Exercise in Futility is a transformation text adventure written in the Inform 7 engine by Birion.
In A.D. 2101, war was beginning...
... and by 2243, it's been long over. You listened to your grandfather talking about his grandfather fighting in the war, but you were never really all that interested in neunets. Instead, you spent much of your childhood listening to Aliska's uncle Pier talking about Out There. You soon persuaded your father to let you learn negfighting with Zack, Stratos's best negmaster. And finally, today is the day. You stand proudly before the elder, your two companions by your side, as with the clang of a gong, he finishes your shared birthday - you are now 17 and ready to prove that you are men (or women, in Aliska's case). Last goodbyes and you look into the blinding yellow sand of the Schwartz Desert. At the other side, the end of your journey - the USA, where the shadows haunt the empty streets. The Unified Superpersonal Auction. Listening to the low crackle of your negsword, you nod to Marte and head out, following a step behind quiet Aliska.
You start walking into the desert. Stratos is quickly lost behind the horizon. There's sand all around you.
Suddenly, you hear a...
You look up from the screen and peer over at the alarm clock. Almost time for your shift at Mc King's Hutt. You consider for a moment calling in sick, but other people have this notion of firing you if you spend your time playing video games instead of working. So, with a sigh of disappointment, you save your game and get off your butt.
I just wanted to confirm that this game seems to be as "finished" as it is going to get. That last update was in December of 2009, for version 0.2.1, and I am assuming that this is as far as the author is willing to proceed, especially considering his development of other projects. Just wanted to post in case anyone was wondering about the game. Will it ever be revived? Maybe, one day. Should it be? Well...
The game, itself, seems to be set in the after-events of an apocalypse. The character (seemingly) needs to eat, sleep, and otherwise survive using the items, equipment, and resources provided by the surrounding environment. However, with the game being so underdeveloped, there is only about two or three actual things you can do so far (namely: talk to a starting NPC, walk around three directions, open a dresser and a fridge, and eat a cucumber sandwhich). I actually found myself stuck trying to get ready to go to bed (I had no idea how I was supposed to take a shower—or perhaps it is bugged). That said, the game is obviously in the starting stages, and should not be expected to be comprised of very much content. So, I cannot recomend the game for playability.
The story is more or less as advanced as the game, in that there is an introduction, a line of dialogue, descriptive texts... and that's it. There is no story to follow and no character expansion of any kind. The plot written for the summary of the game is literally the course of the entire game as far as it stands. Nothing further.
I realize I might sound like I am describing a dead bird (no offense to the author), but I at least believe the game should be given a headstone. If it is ever updated, I might tune back in. But, as it stands, there is really no reason to delve into this game. There is simply nothing concrete here to play with.
Hope Birion continues with his projects. Some of them show real promise. :)