with that character more than makes up for that. Overall, I found the game to be enjoyable and well-written.
As I mentioned above, there are very few puzzles in this game. Most of them have to do with what you can't do, as opposed to what you can. Without giving anything away, there are quite a few areas of the game where if you follow your natural AIF inclinations the game will be over fairly quickly. The few puzzles that lead to having more interaction with Rochelle are not all that difficult, and there aren't that many of them. Some players may have difficulty with the puzzles only because they are used to typical "treasure hunt" type of games: girl wants item, give item to girl, have sex with girl. This game has no such puzzles. In fact, the first couple of puzzles do nothing other than advance the game; they have almost nothing to do with your personal interaction with Rochelle (other than one voyeuristic experience). I think this has more to do with ADRIFT's task-oriented approach to gaming than anything else.
As with most Christopher Cole games, the emphasis is on writing hot sex, and he follows through in a style that we've come to expect from this author. You can have sex with Rochelle in various positions and various rooms all over the house, and in each situation the description is varied. As with most games by the same author, the writing is very well done. You really don't have to worry about any sexual progression (i.e. you can't rub this until after you've licked that). The one thing that I found odd is that your interactions with Rochelle are limited in the backyard, for fear of being spotted by the neighbors. This makes sense, and I can go along with it. What bothers me a bit is that some things are allowed in the backyard, like rubbing her tits or when she puts her hand down your trunks. These are definitely things that the neighbors would not misconstrue as something innocent. These are really nit-picking though, and the rest of the game is well done.
While this game doesn't have any misspellings, grammatical or game crashing types of errors, there are a couple things that the average user may find odd. This is an early game of Christopher Cole's, so his synonyms aren't as refined as they are in later games. For example, you can 'x tits' but not 'x breasts'. And although most places in the game 'rub ass' will provide a response, there is one place in the game where you can get a default 'You can't do that here' message. Again, these are somewhat nit-picking as the game overall is error free.
I think the thing that draws me back to this game on occasion is that Christopher Cole goes beyond the typical AIF game in developing the character of Rochelle, who is atypical for most AIF games. First off, Rochelle is described as being a woman in her 40's, an age that some in our community would consider ancient! (Note: I am basing this upon other games where I've read descriptions of "old" women who were in their low 30's.) Even beyond that, she is described as having a "slight hint of grey" in her hair and as Christopher Cole describes her: "She's not what you would normally call beautiful, but she isn't ugly either". To me, she is a little more real, and a little more attractive, because of this. She represents that woman you had a crush on when you were 15. Maybe she lived next door, or down the street, or indeed she was the mother of one of your friends.
Reviewed by A. Ninny
Encounters 1: Tim's Mom has an acceptably-well developed story, is engaging, offers several paths to success (or failure) and is easy to play. It is also reasonably hot. It features a slew of well-written sex acts and offers players the opportunity to do the same things numerous times in different locations and to be rewarded with different descriptions. In fact, there are more sex acts than a casual player is likely to find. You start feeling like your character has had enough orgasms well before you get close to the fifty-point maximum.
As a whole, however, Rochelle's relationship with the PC doesn't ring true for me. This is a fundamental problem, and therefore detracts from my enjoyment. First of all, what does she see in him that leads her to be seduced? That is never really explained and ends up being a hole in the narrative. But allowing that she is seduced by our hero, the stuff that happens during the sex acts just seems too unlikely. Perhaps from the perspective of a fifteen year-old's fantasy, this is how sex with Rochelle would play out - with him in control (or at least equal to her) and knowledgeable about all aspects of a woman's body and her sexual needs. The text of the game belies this, telling me that this is the first time I've ever touched a pussy. The expectation, therefore, is that Rochelle and the PC will act their respective ages - for her to be the mature one in this little relationship and in so doing provide significant sexual schooling to our young PC.
The sex in this game is practically endless. For each of four locations there is the usual litany of sex acts to perform. Each is nicely detailed and Chris has made a concerted effort to keep them varied in order to maintain a player's interest. I particularly liked that the very first sex scenes you came across convey the PC's sense of wonder at successfully seducing Rochelle (a plethora of exclamation points makes sure you don't miss that). Each sex act, once performed at a particular location, will be repeated verbatim if performed again at that same location, which makes it imperative that the player try out the various rooms if he wants different sex. Since Rochelle makes for an appealing sex partner, you don't really mind dragging her around the house with you.
My complaint about it follows from what I said earlier: the sex, while lovingly crafted, is generic. It has too little to do with the illicit nature of the situation, nor the personae of the characters performing the acts.
While the important parts of the game are reasonably clean, it does have some glitches. There are missing environment objects (the swimming pool doesn't seem to actually exist, for example), missing vocabulary, and some oddities with the bathroom window and the ladder, with her bathing suit (you can take it but she still comes out wearing it), and other low-level stuff. None of this really harms the game in a serious way. The only real complaint I have was that it took a bit of guessing to come up with the command to make Rochelle leave the backyard. A pointer on that, folks: read the readme file.
The puzzles in Tim's Mom are minimal. They aren't really even puzzles, just a few things you do to get Rochelle warmed up. Still, they are actions that make sense in context. They do their job and move the story along. This is welcome: in a short game you don't want to get bogged down. Chris also provided a complete solution in his readme for any cabbages that may happen to play the game.
For a small game, it feels very full of stuff to do, even when Rochelle isn't around. You can poke through her laundry, taste her dildo, etc. Players are encouraged to explore the small environment and try stuff.
The game has an acceptable (if somewhat incomplete) story and competent programming. It has well-written, varied sex that unfortunately doesn't match the characters that are having it, and therefore, fails to convince.
Reviewed by S. Welland
Christopher Cole remains at the top of my list for authors in AIF for all of his works, and these short encounters are another fine example of his work. I have played a few 1 NPC games and usually find them to be missing much of a plot, but this game was an exception.
The puzzles and game play followed a logical progression that led to hot sex throughout the house. It may have been my simple-minded train of thought that left me "wait"ing and trying moves throughout the house to finally get Rochelle into the pool. Not until I had exhausted all other attempts did it finally dawn on me how to get her into the pool. For the short game that it is, the puzzles and the rewards for solving them were a perfect mix.
HOT! As I mentioned before, I can only assume that many of us have had just such the fantasy as presented here, and the sex scenes were well written. Being able to repeat the commands throughout the house without being greeted by the same responses to those commands added to the overall draw. Knowing I could call Rochelle to the next room and start anew made me forget I was playing with only one NPC.
Very few technical issues we were found while I was playing, and those that I did find were small. For example, picking up Rochelle's bra, I was told there was a label on the bra. When I tried to read it, it informed me that I saw no such thing, READ BRA worked, though.
Also, even when Rochelle was wearing the bathing suit, examining it gave you the response as if she had never put it on - "…that rack would look amazing in it." Oh, and one misspelled word - rhythm.
It may appear that I'm being extremely picky, but with this well-written story, that is all that is left to point out, a few small typos.
Encounter 1: Tim's Mom being the first of four encounters left me ready to start the rest of the series, which I intend to do.
Reviewed by VISOR
Let us consider the phenomenon known as Christopher Cole. Why is he considered the de facto head of AIF and the man who, we are sure, will bestow upon AIF the respect we so crave? Consider his record. Most AIF creators make one or two great games then either retire from the genre or vanish completely. Chris Cole made 12 games, all bug free, all well written. He even collaborated on two of those games with other people, proving that his goal was not self-promotion but the creation of good games. Finally, the continual petty attacks got to him and he left the genre, like so many before. And Then He Came Back. It should be made clear that what distinguishes Cole is not that he is prolific, or indeed profligate, but that he continually holds himself and his games to the highest level of quality and insists that everyone else do the same. Which is why he gets yelled at all the time. Although he has done many excellent full-length games, part of his fame rests on his short games, with their limited rooms and small numbers of NPC's. Before Chris these games were usually variations of "A Night With That Female Television Character That I Fantasize About" Chris has done his own work in this field creating both a Lara Croft and Dr. Who game, but it is his original work, like Encounter 1: Tim's Mom that have really left their mark on the genre.
The plot of the game is simplicity itself. You are a teenage boy trying to get it on with a MILF. Therefore, the puzzles are quite simple as the whole point is to get to the sex. However, since Encounter 1 is an early work of Cole's the game does not flow as smoothly as his later work does. I found myself hung up briefly trying to get Rochelle to use the pool and I had a bit of problem manipulating the ladder. Nowadays Cole is very careful to resolve any ambiguousness in commands.
Hot. Interactive. Varied. The heart of the game. Chris Cole knows how to write erotica. He is also not shy about including embarrassing moments that do occur during the heat of passion, so that his sex scenes always feel real. It should be noted here that your character is under age (15) and Chris tries hard to bring some of that innocence to the character.
As I have said, this game is most noticeable not for what it contains in and of itself, but in the impact it has had, the most notable example being a replay of almost the entire game, only from the woman's perspective, in Dear Brian. Chris has written more complex games with better puzzles and deeper characters, but this small little package captures the essence of all that AIF should be.
Reviews should be considered copyrighted by their respective authors.
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