"A vacation in our lovely country! See the ethnic charms of the countryside, the historic grandeur of the capital city. Taste our traditional cuisine; smell the flowers of the Old Tree. And all without leaving your own armchair!"
Spider And Web is not a game about a vacation. It is a game about deception, incomplete knowledge, and the ways that stories in other people's heads can be the best lies. It is also about the role of the narrator works in interactive fiction -- but you don't have to worry about that to play the game. (Well, not much.)
Play Spider And Web if you're in the mood for a complex spy intrigue, in several chapters.
It is possible to make a fatal mistake in this game, but you will immediately know you have done so. You can always "undo" after death, and then fix the mistake. Therefore, the game is best played straight through. Accept any non-fatal mistakes that you may make; you will have a second chance. If you back up and replay each scene for maximum efficiency, avoiding all mistakes, certain aspects of the game will be lost.
However -- you will eventually reach a point where things become dangerous. You'll know when. Beyond that, you're playing for keeps and heartbeats count. Save early and often.
Spider And Web is copyright 1997-8 by Andrew Plotkin (firstname.lastname@example.org).
This game was created using the Inform adventure development system, which was created by Graham Nelson.
The original idea for Spider And Web actually hit me in February 1997, on a stretch of road crossing under Route 32, as I was walking towards Borders. There were ducks nearby. I don't think the ducks had anything to do with the idea; but they get listed in the credits anyway.
Other people of note:
John M. Ford probably did have something to do with the idea. In particular, his story "Casting Fortune."
Lovely Alex, for inspiring me to quit my job and therefore giving me the time to write this.
Update: Lovely Alex has passed away. I did not know him except as a boss I did not like. I did not know him.
Beta testers: Julian Arnold, Miron Schmidt (and his arm), C. E. Forman, Michael Kinyon. Beta-and-a-half testers: Adam Thornton, Stephen Granade, Lucian P. Smith.
Come to think of it: In February, the ducks wouldn't have been there. Well, you get the idea.