Once upon a time, a man moved from one apartment in London to another. He dutifully notified everyone of his new address, including his bank; he went to the bank and filled out a change of address form himself. The man was very happy in his new apartment.
Then, one day, the man tried to use his credit card but couldn't. He discovered that his bank had invalidated his credit card. Apparently, the bank had sent a new card to his old address.
For weeks, this man tried to get the bank to acknowledge his change of address form. He talked to many blank officials, and filled out new forms, and tried to get a new credit card issued, but nothing worked. The man had no credit, and the bank behaved like, well, a bank.
It's a sad story, one that gets replayed every day for millions of people worldwide. Of course, sometimes it's not a bank at fault: sometimes it's the postal service, or an insurance company, or the telephone company, or an airline, or the Government. But all of us, at one time or another, feel persecuted by a bureaucracy.
You begin in your new house. As per the letter in your package, you will fly to Paris just as soon as you get some money to take you to the airport. That money should be in today's mail, so you should be off soon... unless, of course, there's been some problem with the mail.
Oh by the way: The man in our story about the bank was Douglas Adams, the principal author of this game. The bank did finally send him a letter, apologizing for the inconvenience - but they sent it to his old address.
In my opinion the best parody game ever made, Bureaucracy is a hilarious game written by Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy creator Douglas Adams. The plot is simple enough: you have just moved to a new town and must get your bank to acknowledge your change of address form before embarking on your all-expense paid trip to Paris.
That the game is something special is obvious when you open the box-- freebies, which are Infocom's hallmark, are among the best you'll ever see: everything from the Popular Paranoia magazine to four copies of Beezer Card application will make you laugh out loud even before you install the game. Once you do, you'll be treated to a rollercoaster ride of a plot that contains more twists and turns than Adams' zany novels, seeing your on-screen alter ego suffer Bureaucratic mishaps that range from missed flight connections to surly waitresses.
The puzzles are as difficult as any other Infocom game (it was written by the same guy who invented the Babel Fish puzzle, after all), but they do follow some logic no matter how twisted it may be (how you dispose of the stew on the airplane is one good example). There are many well-developed characters who represent some of the most annoying people you meet in real-life, from the delivery man to Random Q. Hacker. Bureaucracy, quite rightly, has become the standard by which almost all tongue-in-cheek games about real life are measured, and has been imitated many times but seldom equalled.
Douglas Adams - more famous for Hichhikers Guide to the Galaxy (also available on this site) - he is also responsible for writing this overly easy but thoroughly entertaining text adventure. The whole game is based around your attempt to have your change of address acknowledged by the local authorities - I kid you not.
The style of the game compliments the title and involves lots of pointless, and often humurous, form filling and tasks (the game includes a blood pressure gauge to show your level of stress. If this gets to high then you die and it's game over). It is a perfect satirical look at the kind of petty mindedness that is inherent to local government.
If you want something that's different from any game that you have played before then Bureaucracy is your best bet. Die hard text adventure fanatics may find the game a little too easy, but you can't help but warm to the unique nature of it. A worthy addition to this site and a game that you should check.
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