Key & Compass presents:
Channel Surfing
by Mike Vollmer

Channel Surfing is a Glulx interactive fiction game written with Inform 7 and is © 2008 by Mike Vollmer. It was an entry in IF Comp 2008 where it took 21st place.

You play as someone who's supposedly consented to test an experimental television, but you don't really remember anything about your prior life. The "box" you wake up in has nothing in it except the television, a table and chair, a remote control, a letter, a post-it note, and you. Ready to do some channel surfing?

This solution is by David Welbourn, and is based on Release 1 of the game.


change channelto 40 beach fire pit confes-sionalbooth hut Box pressroom Cat ordead cat briefingroom (win game) (win game) (finishconversation) change channel to 20 change channelto 16


> x note. ("16")

> x letter. (You're to test the experimental TV?)

> x remote. take it. x chair. x tv.

> change channel to 16.

Cat or dead cat

> x box. x Steve. x Mark.

> talk to Mark.

> 1. 1. 1. (He won't help you.)

> talk to Steve.

> 3. 3. 3. (He has a bladder condition.)

> 1. 2. (You should ask the host about the game.)

> 1. 1. 1. 1.

> talk to host.

> 1.

> 1. 3. 3. 2. 2.

> 1.

> 1. 1. 1.

> 1. (Steve guesses "Alive" which is wrong.)

> talk to Mark.

> 1. 1. (He lets Steve go to the bathroom.)

> 1.

> talk to host.

> 1.

> x box. push button.

"is the cat alive?" (yes/no) > no

You win a taser gun. There's an interlude with someone called the strategist. Then you're back in the Box.


> i. x gun. x note. change channel to 20.


> x mat. n.

fire pit

> x glint. x fire. x Julian. x Emily. x director.

> w.


> x machine. look in machine. x drink.

> x bucket. x ice cubes. take bucket.

> x tent. x tableorx food. (You can't eat the food.)

> e. e.

confessional booth

> x camera. w.

fire pit

You learn that this show is "The Ultimate Island".

> talk to director.

> 1. 1. 1. 1.

> 1. 1. 1. 1. (He wants a drink from the vending machine.)

> 1. 1. (conversation options exhausted.)

> talk to Julian.

> 1. 1. 1. (conversation options exhausted.)

> talk to Emily.

> 1. 1. 1. (conversation options exhausted.)

It's difficult to guess the right syntax for this action:

> dump ice onto fire. take coins. x coins.

> w.


> put coins in machine. hit machine. tase Julian.

The director loved it and tells you to talk to the camera in the booth.

> x Julian. e. e.

confessional booth

More channel surfing excerpts, and then you're back in the box.


> i. x note. change channel to 40.

briefing room

It doesn't matter how you talk to the strategist. All options eventually lead to the next scenario.

> x carpet. x strategist. talk to strategist.

> 1. 1. 1. 1. 1.

press room

There's an unsubtle hint to save the game before continuing.

> x reporters. save. talk to reporters.

Your initial approval rating is 31. For this walkthrough, try to fight against the scenario by being the worst politician possible, making your rating go down as low as possible.

> 1. (re: national security)

> 3. (rating goes down)

> 1. (re: national security again)

> 3. (rating goes down.)

> 1. (re: poverty)

> 3. (rating goes down)

> 1. (re: environment)

> 4. (rating goes down)

> 1. (re: economy)

> 4. (rating goes down)

> 1. (demand billions or else)

You're now nowhere, but the strategist is back. Rather than use you as intended, you're absorbed into the system.

Years pass and everyone gets a special television. The Rulers cork everyone into simple cells, each with a TV and life-support. Humanity becomes a hive mind, but something happens and the system collapses.

"We are the hollow men"

This is a reference to "The Hollow Men", a poem by T S Eliot.

*** THE END ***

Note that even if you go for high approval or moderate approval ratings, the same ending happens. However you do get different closing statements, based on your rating, when talking to the press.





From the Credits menu option accessed via the ABOUT command:

Game written by Mike Vollmer using Inform 7 and extensions by Emily Short, Michael Martin, and Michael Callaghan. Tested by paxtonator, blaznazn, npc, and yourself2d.


Thank You to my Patreon supporters

This walkthrough is provided free of charge since the work it's based on has less than fifteen locations. Please consider it a thank you for your support!

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