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I'm trying to see if I can find an elusive game I've long wanted to play. It's a text-based adventure game, but not one from their commercial heyday back in the eighties or so. It was described to me in 2010 as being pretty recent, and an indie/fan-made release on the internet, something akin to Spider and Web.

The premise is that you're in a bar, and a fixed number of turns after you start, a car comes crashing in through the front wall; then the time loop resets. The car crash seems spontaneous at first, relative to the bar scene, but as you loop again and again, you can slowly piece together what in your immediate environment causes it and how to prevent it. (As I recall, this included someone in the bar talking on the phone to someone in the car, but I'm not 100% certain of that.)

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I believe this to be "Rematch" by Andrew Pontious.

It's a text-based adventure game, but not one from their commercial heyday back in the eighties or so. It was described to me in 2010 as being pretty recent, and an indie/fan-made release on the internet, something akin to Spider and Web.

It is indeed a text adventure - though they seem to be called "interactive fiction" nowadays. It was released in 2000 - so definitely not in the 80s, though it's odd that someone in 2010 would describe it to you as "recent". And as it was made by just one person, it ticks the box for "indie".

As for "akin to Spider and Web" - well, they're both interactive fiction games made by development teams of just one person. And "Spider and Web" has a sort of time loop - each loop iteration is supposed to be you telling an interrogator what happened, after the interrogator picks holes in the previous iteration/account. You can read more at this link.

Most of the information I found was from a "Let's Play" hosted at Gamefaqs. I'll be relying heavily on that.

The premise is that you're in a bar

Actually it's a pool hall.

a fixed number of turns after you start

It is indeed a fixed number - of just ONE turn!

a car comes crashing in through the front wall; then the time loop resets.

From the first iteration of the time loop:

You are in a cavernous pool hall.

...

The glass from the front windows disintegrates and sprays like water in all directions as a black SUV explodes into the pool hall. Its wheels locked, it fishtails across the smooth floor tiles.

Nick, the closest to the window, disappears under the vehicle’s wheels.

Before you can move, the SUV hits your pool table head-on, crushing Ines into the tabletop with a wet thump.

The pool balls swarm toward your face—

You have lost

In the loop's second iteration (and the third one in that LP):

The glass...a black SUV...you watch yourself and Ines and Nick die as if in a dream, as if you’ve experienced it before.

You have not broken the cycle

You said:

As I recall, this included someone in the bar talking on the phone to someone in the car, but I'm not 100% certain of that.

It didn't actually involve that. But the car driver, we discover in the loop's next iteration, was talking on the phone and clearly distracted:

... a black SUV explodes into the pool hall. As it slides past you, you can look inside and see the ashen-faced driver, still holding a forgotten cell phone in one hand.

You need to manipulate events so that one "loudmouth" patron will shout out a particular number. That number corresponds to a table at which one of the players has a bad temper. The bored/distracted pool hall employee, who is informing one of the tables that their time is up, will then say that number by mistake. The angry player will hit the ceiling fan controls with their cue, causing a malfunction in one of the fans, which will fall onto the floor in front of the window. Everyone runs out of the way of the flying fragments, and so they're out of the way when the SUV comes through the window.

First, Ines takes the cue ball. Then, Ines wraps page 151, 'singing penguin in crowd' around the cue ball carefully. Ines winds up and pitches it at the loudmouth. It plunges into the loudmouth’s stomach — a direct hit!

The paper comes off and flutters in the air as the ball drops to the floor. The loudmouth snatches it, uncurls it, reads it, and hollers, "Page 151, 'singing penguin in crowd', the best Far Side cartoon of all time?!?"

The girl behind the counter to the southeast gives a little start and turns on the microphone to say in a bored monotone, “Table 151, table 151, your time is up, please bring your equipment to the counter.” Then, with a dreamy smile, she turns back to her boyfriend.

One of the people at table 151 grasps a cuestick as if to smash against the nearest surface (in this case, the wall dangerously close to what looks like the control panel for the ceiling fans) and exclaims, "Aw, damn it, we just started!"

When no one responds, slam! the cuestick smacks the ceiling fan controls, turning them all off.

Most of the fans slow down gradually, but the one directly to the south, which had a severe wobble to begin with, begins to keen.

Before anyone can react, it wrenches itself off its mooring and plummets to the empty space in front of the windows with a resounding crash. Ines and Nick scramble into other parts of the hall to avoid flying fragments of plastic and metal. The entire pool hall stops and gapes at the spectacle.

The glass from the front windows disintegrates and sprays like water in all directions as a black SUV explodes into the pool hall. It crunches over the ruined ceiling fan.

Nick shouts out, "My God, Kurt, get out of there!"

Ines says, "Kurt, get away from the table!"

Forewarned, you scramble away from the table before the SUV hits it, head-on, spraying pool balls like spittle farther into the hall, before before lurching to a stop.

"Oh my God," Ines exclaims as she picks herself up off the floor. "Are you both all right?"

Nick nods, as do you. Ines hugs you both. You survey the damage.

The driver is still sitting wide-eyed in the SUV, a cell phone forgotten in one hand. Other pool players are just beginning to pick themselves up. No one seems injured.

You said:

you can slowly piece together what in your immediate environment causes it and how to prevent it.

Now, you don't actually manage to prevent it. And it isn't caused by anything in your immediate environment. But you do slowly piece together what you can use in your immediate environment to stop anyone getting killed by it.

Sources:

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