The Cellar (IF)

David Whyld, 2007, for the HP Lovecraft Commonplace Book & Exhibit. Release 1. Adrift, version 4, release 6.

from game itsef: "24kb; rooms 5; objects 53; tasks 140"

Though Whyld suggestions Adrift to play, I used Gargoyle with zero problems.


This is not so much a game but a literal use of the phrase interactive fiction. You move around in a story that you can not stop and must follow and spend much more time reading than typing. There are only a few spots of real game mechanic, and only a couple of spots where you actually have to "solve" (most by a search X, get Y pattern) anything.

A short, mood piece. Evocative enough to get you to the end, but starts to flatten out. Opening room has the feel of tension. Second room has more so. Third room starts with a bang, and then it just all sort of pours to the conclusion, which was horror enough if not enough to haunt your dreams and all that. Play with background music of your choice in a quiet, dark room and try to stay on visual and it is fair enough.

By the time you get to the end, though, you will realize you mostly read a short story with interrupts.

Biggest complaint was the extreme use of "rails" and the way that exiting one room would generally cause you to go the next correct room. Meaningless exploration could have helped to amp the mood. This is a first release, and tiny. Could be, and hopefully will be, greatly expanded in the future.

Good for the length of time it takes. 58/100 (with 50 being average) with about 10 of those points due to games potential.


  • Length: Tiny
  • Difficulty: Non-existent
  • Genre: Horror, Gothic/Lovecraftian
  • Content Notes: discussions of cannibalism, living dead, rotting flesh and the like; nothing too graphic but it is there.
  • Pros:
    • Short enough to be non-frustrating to even the most impatient of beginners
    • Prose has some neat little touches
  • Cons:
    • Almost zero control by player
    • Not enough side objects to look at

My Score

Whyld hints at some stuff outside of the main line of the game, I may or may not have found it all. No clue, really. I got to the end. I learned all the secrets. I got to examine some objects not needed to win. I guess that is good enough.

Hints, Suggestions and Mild Spoilers (for what they are worth

None needed, really

Written by W Doug Bolden

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