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IFComp 2010

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Are you into text adventure games AT ALL?!

Poll ended at Thu Dec 02, 2010 11:10 pm

Yeah, love them lots!
2
13%
I like them now and then.
3
20%
I played Infocom games back in the day, but not lately.
5
33%
I have not tried any yet but I want to.
0
No votes
Only if they're in Space Rangers 2 or written by Strong Bad.
2
13%
I have tried them and I do not share your enthusiasm.
3
20%
I have not tried any and do not wish to try any.
0
No votes
I seriously don't know which of the above applies to me.
0
No votes
 
Total votes: 15

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Hipolito
Posts: 1958
Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2004 2:00 pm
Location: Chicago, Illinois

IFComp 2010

Post by Hipolito »

HEY KIDS!

It's time to participate in the Annual Games!

Yay!

As judges in the Annual Interactive Fiction Competition!

Ya ... y?

Just like last year and years past, I'll be posting my opinions of the game as I play them and invite you to do the same!

um ...

This year, you can play most of the games online instead of downloading them. That's pretty handy, isn't it?

...

There will be ice cream.

Yay!

As in, the games are really ice cream for the mind, since they stimulate your imagination!

:(
Gracias por estar aquí.
Avatar: my Shepard from Mass Effect 1.
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Hipolito
Posts: 1958
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Location: Chicago, Illinois

Re: IFComp 2010

Post by Hipolito »

My ratings thus far:

The 12:54 to Asgard: You're a handyman (no, not Carlos Vargas) who has to fix a leaky roof at a TV studio during a thunderstorm. So far, so-so, but then the game insists on taking you on a Magical Mystery Tour through Dante's Inferno or something. Needs fixin'. Rating: 4/10.

The Bible Retold: The Lost Sheep: You're a shepherd (no, not Sausalito) in search of sheep #100. Cute little game based on the biblical parable. It's not religious in nature, but odd things can happen in the form of ... well, I guess you'd call them Easter eggs. Rating: 6/10.

The Chronicler: You use a handy portable time machine to find out what happened to an abandoned space research colony. Unfortunately, the author didn't finish the game, and neither can I. Rating: 2/10.

Death Off the Cuff: You're a detective attempting to solve a murder, even while declaring who the murderer is. Not truly a mystery, but a clever satire of the classic detective hero. Rating: 7/10.

East Grove Hills: Awkward high schooler makes IF game to reflect on school tragedy. Oh, the meta. Rating: 4.

Flight of the Hummingbird: Third-string superhero must stop a fiendish plot. His beverage-powered flight ability provides some interesting puzzles. And talk about a super-ability to hold it in! Rating: 6.

Heated: Slacker with hygiene challenges must get out of bed and get to work on time. Rating: 4.

Mite: Tiny, green-skinned, non-slacker fantasy creature must deliver a crystal egg to the Fairy Prince. He meets an armored chipmunk. Rating: 5.

Ninja's Fate: This seems to be an IFComp in-joke. At least it's a playable one. Rating: 5.

Pen and Paint: A writer uses his wife's paintings and other inspirations to conquer some affliction. Interesting, but I didn't understand what it all meant. It's also kind of buggy. Rating: 6.

The People's Glorious Revolutionary Text Adventure Game: The game Christine O'Donnell doesn't want you to play! Over-the-top funny quest to convert an American city to communism. Maybe someday we can have a similar treatment of radical Islam. Rating: 7.

A quiet evening at home: Not exactly the sequel to Heated that we've all been pining for, but it's a slightly better simulation of sad bachelor life. Rating: 5.

The Warbler's Nest: Medieval horror that takes a close look at nature, but the game won't let you go anywhere you're scared to go. Frustrating, not scary. Rating: 4.

Rogue of the Multiverse: Human prisoner on an alien planet is forced to go on scavenger hunts. You can make money on these hunts, buy stuff, and discover more of the plot. Reads like a dimestore spy novel, which I like. Rating: 7.

Aotearoa: Visit an island where prehistoric animals thrive and evil poachers lurk. Rich with lore and good writing, but progresses a bit slowly. Rating: 6.

The Bible Retold: Following a Star: The three wise men of the New Testament and Chrono Trigger follow the Star of Bethlehem while saying things like "chill out." Too complicated, not much fun to read. I bailed after a half-hour. The camels have cool names, though. Rating: 3.

The Blind House: You're a mysterious woman taking refuge in a mysterious artist's house, but from what? This is another story I'm too dense to understand, and the puzzles are a little annoying. But I like the suspense and artistic onscreen map. Rating: 7.

Divis Mortis: You wake up in a hospital that's being invaded by creatures that rhyme with "prom cheese." Moist with yummy gore, yet feels a bit dry. Rating: 7.

Gigantomania: Four vignettes of dreary Soviet life focusing on the practice of denouncement. This ain't no parody. Intelligent, but embodies the dreariness too well in the gameplay, and is Bolshevik with bugs. Rating: 5

Gris et Jaune: I got tired of wading in allegory, so I looked at the walkthrough. Yipes. I fold. Rating: 3.

One Eye Open: You're a person with ESP in an experiment gone (what else?) horribly wrong. Lots of good horror ideas are wasted here due to parser pains and a sarcastic-nerd writing style. Rating: 5.

Oxygen: Use technician skills to maintain life support and make tough decisions aboard a crippled asteroid mining station. The game is a little short and revolves around one puzzle, but I like how the sound effects and oxygen readouts add to the atmosphere. Rating: 7.

Under, In Erebus: A moron who doesn't know his way around the Chicago El ends up in an underground fantasy world where nothing makes sense. The idiot deserves it. Rating: 3.

R: Unplayable pirate adventure, narrated in groggolalia but programmed by a parrot. Rating: 1.

Leadlight: Hack-and-slash horror game set at a girls' boarding school. The Apple II emulator lends a nice, old-fashioned feel, as does the simple but competent writing. Rating: 7.

Sons of the Cherry: Short Choose Your Own Adventure-style story about a secret society of witches during the American Revolution. Rating: 5.
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Hipolito
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Location: Chicago, Illinois

Re: IFComp 2010

Post by Hipolito »

Annnnnd done. Another tame year in the competition. There aren't any games that really stand out and deserve the top prize. As with last year's comp, the game I enjoyed most this year was a dumb comedy: The People's Glorious Revolutionary Text Adventure Game. I'm very easily amused.

But I also enjoy games featuring that other type of "humor," specifically the fluid that a person's body expresses when pierced. Every year has some horror entries, but this year seemed extra gory. About four or five of the ganes did what they could to stir my stomach soups, and of these I liked Leadlight the most followed closely by Divis Mortis.

Pen and Paint reminds me of an entry in IFComp 2006 that was also about stepping into paintings: The Primrose Path. I didn't like that game, but it won second place. I think Pen and Paint is better, but not as ambitious (or broken) as Primrose Path, so maybe it'll get some notice. I also want to write a game about entering paintings, but it will be about paintings that actually exist.

Aotearoa and The Blind House should get high ratings as well for being well-written and effective in setting moods. In fact, if I had to predict this year's winner, I'd pick Blind House. It feels mysterious and meaningful, is tightly focused on relationships, and lets players have different interpretations of what's going on. It has several possible endings, all powerful. Its main problem is how difficult it can be to find the arbitrary plot triggers and keep the story moving.

It may not get first place, but Oxygen deserves high marks for feeling much more like a game than most IF works. While playing it, I felt as though I was competing against another person. I played it several times to relive that feeling and see how things would turn out with different strategies.

We'll know the results in two days. Please don't do anything until then.
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Blackhawk
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Re: IFComp 2010

Post by Blackhawk »

>post reply
________________________________________
Nothin'. I got nothin'.

Black Lives Matter
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coopasonic
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Location: Dallas-ish

Re: IFComp 2010

Post by coopasonic »

Hipolito wrote: We'll know the results in two days. Please don't do anything until then.
Well? I'm waiting with bated breath. Baited breath is way too smelly.
-Coop
Black Lives Matter
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Anonymous Bosch
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Re: IFComp 2010

Post by Anonymous Bosch »

>vivify Hipolito
"There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences." — P. J. O'Rourke
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Hipolito
Posts: 1958
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Location: Chicago, Illinois

Re: IFComp 2010

Post by Hipolito »

Blackhawk wrote:>post reply
You have been given a very firm and vigorous pat-down by a grue. If that's good news to you, give yourself a point, otherwise type UNDO and walk through the scanner.
coopasonic wrote:
Hipolito wrote: We'll know the results in two days. Please don't do anything until then.
Well? I'm waiting with bated breath. Baited breath is way too smelly.
I'm glad you know the difference between "bated" and "baited." Too many people mistakenly use the latter and never master "bated."
Anonymous Bosch wrote:>vivify Hipolito
Schwing!

Sorry to keep you all waiting on the results. I have just received the secret envelope, sealed with zombie butter. (Don't ask.) Opening the envelope reveals:

First Place Winner: Aotearoa
Prize chosen: $450
Average score: 7.98
Hipolito's score: 6
Hipolito says: "I felt Aotearoa did a fine job in establishing the setting of an exotic, prehistoric island and dialogue with colorful characters. I had some problems with how long it took to reach that island and the annoying little things I had to do to get from one place to another, but others enjoyed the journey for what it was."

Second Place Winner: Rogue of the Multiverse
No prize chosen yet
Average score: 7.43
Hipolito's score: 7
Hipolito says: "I am pleasantly surprised by this game's second place finish. I enjoyed it as a lurid little sci-fi adventure with intriguing gameplay features but I had not considered it to be a winner. The high placement of this game shows that the competition rewards quality!"

Third Place Winner: One Eye Open
Prize chosen: $400
Average score: 7.41
Hipolito's score: 5
Hipolito says: "Wait a minute. The largest monetary prize on offer was $450 and the second largest was $400. The first place winner claimed the former and the third place winner claimed the latter. Does this mean the second place winner refused a prize? Come on, at least go for the 'basket of fine teas, cake, biscuits, jam and chocolates.' There might be something delicious in there."

My personal favorite, People's Glorious Revolutionary Text Adventure, came in 7th place and my prediction for no. 1, The Blind House, only got no. 4.

Of the Bible adventures, Following a Star placed higher than The Lost Sheep. Neither is a great game, but Lost Sheep was certainly more fun than the infuriating and complicated Following a Star. If Following a Star had any basis in reality, then the real miracle would not have been Jesus's birth, but that the three wise men ever reached him.

A quiet evening at home ranked next to last. That's a little unfair. It even ranked below R, which is a little unfair squared.

In general, though, reasonable results.

Any of you who want to make your own little amateur computer game ought to compete in IFComp. Why?
  1. Look at how many people play these games. There's a strong chance that at least a hundred people will not only play your game, but rate it.
  2. The languages in which you can write a game (e.g. Inform, TADS, Glulx) are well documented and supported, and it seems you don't need a computer science degree to learn them.
  3. You can count on your fellow Octopus Overlords to provide moral support and beta testing!
  4. You just might win a basket of fine teas, cake, biscuits, jam and chocolates.
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