Showing posts from November, 2019

[IF Comp 2019] Girth Loinhammer and the Quest for the Unsee Elixir, by Damon L. Wakes

Girth Loinhammer and the Quest for the Unsee Elixir is a fantasy comedy about a dungeon lord who didn't realise what crowd you'll attract when you open a dungeon. Having seen things he would rather forget, Loinhammer goes on a quest for the unsee elixir (not a typo), and you, dear reader, go on the quest with him. I decided to put on some horribly cheesy fantasy metal – Rhapsody of Fire – just to get in the mood, and join Loinhammer I did. The game presents itself as a classic gamebook experience for which you need to print out an adventure sheet. It's decidedly nonstandard, with scores like "Self-esteem" and a box for Luck which has "Bad" pre-printed in it. I could have done without it being called “Ye Olde Adventure Sheete,” as the "Ye Olde" there is too trite a joke to make me smile, but I’m sill on board for this. Plus, Rhapsdoy of Fire is singing bad English lyrics that fit Girth Loinhammer just fine: For the glory, the power to

[IF Comp 2019] Sugarlawn, by Mike Spivey

Mike Spivey made a name for himself with his 2017 game A Beauty Cold and Austere and his 2018 game Junior Arithmancer . Both of these were mathematical puzzle games, that is, puzzle games that were about mathematics; and both of them were very well received, placing 7th and 7th in their respective interactive fiction competitions. And now we can add Sugarlawn to the list, a game that did even better, taking 4th place in the competition (and winning the author-awarded Miss Congeniality prize). Sugarlawn is in many ways precisely what I would expect from Spivey: a polished, competent, and systematic puzzle game. But the mathematics -- while there -- is much more hidden this time around. As Spivey explains in his design notes , he didn't want to become 'that guy who only writes games about mathematics', and so he settled on a different theme: Louisiana. You are a participant in a ridiculous game show that has you go on a treasure hunt in an old Louisiana mansion while

[IF Comp 2019] Extreme Omnivore: Text Edition, by Hazel Gold

Parser games excel in representing space , in placing the player in an environment consisting of multiple -- even many -- locations and allowing them to explore it. It is no coincidence that the drawing of maps is deeply associated with parser games; that Adventure started out as a cave exploration game; or that the one thing you need to do to create a legal Inform 7 source text is declaring a room for the player to be in. A spatially defined environment is central to most of the working assumptions of parser IF. It is therefore also not a coincidence that when first-time parser authors sit behind their blank screen, wondering what to write, they often decide to implement a spatial environment for exploration, and choose the environment that is most ready-to-hand: their own apartment. You don't see that many of them any more, but there used to be lots of these games. Sam Ashwell refers to this as My Apartment Games ; I remembered them being called My Crappy Apartment Games, but

[IF Comp 2019] Let's Play: Ancient Greek Punishment: The Text Adventure, by Pippin Barr

During the interactive fiction competition, I wrote 48 reviews on the secret author's forum -- exactly as many as last year! I'll be posting them here, but as I do so, I'll often be using the opportunity to update them too. Some games I want to play more; in other cases, I might want to research the context better, or react to other reviews that have been written. Unless you were on the author's forum, you won't notice the difference, of course. But I wanted to put this up front anyway. So without further ado, we go to a heavily changed (indeed totally rewritten) version of my review of... Let's Play: Ancient Greek Punishment: The Text Adventure , by Pippin Barr, plays like an extended version of a game entered in the 2006 IF Comp, Sisyphus by Theo Koutz. In Sisyphus , you get to play the legendary king Sisyphus after he has died. You're in Hades, faced with a boulder and a slope. The task is to push to boulder up the hill. But of course, when you're