It's the 20th anniversary of Anchorhead, Michael Gentry's seminal horror text adventure; to commemorate the occasion, Ryan Veeder and Jenni Polodna worked with 84 developers to create Cragne Manor, a tribute, whose puzzles are ingenious, frustrating and amazing.
Each of the developers was given one room to create, without any knowledge of the others developers' rooms, making "each location ... a different author's take on a tribute to Anchorhead, or an original work of Lovecraftian cosmic horror, or a deconstruction of cosmic horror, or a gonzo parody of cosmic horror, or a parody of some other thing, or a portrait of life in Vermont, or a pure experiment in writing with Inform 7, or something else entirely. There are tons of puzzles. The puzzles get very weird."
Early reviews are very positive: Zarf updates says "It's glorious. It's a mess. It's a glorious mess... It's a grand collection of vignettes by the biggest collective of IF authors ever gathered in one fictional Vermont town. It's a demonstration of varied styles, varied approaches to puzzle design, and varied takes on the idea of 'Lovecraftian/Anchorheadian game'. It's creepy and funny and gross and poetic."
Emily Short writes: "I can tell you already that if you like parser IF, you want to play this. It’s sometimes scary, sometimes disgusting, sometimes funny, sometimes weird, and sometimes all of those at once — but I’ll let you find the horse for yourself. And somehow all that surreal adds up to something greater than the sum of its parts."
Your name is Naomi Cragne. Your husband is missing. That's why you're taking the train to Vermont, to look for him in his family's old mansion. You'll explore creepy environments, consult eldritch tomes, and solve bizarre puzzles as you search for Peter, but your surroundings, your past, and even your identity seem to change subtly—or dramatically—as you make your way through the town of Backwater and approach Cragne Manor.
Cragne Manor [Ryan Veeder and Jenni Polodna/Rcveeder]