In the wake of the Slamdance fiasco (6 finalists have already dropped), I’m ending up checking the entries. I ran into Book & Volume, and thought it might give me new respect for the current state of Interactive Fiction.
After 5 minutes, it’s only given me despair. It works like a classic text adventure: a bunch of text and a prompt where you write what you want to do. So the game starts: I’m in a room, there’s a pager buzzing. Here’s the series of commands from my first session:
>turn off pager
GAME OVER. Apparently, I have a finite amount of actions before the pager kills me. Every command I tried was met with the equivalents of "you can’t do that" or "I don’t recognize that verb".
I have spare time so I’ll try it some more and post in the comments, but boy did I expect things to have improved a bit in the past 25 years.
Edit: It’s obvious this is not a game for me, and it’s somewhat unfair that I criticise it. I’d be interested if someone who appreciates it can explain why. All I’ve found are people who say "it’s great" but don’t really convey a reasoned explanation with comparisons to other games.