Type Game
Date 1995
  • Platform Independent
Series IFComp 1995 (6, TADS Division)
Tags interactive fiction


Undo by Neil deMause (credited in the game as "null dogmas") is a 1995 interactive fiction game, entered in the first annual interactive fiction competition. The premise is that when the game opens, you've just finished the last puzzle in a buggy, corrupted interactive fiction game, and have only to reach the exit to win.

The game is very brief--I spent about ten minutes beating it, exploring everything as thoroughly as possible--but it has a few entertaining bits. For example, if you check your inventory, you're told that "You have everything that you need.", and in the Binary Room you can take 0 (or take nothing) and your inventory will change to "You have nothing." If you take other objects, e.g. take 1, then "You have nothing and a 1." You can drop nothing and then "You have a 1 and everything that you need." Inspired by The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, if I'm not mistaken, quite appropriate for a piece of IF which is about a piece of IF.

The game's solution more or less makes sense, though you're more likely to stumble across it than to reason it out. I've written some invisiclues-style hints for the game, if you're stuck.

Undo has a few neat ideas and an interesting premise, but it doesn't really do anything with them, and feels more like Speed-IF than a real game. It can safely remain a relic of the past.

In an interview in SPAG #7, deMause explains the final puzzle:

I first wrote an earlier version of Undo for a friend's birthday -- it's based on an inside joke between the two of us.

For the record, the joke goes: "A frog walks up to a hole. 'My, what a big hole,' he says. A small duck walks up to the hole. 'What large hole?' says the duck. 'What small duck?' says the frog."

ISSUE #7 - SPAG (1995-10-14)

He also explains his purpose in making the game:

The only purpose of Undo, really, aside from being vaguely weird and entertaining, is to challenge some of the I-F conventions -- like having everything be a puzzle (most of the rooms are mere clues at best, and at worst just diversions), having a score (the "score" of 86 you're shooting for is another negation joke -- as in, "eighty-six that"), winning at the end, and so on. It's sort of an "anti-game" in that sense.

ISSUE #7 - SPAG (1995-10-14)
Name Role
null dogmas Author