The Zen Garden by Privateer

This is a text-only brainteaser (with some sound) inspired by Japanese art and haiku.

It's not easy!

It has been designed to be explored and contemplated over endless cups of green tea.

(I highly recommend downloading this game rather than playing online. Some players have encountered difficulties with online play in the later stages.)

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Review by leonard8811
30 Sep 2016
Great game. More satisfying that all of the "video" games I have played. Just as reading a book has richer detail than watching a film, this game allows the imagination to "see". Something that is often missing from this day and age.

The details are all carefully placed. There is very little that isn't needed, allowing the attentive mind to see clearly the connections and subtle suggestions made.

Thanks for your work in creating this experience : )

Review by DavyB
17 Aug 2016
I played the Zen Garden through to ‘completion’ a month ago but decided to work through it again before putting in a review, as I’d missed some of the puzzles, including the maze. Going through a second time, I still found much to enjoy, as I could step back and appreciate it more, and also found a few elements that I’d missed on the first pass.

As others have said, this is a challenging game, and I was only able to complete it by looking at several of the hints given to others who had run into difficulty. Because of the challenge, it was very satisfying in cases where no hint was needed. :)

There is so much to like about this game! It is very well written and tightly designed across a relatively small number of locations. The use of sound in a few specific places, especially the collection of the pottery, was very effective and significantly added to the overall experience.

There seem to be quite a few red herrings in the game, judging by the items I had at the end, but perhaps I missed a role for them? The only herring that delayed me was <spoiler>a suggestion that there were resources to make tea at the beginning, when in reality it was only towards the end that I had enough knowledge to actually complete the task</spoiler>.

The game is also very well implemented and, so far, for me, is the best I have found on the site. It is particularly impressive that this appears to be the first game from Privateer. After a gap of nearly three years, perhaps there is another in the pipeline? ...despite the considerable effort that is clearly needed to reach this standard!

Review by Cyril
16 Aug 2016
Beautifully done! Very nice story line with intriguing puzzles. Not an easy game to win. Well worth the effort. In many ways more detailed than other text adventure games. Requires you to really pat attention to details and to search patiently. Not a game for those who expect immediate gratification. But for those with patience and determination a very fun and challenging game. Well worth playing again and again.

Review by Fantasylover22
08 Aug 2016
Amazing! I warn you IT IS HARD but that just makes it all the more satisfying when you find a clue! Although there is no walk-through/hint privateer is great at getting back to comments so just leave a comment if you get stuck. It is so fun and my only tip is to examine EVERYTHING!

Review by Stella S.
30 Jul 2016
Amazing cover art, amazing story, just simply amazing.
Very relaxing, much like the title suggests, and visualizable.
Keep it up!

Review by nookim1
20 Jul 2016
I really enjoyed this game. GJ!

Review by zorkdork
21 Jun 2016
Incredible game! It is very different from other text adventures and has many more puzzles than you expect. A very fun and intriguing task with elements that keep the game interesting. Certainly worth playing over and over!

Review by KyuJones
01 Feb 2016
This game was very thought provoking and beautiful.

The setting drew me in and I HAD to keep playing even just for that. Immersive writing. ^_^ And the puzzles!! I had a great time pondering over them. I also loved being able to get hints from other players and the game creator in the comments section as I put bits and pieces together. The puzzles flow so well and leave you feeling accomplished at every small one completed, as the bigger picture begins to form.

I will most likely play again. I highly recommend this game! Highly.

Review by IFforClassroom
23 Jan 2016
As much fun, challenge, and professionalism as an IFcomp piece.

Review by Leinad Why
25 Nov 2015
Yeah! One of (if not) the best game here! Certainly tops in the Puzzle section. But dam does it make you work :O. This game is so flawless it should be like, for sale XD (dont get any ideas Privateer) I mean it's really much better than the 'choice of games' ones that attempts to rip you off. Hint for all those who want to smash their heads against a wall after trying this game out; ask the creator! A really great guy who is dedicated to preventing Zen related suidcides!
ejm29 is obviously loopy for not realizing the igenuity of the game. Beautifully written can't wait for any future games!

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Written for Quest 5.3
Published 24 Aug 2013
Updated 21 Jun 2016

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