In art, a shade is the result of adding black to a color.

A shade is the opposite of a tint.

Your life merely accumulates, you've decided; it does not build.
10th runner-up (out of 53 entries) in the 2000 competition (and tied for 3rd place in that year's "Miss Congeniality" author's choice award), this moody little piece of interactive fiction seems to inspire strong responses from those who plumb its depths - the further you get the more enjoyed - or at least appreciated - it becomes. At first glance, it appears to be a member of the most wretched species of IF - the "Hello, World!" conversion of one's squalid abode to the fabulous world of text adventure games, hardly worth a second glance (especially in a competition situation) - but if the seeming choice of setting seems uninspired it's quickly offset by evidence that the author (one Andrew Plotkin aka Zarf here masquerading under the partially-foreshadowing "Ampe R. Sand") has a certain way with words. Indeed, despite its lack of phone booths, this so-called game manages to make considerably more use of its single room than could reasonably be expected, the player eventually coming to understand that the solitary location in which the game is set (Winner, Best Setting, Xyzzy Awards 2000) is not so much the room in which the protagonist's body lives as a spot just behind their eyes where their mind spins, thrives and dies. The player is not moving the character so much as inhabiting their consciousness and observing their very subjective experiences.

But how much can be said of this gamely experience without giving it all away? It starts out in an almost archetypally-straightforward manner: with some serious sleep-dep subbing in for the traditional introductory hangover, following a sip of water the protagonist realises that they have misplaced their plane tickets to the Death Valley Om - this game's cipher for the Burning Man festival. Luggage already packed and waiting by the door, your quest is clear: locate the tickets before the taxi arrives to bring you to the airport and from there, to the desert.

But once the tickets are located, it seems that perhaps the desert is coming to you. What had seemed a deadpan and realistic (if morose) approach and perspective is shaken by the gradual manifestation of a gritty Midas touch, systematically rendering your surroundings into a preview of your anticipated destination, familiar features transforming one by into dunes - until a moment of reflection restores everything to apparent normalcy. Evidently the game up until this point was some sort of mirage, all just a dream - a forbidden device for ending a story, but an exciting one to apply midway through a surreal gaming experience.

(Like) an episode of deja vu, the past now clearly untrustworthy forces all present and future experiences to be viewed through a lens of skepticism, the foundations of the observations the game describes to us being now clearly laid on shifting sands of uncertainty. Suppose we're not really in our apartment - suppose we already made it to the festival and were laid low by a tab of bad acid? Or wait a sec - didn't the radio say something about reports from the festival of lost hikers? But we were still dreaming when we heard that... weren't we?

Think back to everything you've experienced thus far in the game - the thirst you begin with, the distant sound of a helicopter flying by. Reflect upon the state of affairs that delivered you to your present situation - whatever it may be - diverting your attention from the immediate problems of your own life and investing your energies in vain towards influencing the inscrutable activities of an abstract character from inside your computer.

If you've played this game, you probably realise that you'd best find some shade to get into. If you haven't, you should have figured out by now that you'd best find Shade to get into. Written in Inform, the game can be run on a plethora of platforms, but if you want me to make it reeeeal easy for you I can just point you to the Java version playable through your web browser at

If you win, you win alone.

The invisible and attack-less scout available to the Undead in the 2002 hit game, Warcraft III

Physical Description: An invisible creature, a Shade can be "seen" to be a blackened, skeletal torso, arms and skull, with glowing white eyes and surrounded by black, wispy vapours

Requirements: Built at: Sacrificial Pit, requires: Halls of the Dead, allows: invisibility detection.

Spells and Abilities: The Shade cannot be upgraded. Once created, it's passing in to true Undeath makes it a valuable scout and detector. It detects invisible units/items, and is invisible itself, but lacks an attack.

Gameplay: Despite it's apparent uselessness, the Shade is one of the most useful TOOLS for the Scourge. Rush to create the Sacrficial Pit, rally your Halls of the Dead to the Pit, then set the rally point of the Pit to where you think the enemy is. Once you find their Hero, set the Shade to follow them. Unless they break targetting (mirror image, Town portal scroll) they Shade will follow endlessly. The Shade is also useful to tag along with your Hero, allowing detection of invisible units (like windwalking Blademasters) and also providing a handy target for sacrificing - the Lich dark ritual for mana, or the Death Knight Death Pact for HP. Remember though: SCOUTING IS KNOWLEDGE - Knowledge is an advantage, an advantage wins games.

Warcraft III Undead Guide

<<< Meat wagon -- Shade -- Abomination >>>

Information gleaned from:
  • My own lovingly played copy of Warcraft III
Copyright information is the property of their respective owners.

Shade (shAd), n. [OE. shade, shadewe, schadewe, AS. sceadu, scead; akin to OS. skado, D. schaduw, OHG. scato, (gen. scatewes), G. schatten, Goth. skadus, Ir. & Gael. sgath, and probably to Gr. sko`tos darkness. √162. Cf. Shadow, Shed a hat.]


Comparative obscurity owing to interception or interruption of the rays of light; partial darkness caused by the intervention of something between the space contemplated and the source of light.

Shade differs from shadow as it implies no particular form or definite limit; whereas a shadow represents in form the object which intercepts the light. When we speak of the shade of a tree, we have no reference to its form; but when we speak of measuring a pyramid or other object by its shadow, we have reference to its form and extent.


Darkness; obscurity; -- often in the plural.

The shades of night were falling fast.


An obscure place; a spot not exposed to light; hence, a secluded retreat.

Let us seek out some desolate shade, and there
Weep our sad bosoms empty.


That which intercepts, or shelters from, light or the direct rays of the sun; hence, also, that which protects from heat or currents of air; a screen; protection; shelter; cover; as, a lamp shade.

The Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand.
Ps. cxxi. 5.

Sleep under a fresh tree's shade.

Let the arched knife well sharpened now assail the spreading shades of vegetables.
J. Philips.


Shadow. [Poetic.]

Envy will merit, as its shade, pursue.


The soul after its separation from the body; -- so called because the ancients it to be perceptible to the sight, though not to the touch; a spirit; a ghost; as, the shades of departed heroes.

Swift as thought the flitting shade
Thro' air his momentary journey made.

7. (Painting, Drawing, etc.)

The darker portion of a picture; a less illuminated part. See Def. 1, above.


Degree or variation of color, as darker or lighter, stronger or paler; as, a delicate shade of pink.

White, red, yellow, blue, with their several degrees, or shades and mixtures, as green only in by the eyes.


A minute difference or variation, as of thought, belief, expression, etc.; also, the quality or degree of anything which is distinguished from others similar by slight differences; as, the shades of meaning in synonyms.

New shades and combinations of thought.
De Quincey.

Every shade of religious and political opinion has its own headquarters.

The Shades, the Nether World; the supposed abode of souls after leaving the body.


© Webster 1913

Shade (?), v. t. [imp. & p. p. Shaded; p. pr. & vb. n. Shading.]


To shelter or screen by intercepting the rays of light; to keep off illumination from. Milton.

I went to crop the sylvan scenes,
And shade our altars with their leafy greens.


To shelter; to cover from injury; to protect; to screen; to hide; as, to shade one's eyes.

Ere in our own house I do shade my head.


To obscure; to dim the brightness of.

Thou shad'st
The full blaze of thy beams.


To pain in obscure colors; to darken.


To mark with gradations of light or color.


To present a shadow or image of; to shadow forth; to represent. [Obs.]

[The goddess] in her person cunningly did shade
That part of Justice which is Equity.


© Webster 1913

Shade (?), v. i. [See Shade, n.]

To undergo or exhibit minute difference or variation, as of color, meaning, expression, etc.; to pass by slight changes; -- used chiefly with a preposition, as into, away, off.

This small group will be most conveniently treated with the emotional division, into which it shades.
Edmund Gurney.


© Webster 1913

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