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IFComp 2012 (winner winner kitten dinner)

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Hipolito
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IFComp 2012 (winner winner kitten dinner)

Post by Hipolito » Sat Oct 06, 2012 5:39 pm

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Our LOLcat-themed Interactive Fiction Competition reviews from last year were widely hated and unpopular. Since then, we at Hipolito Hankies have been thinking about what went wrong and how we can avoid making the same mistakes again. After much thought and self-reflection, we have decided to review the games of this year's IFComp exactly the same way as before. In fact, our reviews will be even worse this time because we're using our LOLcat ideas that weren't good enough to make the cut last year. Nevertheless, we hope you enjoy them!

We will edit this thread's title whenever new reviews are posted so you don't feel compelled to keep checking this thread in your forlorn hope that it will end soon.

Got your text-based cat kebabs grilling? Then on with the show!


The Sealed Door

I'm trapped in a room with a unicorn and a dragon, both bleeding, and I'm bored?

Rating: 3 out of 10

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Shuffling Around

You have to rearrange the letters in nouns you see to turn them into other nouns. Unfortunately, the prose is so filled with clever anagrams that playing the game filled me with sad pier.

Rating: 3 out of 10

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Castle Adventure

As the name suggests, this is a generic, no-frills excursion, though the puzzles take a bit of thought. I fairly enjoyed it.

Rating: 6 out of 10

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Valkyrie

Choose-Your-Own-Adventure that offers an interesting origin story for valkyries and a weird encounter with Loki that's more intriguing than whatever Joss Whedon did with him in that Avengers movie. It's messily written and stream-of-consciousness, though. I could only bear to skim it.

Rating: 4 out of 10

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J'dal

Treasure hunt with flavorful dialogue, racial commentary, and a bit o' magic. Kind of falls apart with regard to puzzle implementation.

Rating: 6 out of 10

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Sunday Afternoon

You're cooped up in your boring uncle's and aunt's house and just want to play outside. I couldn't figure out how to win, even with the hints and detailed item descriptions.

Rating: 6 out of 10

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A Killer Headache

When zombies start running out of brains from the living, what do you suppose happens? Some good, crunchy kills, but the puzzles are too tough for my brains.

Rating: 6 out of 10

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Escape From Summerland


When your caravan gets bombed, what else are you going to do but rescue a monkey from the postapocalyptic amusement park? Like chilled monkey brains, this game has some interesting flavor notes but is generally undercooked.

Rating: 4 out of 10

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Kicker

FOOTTBAAALLL!! Oh wait, you're just the sadsack kicker, spending most of the game on the sidelines with nothing to do. That's seriously it.

Rating: 3 out of 10

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Body Bargain

Buggy but attention-keeping medical horror thriller about an unethical clinic that fulfills patients' questionable body modification requests.

Rating: 6 out of 10

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The Island

De plane, de plane! Oh wait, it's not that kind of island. I'm pretty sure the guy tied to the post is Ricardo Montalban, though. Decent puzzles but lousy implementation and deficient prose.

Rating: 3 out of 10

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Living Will

One of the oddest IFComp entries I've played. You are the executor of a will that is more difficult to understand than the rule against perpetuities. A clever but tough, annoying read.

Rating: 5 out of 10

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Murphy's Law

It's a recurring theme in IFComp: pathetic bachelor tries to accomplish simple task despite overwhelming odds. Well written and humorous, but this kind of thing is depressing, you know?

Rating: 5 out of 10

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Spiral

Another recurring theme: Navigate your way through a random assortment of nightmares and dreamscapes to find freedom. It's a long, tiresome way to make a point.

Rating: 4 out of 10.

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Transit

Choose-Your-Own-Adventure about you being stuck at an airport and looking for your translator friend. The game's a mess but comes with cool airport sign art.

Rating: 3 out of 10

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Irvine Quik & the Search for the Fish of Traglea

Does the green-on-black interface make ADRIFT games seem less fun than they really are? I don't know, maybe. Either way, this sci-fi advemture is laborious to play and navigate and the writing is about as funny as one of those singing bass trophies.

Rating: 2 out of 10

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Guilded Youth

2008's 3rd place winner impresses again with this graphics and sound-enhanced game. You're a kid who wants to explore an abandoned old house, with his online RPG-playing friends, before it's demolished. Well written and fun to play, though quite short and simple in the end. (Everybody dies. Ha, just kidding.)

Rating: 7 out of 10

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howling dogs

Do you remember reading 20 years ago about how this exciting new thing called hypertext was going to change the way we read? This game is what they were talking about. You are a patient, maybe a prisoner, immersed in a variety of strange VR settings. An eclectic tour through alien cultures and philosophies, described with concise and graceful writing.

Rating: 7 out of 10

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The Test is Now READY

Go through a series of 5 morality tests. You get a personality assessment and even a career recommendation at the end. The first few tests are fun because they involve violence and sadism, but the last couple are boring because they're just about resisting temptation.

Rating: 5 out of 10

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Eurydice

Starts as a highly observant and believable story about how trite and cold the world seems from the point of view of a grieving person. Then ... well, it doesn't become a ponycorn adventure but it's halfway there. Four unsatisfying endings.

Rating: 6 out of 10

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In a Manor of Speaking

Another wacky game about solving puns, this one much more readable and playable. A little disjointed, but it got me good a couple of times. Nice hint system.

Rating: 7 out of 10

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Andromeda Apocalypse

The sequel to Andromeda Awakening, last year's epic sci-fail. Find your way through yet another desolate metal maze while the game pretends to be Carl Sagan. In space, no one can hear you scream over their own yawns.

Rating: 4 out of 10

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Last Minute

You're a person who wants to compete in IFComp but has only 10 minutes to submit his entry, so you have to whip up something quick. A simplistic mix of Choose Your Own Adventure and Mad Libs with out-of-control nerdy humor. Nine different endings, but they're pretty similar.

Rating: 5 out of 10

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Lunar Base 1

You and a fellow astronaut go to the Moon (I'm not kidding, the @#$@#$ Moon!) to conduct experiments. Tightly programmed and written for smooth play and a slight simulator feel. I'd like to see more games like this. Sadly, I think endgame bugs cheated me out of victory.

Rating: 6 out of 10

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Signos

Go on a journey of the mind! Yap with yogis and B.S. with Buddha. Pointless, and not in that cool Zen fashion.

Rating: 1 out of 10

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Fish Bowl

Cool and unique little horror tale about a beachcomber who finds a dead animal outside his shack, and things get worse and weirder. A little more detail, style, and player agency would have enhanced the atmosphere, but I think it's haunting enough as it is.

Rating: 7 out of 10

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Changes

You crash land on a planet and wake up in the forest as some hyperkinetic rabbity thing. Seems interesting, but it's annoying to play because you're always on the run from predators. I can't get anywhere even while trying to follow the walkthrough.

Rating: 5 out of 10

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The Lift

Enter a "weapons room" to get one of four different weapons. Then enter one of four rooms each with a different threat and see if you chose wisely. It's garbage, but who doesn't like garbage now and then?

Rating: 2 out of 10

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Last edited by Hipolito on Fri Nov 16, 2012 4:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Hipolito
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Re: IFComp 2012 (Reviews finished!)

Post by Hipolito » Thu Nov 08, 2012 12:13 am

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Not a bad year for the competition. It was looking dire for a while, but I ended up liking or respecting a good number of the entries. My favorite is howling dogs. It's arguably not as interactive as a true text adventure, but I really enjoyed the wild and imaginative journey.

Check back here on November 16 for the winner and post-competition coverage, only on ... the Internet!

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Fitzy
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Re: IFComp 2012 (Reviews finished!)

Post by Fitzy » Thu Nov 08, 2012 7:24 am

Excellent reviews. Love the cats.

Maybe I missed it, but did you play all of the games?

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Hipolito
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Re: IFComp 2012 (Reviews finished!)

Post by Hipolito » Thu Nov 08, 2012 9:47 am

Fitzy wrote:Maybe I missed it, but did you play all of the games?
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^
|
(pic not by me, ah stoled it)

Moar sirisly, I did play them all, but gave up very early on a few of them (Sunday Afternoon, Shuffled Around, Escape from Summerland, Irvine Quik, Andromeda Apocalypse, and Changes). I guess I shouldn't have said I finished them all.

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Hipolito
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Re: IFComp 2012 (Reviews finished!)

Post by Hipolito » Fri Nov 16, 2012 4:22 pm

Lentils and Gentlemen,

The top three winners of the 18th Interactive Fiction Competition are:
  1. Andromeda Apocalypse by Marco Innocenti.
    Average rating: 7.30
    Hipolito rating: 4
    Prize chosen: Planetfall for the Apple ][ in a folio package with all feelies.
  2. Eurydice by Anonymous.
    Average rating: 7.15
    Hipolito rating: 6
    Prize chosen: An original 1930s Dennis Wheatley crime dossier.
  3. Guilded Youth by Jim Munroe.
    Average rating: 7.12
    Hipolito rating: 7
    Prize chosen: $250
Miss Congeniality award (competitors' favorites): Guided Youth, Escape From Summerland, and Sunday Afternoon.


I think I understand what the Republican party is going through, because seeing Andromeda Apocalypse win is a big shock to me. Are people saying it has better writing than howling dogs? Better puzzles than Body Bargain? Better characters than Eurydice? Better code than Guilded Youth? I feel like seceding from something.

Maybe the real reason people like the game is that it has achievements. Yup, those silly achievement systems are finally making their way into IF games.

Obviously I missed something. I played the game for 45 minutes at most, hardly getting anywhere. I quit too early and wasn't in the right frame of mind to see beyond the game's flaws.

Then again, I caption cats. I am probably not in the right frame of mind for anything.

Oh well, there's always next year. Speaking of, next year should be interesting for me. That's because I will either 1) compete in IFComp, at long last, or 2) Judge IFComp using a crazy new review theme that will totally blow your socks off. (No, idiot, not "more LOLcats.")

Until then ...

(\__/)
(='.'=) THX 4 REEDIGN!
(")_(")

(edit: misreported score)
Last edited by Hipolito on Fri Nov 16, 2012 7:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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silverjon
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Re: IFComp 2012 (winner winner kitten dinner)

Post by silverjon » Fri Nov 16, 2012 4:41 pm

Oh, Jim Munroe! http://nomediakings.org/" target="_blank

I loved his graphic novel, Therefore Repent!
http://nomediakings.org/category/comics ... ore-repent" target="_blank
I need to pick up the sequel.

(His homepage says he's released a new version of Gilded Youth with an updated ending.)
wot?

To be fair, adolescent power fantasy tripe is way easier to write than absurd existential horror, and every community has got to start somewhere... right?

Unless one loses a precious thing, he will never know its true value. A little light finally scratches the darkness; it lets the exhausted one face his shattered dream and realize his path cannot be walked. Can man live happily without embracing his wounded heart?

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Hipolito
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Re: IFComp 2012 (winner winner kitten dinner)

Post by Hipolito » Fri Nov 16, 2012 7:17 pm

silverjon wrote:Oh, Jim Munroe! http://nomediakings.org/" target="_blank

I loved his graphic novel, Therefore Repent!
http://nomediakings.org/category/comics ... ore-repent" target="_blank
I need to pick up the sequel.

(His homepage says he's released a new version of Gilded Youth with an updated ending.)
Cool, thanks for letting me know! The endings he added are pretty nice. I wonder whether including them in the competition edition would have raised his score by just that smidgen needed to earn second place.

I may also check out that graphic novel. The e-book version is pay-what-you-want.

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Re: IFComp 2012 (winner winner kitten dinner)

Post by silverjon » Fri Nov 16, 2012 11:04 pm

It's worth checking out. He's a very good writer, and I liked the art as well.
wot?

To be fair, adolescent power fantasy tripe is way easier to write than absurd existential horror, and every community has got to start somewhere... right?

Unless one loses a precious thing, he will never know its true value. A little light finally scratches the darkness; it lets the exhausted one face his shattered dream and realize his path cannot be walked. Can man live happily without embracing his wounded heart?

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