DescriptionWhen the next smallpox pandemic comes, none of our society's hubris will soften its devastating public health impact. You inhabit the shoes ("play" is the wrong word entirely) of Dr. Peter Basham, in gentler times a pediatrician, working overtime to process the hideous and deformed smallpox victims, racked with pain, in a hospital of psychopomps only equipped to deliver mercy, not cures. The social blows, though softer, are no less deleterious to our cultural framework: not only has the outbreak deprived you of your career and wife, but your conception of self and the very prospect of conducting a meaningful existence in the face of so much random and arbitrary suffering. Meanwhile, angry mobs prowl the streets, outraged at the medical establishment's inability to effectively counter the unchecked ravages of disease. You shadow Dr. Basham in his final attempt to keep his head above the rising tide of hopelessness and human misery.
In an unusually literal interpretation of the genre name "interactive fiction", the focus of this work is on conveying mood and atmosphere, using them to further a feeling of immersion in its grim story. As such, it is less a "game" inasmuch as it contains no puzzles, and while it is possible to conclude the work by triggering one of several different bleak endings, the only metric by which it can be considered "won" is to read and experience as much of the optional content the setting is steeped in as possible.
- "Mercy: A Short Story" -- Tag-lined title
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TriviaThough it did not win either, this title placed as a finalist in the 1997 Xyzzy Awards in both the Best Story and Best Setting categories.
Related Web Sites
- Mercy @ Baf's Guide to the Interactive Fiction Archive (Free, legal, platform-independent download of the game and a portion of its source code.)