Andrew “Zarf” Plotkin is a well-known and influential figure in interactive fiction – on top of penning classic IF games like Spider & Web and Shade, he also developed the Blorb package format, Glx API, and Glulx virtual machine for making and playing them. His latest game, Hadean Lands, is four years in the making (following a successful Kickstarter) and is apparently one of the largest and most complex IF games to date, spanning 73,000 words of printable text and 170,000 words of logic (according to Andrew’s twitter). In the game, you play a young alchemist who has awoken to find him or herself trapped in a crashed starship, armed only with your knowledge of alchemical rituals and whatever ingredients you can scrounge up on the ship.
I’ll spoil some of the unique features of the game after the jump:
Unlike a lot of IF games, Hadean Lands has a “restart” feature that rewards experimentation by letting you keep any knowledge of rituals that you’ve learned in previous playthroughs. Learning a ritual for the first time may require many steps, but using them again is just a matter of saying “perform [name of ritual]“. In this manner, the player is able to solve ever more complicated puzzles without the fear of getting stuck.
For a better explanation, I suggest reading this excellent write-up by Emily Short.