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November 4, 2011

The best error page

Rock Paper Shotgun‘s 503 Error page is officially the best. Below, I chronicle my adventures thereon.

It took me a moment even to realize that the page had more than custom error text: a scene was being described.

503 - Service Unavailable
An Interactive Fiction by Horace The Endless Server Technician
Release 1 / Serial number 110707 / Inform 7 build 6E72 (I6/v6.31 lib 6/12N)

HTTP Error
You are standing at the entrance to Castle Shotgun. The gates are securely locked, with an unappealing sign on the front. The sign reads “Whoops! RPS is having a bit of a wobbly. Don’t worry, we’ll be back soon!”

To the left of the gates is a large opening in the wall, which Jim is leaning into. John is perched on a small rock nearby, while Alec and Tim are standing on the other side of the gates. A pile of magazines is scattered in a corner.

You can see Jim, John, Tim, Alec and a Refresh Button here.

>

 

In old text adventures, that little “greater-than” symbol indicated a place to type in actions. I didn’t see any cursor, though. It was there purely for decoration, it seemed. Amused, I decided to type in a phrase anyway.

>refresh button
That’s not a verb I recognise.

 

Oh! So it really was interactive after all. Interesting…

>talk
What do you want to talk to?

>Jim
Jim doesn’t take his head out of the hole in the wall. You hear him muttering to himself.

“Yes, it must be the… no, unless it’s the… Hmm.”

>talk
What do you want to talk to?

>John
John looks up. “Hmm? No, I didn’t lock us out. We’re just having a bit of trouble with Horace. We’ll have it working again in a tick.”

He resumes nursing his headache.

>ask
Whom do you want to ask?

>John
What do you want to ask John for?

>Horace
You can’t see any such thing.

>talk
What do you want to talk to?

>Alec
Alec seems a bit involved with sticking plastic armour to himself to reply. It’s probably best to leave him alone when he’s arming up, anyway.

>talk
What do you want to talk to?

>Tim
You don’t feel like talking tactics right now, and Tim is looking rather intense at the moment.

>look
HTTP Error
You are standing at the entrance to Castle Shotgun. The gates are securely locked, with an unappealing sign on the front. The sign reads “Whoops! RPS is having a bit of a wobbly. Don’t worry, we’ll be back soon!”

To the left of the gates is a large opening in the wall, which Jim is leaning into. John is perched on a small rock nearby, while Alec and Tim are standing on the other side of the gates. A pile of magazines is scattered in a corner.

You can see Jim, John, Tim, Alec and a Refresh Button here.

>examine
What do you want to examine?

>magazines
You pick up a heavy book. It’s a walkthrough to a game called You Have To Cut The Rope. You flick to page 587 of 900. It’s an exploration of the game’s characters, and the likeness to the Theseus myth. Interesting.
You notice an old copy of Amiga Power in the pile.

>read
What do you want to read?

>Amiga Power
An old copy of some obscure, arcane tome. The glyphs on the front are mysterious, and appealing.

>decipher
That’s not a verb I recognise.

>read
What do you want to read?

>glyphs
You can’t see any such thing.

>examine
What do you want to examine?

>refresh button
A large, stone button with the glyphs “F 5″ carved into them is protruding from the side of Castle Shotgun. It looks tantalising.

>press
What do you want to press?

>refresh button
Jim looks up from his work. “Don’t even think about it.”

 

Just delightful. Beats the Fail Whale by a mile.

  • Dullahan

    Oh my the classic text adventure how delightful.