Mega Bites: ir/rational

  • IF I enjoyed ir/rational THEN I will write a post about it.
  • I am writing a post about ir/rational.
  • THEREFORE I enjoyed ir/rational.

ir/rational is a short game by Tom Jubert, writer for the Penumbra series. It’s short. It’s free. You should probably play it. Not good enough? Maybe a can make a rational argument to persuade you.

  • This is a gaming blog.
  • IF you are reading this blog THEN you are interested in games.
  • ir/rational is a game.
  • THEREFORE you should play ir/rational.

Now for the less rational (irrational?) stuff. ir/rational is a text based puzzle game. It requires you to use propositional calculus to solve an increasingly complex series of arguments. This is actually a lot less daunting than it sounds. Once I’d grasped the concept, initially struggling through the first couple of puzzles, I became a lot better at seeing the logical patterns for the subsequent, supposedly trickier, levels. This isn’t a criticism of the game however. It doesn’t become easier, later levels do require a lot more working out, it’s just trains you to think through your argument before clicking that big Continue button. It’s a tactic that can be evidenced in all great puzzle games, minimising the frustration to the player and instead letting them feel the thrill of successfully solving problems.

Around the framework of these logic puzzles hangs an almost playfully dark and humorous story. Your character wakes up with no memory of what has gone before in a room with no discernible exit. While the set up may sound familiar to anyone who has played an escape-the-room webgame, it doesn’t take long for ir/rational to announce its own unique style.

The interesting thing about the story is that the character you play would be, in most situations, entirely unlikeable. His almost faultless application of logic and and general angry sarcasm make him… Well let’s just say that, before the memory loss, I doubt he was invited to many parties. In pitting him against an entity of pure logic, however, it allows the character’s humanity to shine through, highlighting the battle of wits between the two. It’s an interesting angle that keeps the story element interesting throughout the game.

I’m now in danger of spending longer writing about it than I did playing it (it really is quite short) so, in summary, ir/rational is a fun and interesting little puzzle game. Check it out.


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