DescriptionTrust and Betrayal: The Legacy of Siboot
, also simply known as Siboot
, is a unique strategy game by Chris Crawford, designed as a study of the problems of artificial personality and a language of interaction, solving them, as Crawford puts it, "in a pioneering and therefore clumsy fashion".
The game plays on Kira, a moon of the planet Lamina. The Kira colony was founded as political experiment for cooperation between seven divided alien races. After Lamina was destroyed by a nuclear war, the colony was on its own, and a certain Siboot founded a new civilization, based on a universal telepathic language called "Eeyal" and led by a Shepherd. Now the fourth and last Shepherd has died, and there is a fierce competition between the seven acolytes, including you, for his title.
To become Shepherd, you have to collect eight "auras" in three different areas -- tanaga (fear), katsin (trust) and shial (love). At night, the acolytes fight mental duels in a rock-paper-scissors kind, where success depends on knowing the aura ratings of the duelist -- which is why collecting as much information about the others' aura is crucial..
Each morning you awake with the knowledge of one aura rating for each acolyte, and during the day, you try to collect as much information as possible by interacting with your competitors. All this is done an iconic representation of Eeyal, which allows for many ways of interaction like telling, asking, threatening, begging, accusing, promising, yelling, deriding, saying thanks or sorry or just expressing emotion or holding smalltalk. There also is some way of trading information by constructing sentences like "if you tell me the tanaga count of X, I tell you the shial count of Y" -- all this done by clicking small icons.
Each competitor has its own personality, and they fear, trust and love each person differently. Everything you do will have effects on the way the acolytes react you, so you will have to find a careful balance between getting enough information and not abusing your allies. The same holds true for the all acolytes, the NPCs are constantly running around and talking to each other to. This and the detailed interaction with them make the NPCs seem very credible and realistic.
In between all that interaction, the game is interspersed by "cut scenes" which present you with a certain situation to which you can react in multiple choice style. It offers a save and restore function as well as three difficulty and three game length settings. The game came delivered with a manual and a novella by Chris Crawford which are very helpful to getting started.
Trust and Betrayal is surely a highly esoteric and quite experimental game (when exiting, it accurately describes itself as "truly transcendental interactive experience") which is not meant for the casual gamer -- you will first have to get used to the idiosyncratic user interface and the ideas of this game. Still, there are only very few games, if any, that model personal relations and interactions as closely as this game, and it will without doubt be a profound experience for anyone who plays it.
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TriviaChris Crawford appears as character in this game. He is depicted in the character menu with a text saying: "Chris Crawford is a fine fellow, but he takes his game designs too seriously for his own good. He actually called this game 'my Holy Grail!' Now that it's done and looks more like a rusty old beer can, he is having serious problems readjusting to reality. Oh, well, he can always do NUDE SPACE DEFENDERS FROM HELL."
In one of the cutscenes, he appears and, troubled by one NPC's character not coming through as clearly as he'd like to, asking the player what to do about it. The player, who is in conversation with another NPC, has the opportunity to tell him to "Get outta here, you jerk!".
This entry to the MobyGames database was contributed by General Error (4230)
on Oct 12, 2006.