Reviews: IF Competition 1995
(Note: I didn't vote, being a competitor. Yeah, I could have voted for
the TADSers, but I didn't.)
(In this first competition, voters chose a first, second, and
third place in separate TADS and Inform categories.)
Warning: blunt comments ahead.
I ranked this really low, to be honest. I didn't
like the puzzles at all. I solved almost none of them myself -- I kept
thinking "There's no way to do anything with that," looking at the
hints, and thinking "I was supposed to do what?" I felt like the
author was leading me blindfold. Then again, the cyberpunk atmosphere
didn't particularly do it for me -- that's a matter of taste - and
people seem to have ranked the game highly because of it.
Liked it a lot. People seem to have ragged on it
for not being a story-and-atmosphere piece, but that wasn't a
requirement of the contest. Technically very tight -- you'd almost
think the author had experience with writing a full-length IF game :-)
The puzzles absolutely did it for me. Took more than two hours -- more
than two days, in fact -- but my entry was at least as hard.
C. E. Forman
I laughed a lot. A terrific idea. Was it a legitimate entry?
Sure. And yes, it was an "original piece of IF." The story of the
underlying game was not original, but the commentary was interactive
and was implemented with the same programming techniques as the rest
of us used. I hope more people stretch the boundaries like this (or
-- I should say -- differently, not like this) next year.
Michael S. Phillips
I wasn't able to solve it. Felt vaguely skimpy.
Solved it, but again, it was small and thin. (Hush --
I'll address your comment at the end of this post.)
Liked it. Although it owed perhaps a little too
much to the "classic" IF tropes of brightly-colored magical objects
arbitrarily scattered around the landscape. (Yeah, yeah, but you know
what I mean. Blue discs, black rods, violet pearls, green wires, red
gems -- sometime I think IF is trapped in a Lucky Charms commercial.)
(Uh, if you don't watch US TV, I'll explain later.) But that's too
harsh; Zebulon did have a plot, which I liked.
Liked this the best of the TADS entries. Great evocation of
a scenario -- you figure out what to do by understanding how the
universe works. Plus, it's funny.
Not much there; it didn't pull me in. (So to
Nice idea, but like other people have
said, it didn't do much with it. Time travel puzzles are well-known
and this had nothing new.
About even with Zebulon for second place in the TADS
entries. A lot of careful design, consideration of multiple paths of
action; this scores well with me. It didn't particularly advance the
standard of mystery IF (you go around, ask questions, show things to
people, and everyone's reactions are a little limited.) But it did a
good job with what we have.
Again, I laughed a lot. On the other hand, I wouldn't have
ranked it very high -- it was very small. This brings me back to what
you were complaining about earlier: I very much tend to like large
games and dislike small ones. Well, it's true. I liked Undo as much
as, say, any given scene in Toonesia -- but that meant there was more
I liked in Toonesia. So I rank it higher. Should I try to normalize
for that if I vote next year? Try to vote for quality per unit time,
or quality per kilobyte of game file? Dunno. Such options don't even
necessarily make sense for something like Detective.
Oh well. I'd hate to see entries like Undo being left out just because
they might not win. I played it with a big grin, which is worth much
to me. (Detective was the other one that did this.)
Whoo hoo. On to next year.
Last updated November 21, 1998.