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Showing posts from October, 2008

[IF Competition] Snack Time!

I have already played 13 games in the IF Comp, but I've only written about 6 of them--so it's definitely time to crank out some more not-quite-reviews.

Lest the opportunity for small talk given to me by the necessity of filling this space with more or less meaningless sentences go to waste, I will now tell you that this competition will always be linked in my mind to the music of Meatloaf. I watched the Rocky Horror Picture Show a week or so ago, and now I'm putting on Meatloaf songs whenever I start playing IF. My reviews will probably suffer.

Here we go, talking about Snack Time! by Hardy the Bulldog & Renee Choba.

What is good?
This is a very polished effort. Not only is the interaction smooth and painless, the author has also anticipated all kinds of funny actions.The game has its own voice, being told from the perspective of a puppy. This makes what would otherwise be a very standard puzzler much more distinctive.The puzzle - for it really is just a single puzzle - is…

[IF Competition] A Martian Odyssey

I have already played 11 games in the IF Comp, but I've only written about 5 of them--so it's definitely time to crank out some more not-quite-reviews.

Lest the opportunity for small talk given to me by the necessity of filling this space with more or less meaningless sentences go to waste, I will now tell you that this competition will always be linked in my mind to the music of Meatloaf. I watched the Rocky Horror Picture Show a week or so ago, and now I'm putting on Meatloaf songs whenever I start playing IF. My reviews will probably suffer.

Here we go, talking about A Martian Odyssey by Horatio.

What is good?
Alien landscapes are good! Overwhelm me with daring feats of the imagination, and I'll forgive you many things.Basing your work of IF on an existing story can be good as well. This territory hasn't been explored that well, and I welcome further exploration.What could be better?
I said "overwhelm me with daring feats of the imagination", and that is ex…

[IF Competition] Project Delta

This is a spoilery post about Project Delta by Emilian Kowalewski. Please do not read on unless you have played the game! (And in fact I have to add some meaningless words here so that the real review doesn't show up on feeds; although frankly it's not the words that are meaningless, and indeed, not even the sentences; I'm reading Carnap at the moment, and he is way too quick in saying that a sentence is meaningless; for instance, "the moon is a city in Germany" seems to me false, not meaningless; but I guess that's what happens when you apply Russell's theory of types to our language about the empirical world.)

As I explained in a previous post, I want to write these comments on the form of advice to the author; not as reviews that end with a numerical mark. So:

What is good?
As far as there is a game, it seems relatively well implemented.What could be better?
If you want to show off your new IF-authoring system, you can do two things. First possibility: you…

[IF Competition] Channel Surfing

This is a spoilery post about Channel Surfing by Mike Vollmer. Please do not read on unless you have played the game! (And in fact I have to add some meaningless words here so that the real review doesn't show up on feeds; although frankly it's not the words that are meaningless, and indeed, not even the sentences; I'm reading Carnap at the moment, and he is way too quick in saying that a sentence is meaningless; for instance, "the moon is a city in Germany" seems to me false, not meaningless; but I guess that's what happens when you apply Russell's theory of types to our language about the empirical world.)

As I explained in a previous post, I want to write these comments on the form of advice to the author; not as reviews that end with a numerical mark. So:


What is good?

This game has a lot of ambition, and then some. It is a scathing criticism of television in general and stupid game shows in particular. It offers a cynical view on politics. And if that i…

[IF Competition] Nerd Quest

This is a spoilery post about Nerd Quest by RagtimeNerd. Please do not read on unless you have played the game! (And in fact I have to add some meaningless words here so that the real review doesn't show up on feeds; although frankly it's not the words that are meaningless, and indeed, not even the sentences; I'm reading Carnap at the moment, and he is way too quick in saying that a sentence is meaningless; for instance, "the moon is a city in Germany" seems to me false, not meaningless; but I guess that's what happens when you apply Russell's theory of types to our language about the empirical world.)

As I explained in a previous post, I want to write these comments on the form of advice to the author; not as reviews that end with a numerical mark.

What is good?
It's written in Java, which means it is cross-platform compatible. And indeed: it runs perfectly on my Linux installation. Even better: it runs within my terminal of choice!What could be better?

[IF Competition] Recess At Last

This is a spoilery post about Recess at Last by Gerald Aungst. Please do not read on unless you have played the game! (And in fact I have to add some meaningless words here so that the real review doesn't show up on feeds; although frankly it's not the words that are meaningless, and indeed, not even the sentences; I'm reading Carnap at the moment, and he is way too quick in saying that a sentence is meaningless; for instance, "the moon is a city in Germany" seems to me false, not meaningless; but I guess that's what happens when you apply Russell's theory of types to our language about the empirical world.)

As I explained in a previous post, I want to write these comments on the form of advice to the author; not as reviews that end with a numerical mark.

What is good?
The implementation is clean, bug free, responsive. This makes the play experience smooth and pleasurable.There are some good hints within the game, and I always had a clear goal.What could be …

[IF Competition] Afflicted

Let us talk about the games in the 2008 Interactive Fiction Competition. Instead of proclaiming judgement over the games and giving them a mark for all to see, I am planning to write reactions in the form of constructive criticism and advice to the authors. Hopefully, that will be more useful. (Specific bugs will be emailed directly to the author.)

All these posts will contain spoilers - consider yourself warned.

(Emily Short gave me the idea of changing the settings of my blog so that it will only send a couple of sentences, rather than the whole spoilery post, to sites like Planet IF. So if you are wondering why it's changed: that's why.)

Without further ado, here are my comments on Afflicted by Doug Egan.


What is good?
Afflicted is an example of a kind of game that is slowly becoming the "standard", replacing the old puzzler. It is not quite puzzleless, not in the sense that Photopia and The Baron are puzzleless (i.e., written with the explicit goal of never having the…