Final Exam

Final Exam takes place in the near future after an AI revolution has led to the establishment of a new sort of government. You are seeking a job within this government: your performance in the “final exam” determines the outcome. You wake up on the day of your exam to find that your world has unexpectedly changed. You leave your room to seek answers, and find the Administration Centre deserted...

Final Exam placed 9th (of 53) in the 2015 Interactive Fiction competition. It has an IFDB page.

Parser-based interactive fiction

You can download the game here - fnlexam.z5 - or play online in your browser.

The current version is release 9 serial number 151101.

If you download the game, open the game file with a Z-machine interpreter such as Frotz for Windows / Mac / Ubuntu / IOS.

What to expect

Final Exam is designed to reward exploration and puzzle-solving. There is more than one possible ending. The game is full of hidden content which is not necessary to complete the game, but may lead you towards alternate solutions.

Solving the game may require you to draw a map.

Final Exam is controlled by a “parser”: you type commands and see what happens. The game design is inspired by the earlier generations of “text adventure”: the game world is rather large, exploration is necessary, and important objects are described separately when you enter “LOOK”. If you are new to parser-based games, it may be worth reading a general 'getting started' introduction such as this one: Or if you just want a quick reminder, there is this handy reference card.

Walkthrough and hints

Final Exam is not designed to be a 'cruel' game, i.e. one that can be put into an unwinnable state. There should always be a way to progress to some ending. A 'HINT' command is provided within the game.

If you are really stuck, you can look at the walkthrough (PDF), though this only describes one solution to the game.


Thanks to Jillian Whitham for her patience, support, and proofreading; to my parents for more things than I can list; and to my testers, Ted Casaubon and Steven Postma, for invaluable feedback and playtesting. Without their help, this game would probably have remained unplayable.

Thanks to Olly Kirk for bug reports during IFComp 2015, and to all who played online and produced interesting transcripts for me to read. I also received useful feedback from other IFComp 2015 authors on the forum.

This credit list is open-ended. I will also credit anyone who finds a bug in the game and reports it to me by email. If possible, please send a transcript of the game showing the bug, or a savegame file. If you're playing online, it is possible to select all of the text and copy/paste it into an email. This is very helpful to me in figuring out what went wrong.

This game was produced using Graham Nelson's Inform 6 library and compiler.