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Ideal New England Prep School Reviews 

Author: NewKid
Date: 1998

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. Ninny

Overall thoughts:
The main thing that I observe about HI is that it is very large, and that it takes a great deal of time (read: days) and dedication to play. While there are other games with more rooms and more characters (HI has about 50 rooms and at least a dozen actors), the scope feels bigger than other large games, simply because it takes quite a while to get a feel for the layout of the map and to get a handle on what kind of tasks are necessary to progress through the game. Plus, the player has to continuously do a LOT of walking around the school, which gets a little tiresome.

It is all worth it.

HI has great atmosphere, characters and sex. It is a fabulous challenge, with difficult puzzles. The description of the school, with its quad and its athletic fields, feels right on, even down to detail of the steam tunnels. The significant NPC’s are really quite rich, and even though they don’t have many responses to ‘ask NPC about TOPIC’ questions, they are made to feel real enough through the situational dialog that NewKid gives them. I found myself actually more attracted to some of them than I get to most AIF characters (I was even wishing for an option in which the PC would end up with Laura). Many of the lesser characters are hardboiled, like Liz (the school druggie), who is too stoned to react when you feel her up, and like Muffy (the nose-in-the-air elitist), who won’t even look at you, and who (of course) has never had decent sex before you manage to seduce her. The male NPC’s are almost completely decoration. Fortunately, the fact that many characters are hardboiled or flat doesn’t detract much from the richness of the game. In fact, I found them to add a layer of humor. You know they are minor characters, so you don’t really care that they are ridiculous.

The main goal of the story is to score with Miss Wynne, the sexy art teacher. She is definitely a worthwhile goal, and seducing her requires the player to interact with her numerous times over the course of the game, to solve a lot of puzzles, and to sleep with all the other (female) characters. The slow build-up between the player and Miss Wynne is particularly well-written. The excitement and the feelings of mutual desire between the PC and Miss Wynne increase slowly and steadily as the game progresses. Even before the end, the two are nearly overwhelmed by horniness, but restrained by feelings of propriety that must be removed in order to open up the final scene. The number of ‘hoops’ that players must jump through to get to Wynne makes you want her all the more. All this build up of anticipation is obviously deliberate and is very effectively constructed by Newkid.

Even if the sex in HI wasn’t good, the game as a whole would be pretty fun. Fortunately, the sex is very good. NewKid has a great skill for erotic writing and the escapades are detailed, varied, immersive and very hot. The ultimate scene with Wynne at game’s end goes on forever, with changing descriptions based on what room you’re in, though for an unknown reason her arousal keeps getting reset to zero and you and she keeps getting dressed. The minor characters’ sex scenes are less hot but still entertaining, as they refrain from being generic (they nicely reflect the NPCs’ general traits) and instead serve somewhat as sexy humorous interludes.

If I have a complaint, it is that the NPC’s are given limited chances to act on their own. There are almost no instances where an NPC will rub their own body parts or give the PC a hand job, and ‘NPC fuck me’ is not treated differently than ‘fuck NPC.’ Also, the word ‘cock’ isn’t recognized by the game and no separate object is defined for the player’s penis. Despite these few shortcomings, the sex in HI acts to strengthen an already great game.

HI was the first large AIF game to be written in TADS. It, along with Moist (first released in 1996), NewKid’s Generic New York Apartment and Choices’ Rogue Cop (both released within about six months of HI), made TADS the language of choice for AIF until the arrival of Christopher Cole and the ascendancy of ADRIFT several years later. I also understand that there were no sex actor libraries available for NewKid to use (he wrote and released his own Chick.t libraries only later), which makes HI an even bigger achievement. This all means that HI is a bit rough. In fact, NewKid wrote at AGX in 1999 that “HI's [source code] looks like the aftermath of the quake in Turkey!” Even knowing this, I didn’t find any horrible game-crashers, but there are bugs remaining, even after all this time. As a humorous example, at one point I typed ‘give head to Madeline’. Now, at the time I typed this, there were two possible things I could have intended. I did intend ‘give Head photo to Madeline’ but could have intended to have oral sex with her. The game came up with something completely different, and the response was “You're not carrying a blowjob,” which cracked me up. Another example of a funny logic bug is NewKid’s insistence that the player not remove his pants before his shirt (“You would look pretty ridiculous with your dong hanging down from under your shirt. Only babies run around wearing a shirt but naked from the waist down!”) Unfortunately, he doesn’t reverse the process, letting me put my shirt on first so I can run around with my dong hanging down….

Puzzles/Game play:
As I mentioned previously, the game play in HI gets annoying, simply because so much walking around is necessary. This seems to be by design: NewKid deliberately made the game difficult and long. There are a lot of characters, some with numerous puzzles to solve, and it is difficult at times to figure out what object(s) go with what puzzles, simply because of the numerous possibilities for each. I found most of the puzzles themselves to be quite difficult. Many of the clues are subtle, and if you miss the chance to read some one-time descriptions, you can miss their clues altogether. On the plus side, the game is fairly circular – you don’t have to proceed through many of the puzzles in a set order, though some actions open up other areas of the game and serve to move the plot – and there aren’t any rooms that get locked and refuse to let you obtain a necessary item.

HI was the game that established once and for all that AIF didn’t have to take place in the Star Trek universe :).

Final Thoughts:
HI is in the AIF canon for good reason. It is a classic that, while beginning to show its age a little, is a great deal of fun for any player willing to invest a lot of time playing it. I gave it an ‘A’ despite the unresolved technical and structural issues, many of which are probably due to HI being in the vanguard of ‘modern’ AIF and most of the different permutations hadn’t been explored within the genre.

Rating: A

Reviewed by S. Welland

Overall Thoughts:
It became quite obvious while playing this game that NewKid spent many long hours developing this game. The map is huge, the details superb and the plot as original as they come. This was not one of the thrown together games you so often spot in the archives of AIF. The map itself became a little overwhelming, though, as did the long jaunts between rooms to complete a task. NewKid did make me wish that I could go back in time and change schools, as this was indeed, the Ideal High School.

Puzzles/Game play:
As I have said in many of my reviews, I love puzzles, and this game delivered many of them. For the most part, the goals for each puzzle were tied in well to the game play. A few, on the other hand, were drawn out and required a trip or two to the Internet looking for assistance. As with Amy and the lost bracelet, I spent quite some time searching for the bracelet when it was lost. I knew I needed it, but I “couldn’t get there from here”. Not until later did I “stumble upon it”. The bag of Oregano had me going for a long while, as well. I was not able to complete this game without assistance, and I can only imagine that it will be the same for most players.

The sex scenes were not hot, they were scalding. Each of the five senses was brought into play, as well as a detailed description of the thoughts racing through your mind at the time. There is no doubt that each encounter was taken seriously and the author spared no expense to ensure the boiling point was reached time and time again.

Technically I found some problems that took away from the game play. To complete the game, you had to have photographs of all of the NPCs, but some of the photos were not easy to obtain. While standing on top of the pile of debris, I was only able to get Amy’s pic by reading the note in the walkthru. I found neither hint nor mention of there being a vent to look through to get the photo. This occurred on a few other occasions as well.

Final thoughts:
HI was an enjoyable game and the sex scenes were the ultimate reward for traipsing through the long halls of this school. The only drawback I experienced was a few important items not being described or mentioned in the descriptions. Had those items not been crucial in completing the game they would have been overlooked as minor little glitches. This game is well worth your time, but do yourself a favor, have the hints within reach.

Rating: A-/B+

Reviewed by A. Bomire

Overall thoughts:
This game ranks way up on my list of favorite games (as evidenced by the fact that I included one of the scenes from the game in my game The Backlot). Although it has a lot of difficult puzzles, the rewards are well worth it. The sexual tension between you and most of the female NPCs just builds and builds in a way that no one does better than NewKid. For all of its quirks and problems, this is still an extremely enjoyable game.

Puzzles/Game Play:
This game has a lot of puzzles, mostly of the "treasure hunt" variety. However, NewKid does an excellent job of blending them into the storyline so it doesn't actually feel like a "give girl item A, have sex with girl" type of puzzle. The puzzles are meaningful and integrated into the game. That doesn't mean they aren't doozies. Some of them will have you tearing your hair out! There is one "guess the verb" puzzle that throws off most players. At one point in the game you have to "swap" an item with another. You can't pick up one item and then put the other in its place, you have to "swap" or "switch" them. There isn't really anything to lead you to this understanding, other than your own inventiveness or frustration so that you are just typing anything to get it to work.

I was very surprised when I went back to play this game with the intent of reviewing it. I have played this game so many times I thought I had it practically memorized, and yet I found typos, misspellings, and other technical glitches that I had here-to-fore overlooked. There are two glaring ones: two of your female students leave their rendezvous with you to go stand naked in the middle of the quad, despite having descriptions of redressing before they go. So, there they are, blandly strutting about the campus completely naked. Another not quite so glaring issue is the opening scene with Miss Wynn. She comes jogging down the street and goes into her house. Meanwhile, you can go back to the school to find her painting in her classroom. Then, you can return to the house to find her still there in her jogging suit. Most people probably won't notice this as they are too eager to get on with it by joining her in the house, but it is a pretty big issue. The greatest thing about this game is that you are so caught up in the storyline and the characters that you don't even notice these issues.

What can I say? If you haven't played one of NewKid's games, then go out and download one right now! Play it! Then come back and read this review to see if I haven't hit the nail on the head when I say that he is one of the better writers out there, if not the best. The sex is hot, and made even hotter by the anticipation that NewKid builds into the game. The scenes with Laurie the athlete and with Madeline the foreign exchange student are long and slow, building to the final encounter with each girl. And these are nothing compared to the long seductive dance that takes place between you and Miss Wynne. This is an area where NewKid shines in all of his games, and this game stands out among the rest as the pinnacle of his achievements in this area.

Another area where NewKid shines is in his character development. His NPCs aren't just cardboard cut-outs of typical high school students. You have the stuck up Muffy, whose character changes as the game goes on in a way that I don't think I've seen in any other game. There is the hot teacher Miss Wynne and the nerdy Amy, and many others already mentioned. They all have their own personalities and quirks that make them unique. There are also a host of sub-characters that play along: the pot-head janitor, your computer nerd roommate, the grumpy post office clerk Mrs Grundy, and others. All of them give a feeling of a school that is actually "peopled" instead of the stiff and empty feeling you get from a lot of other "school"-based games.

Final Thoughts:
As I said at the beginning, this is one of my top 5 games. I love the way it is written and plays. Up until the time I started this review, I would have rated this game with top marks. Unfortunately, to be fair to other authors I've reviewed I have to knock down my score because of the technical errors I found scattered throughout the game. However, don't be deterred by this. As I mentioned above, once you start playing this wonderful game you'll become so absorbed by it I bet you'll never notice the problems, much as I did for many years.

Rating: B+

Reviewed by Unknown

Ideal High School is about, funnily enough, a high school where most denizens thereof can be blackmailed into sexual favors. I would have ended the previous sentence with "fairly easily" except that there is nothing easy about it. In fact, very little comes easy to the player at all in this game.

What we do have in Ideal High School is an expansive environment. The game has a multitude of rooms, locals, characters and subplots. The player is takes over the part of a young man at said high school, remarkable for the fact that he is able to have twenty to twenty five orgasms within a single day. That super power alone should get you into the Justice League. Hell, kick out the Green Arrow. Yes, I am impressed by his power (foreshadowing the goatee's dominance by thirty years -- or was it that bow thing?) but the player of Ideal High School genuinely has greater stamina, strength and puzzle-solving ability.

NewKid's game has a lot going on. There is a class election (which you can help rig). There is a sexy Euro pleading for help on the annual. There is a long-distance runner that can get caught cheating. Helping people in this game almost always leads to people getting greasy. Look, if you want a morality play there is always, um, Everquest. Or Jigsaw or something.

Although a high school wouldn't initally seem like the kind of locale that would require extensive mapping, the one in this game most definitely does. In that way it is similar to Spellcasting 101: Eventually you will learn the game's makeup and map structure pretty well. However, until you do it's easy to gloss over exits you have not taken. In that regard, this feature is a good thing. Yes, you have to break out a piece of paper and pencil, but it's only because there are so many areas for which to adventure.

The NPCs are well developed -- not simply for this genre of game, but in all of IF. The solution to the NPCs predicaments may be somewhat predictable, however, they do all seem to have their own lives and definitely all have their own in-game agendas. That Ideal High School was not nominates for an XYZZY Award in Best NPCs last year shows either a deliberate bias against AIF or AIF Fan's general laziness when it comes to vote. (Or it could be lack of publicity: I had no idea the game existed until a couple weeks ago.)

Unfortunately, many, many of the puzzles in the game require you to know an exact, somewhat obtuse, phrase to get things done. It may seem like the different girls in the game are somewhat frigid when they shouldn't be, however, it may be simply that you have not entered your commands to the parser's satisfaction. I played much of the game with a walkthrough in order to get the specific phrasing down. I didn't see an in-game hint menu, so it's difficult to imagine exactly what the author had intended. For instance, the command "girl, suck me" will result in, well, you get the picture. Other synonyms or alternate modes of expressing that desire seem not to be implemented. Second-level nouns are right out. It's often difficult to know what effect your actions are having on gameplay, or who is motivated by what. While the overall goal is always clear, it is quite easy to get bogged down in other details. The game, to it's credit, never stops making sense. It does seem as if alternate solutions to puzzles are lacking and often not acknowledged.

Ideal High School is, at its core, a good game -- the kind of adventure that could occupy your time like an old Infocom classic. However, it is quite player unfriendly and would benefit by a small command menu outlining how to get the different NPCs to do different things. Nonetheless, the major points of contention in making a solid game are there. With a little more code in the synonym department, Ideal High School would be the very definition of a solid AIF game. As it stands now it is still quite entertaining, although having a walkthrough handy is definitely recommended.

Simple Rating: 7. 3 / 10

Complicated Rating:

Story: 8.9 / 10

Writing: 8.5 / 10

Playability: 4.5 / 10

Puzzle Quality: 6.5 / 10 (The puzzles themselves are excellent... getting the correct syntax down in order to complete them is quite frustrating)

Parser Responsiveness: 4.0 / 10 (It is here where Ideal High School could use the greatest amount of attention)


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