Now that the competition is over, I can go ahead and
let y'all in on a little secret: I wrote _Sins Against
It's my first Inform game and was written during an
extremely dark period in my life, in large part to keep
my mind off things I didn't want to think about.
I will be fixing the reported bugs (and if anyone has
any bugs they would like to report or suggestions for
improvement, please send them to me) and then releasing
the Version 2 source.
I'd like to say that I've been pleasantly surprised
by the number of favorable comments I got. I wrote
_Mimesis_ as a one-off in-joke game. After last year's
competition I expected that we would be deluged with
heavy, dark, long, difficult, upsetting games along
the lines of _Tapestry_ and _Delusions_.
My game was thus intended to be a light, fluffy romp
through some IF conventions. It was never intended
to be comprehensible to any but raif regulars, since
I figured that's my core target audience; at the very
least, those are the people whom I really wanted to
reach. If non-regulars vote they should score _Mimesis_
down severely, since it will neither be funny nor
coherent. The game was intended to be an in-joke, and
more specifically, to be something fun to fiddle with
for much less than two hours between Serious Literary
I think it's odd that David Dyte and I got the same
number of votes. We've talked before about how our
games try to do something similar, and it's interesting
to see that that's the common perception.
Let me end up with a brief capsule review of some of
the more memorable, for me, games this year, as long
as I'm being self-indulgent.
My favorite, through and through, was _Edifice_.
Beautifully constructed; the language puzzle was
nothing I'd ever seen. The hint system was cool,
and I just loved the care with which the game was
evidently put together.
My second favorite was _Glowgrass_. Short, sweet,
to the point, a great story, engaging prose that
really sucked me in, and even some reasonably logical
and interesting puzzles. Plus it really was a two-
I never got very far into _Babel_. I'm not sure why
people got all excited about it because I never really
got into it. It failed to hold my attention, and I'm
not sure whether it's because I came to it late or
because the writing didn't grab me.
I'll go out on a limb here and say that I liked
_Phred Phontious_, but there was no way it was a two-
hour game, and some of the puzzles made very little
sense. It was kind of like _Spiritwrak_ in that
sense--I liked playing it, but wouldn't have gotten
anywhere without the walkthrough.
_The Frenetic Five_ was cool. Alas, without a
walkthrough I got stuck having escaped my bonds in
the flange factory and never got farther. It had
great prose, though.
I greatly enjoyed _Bear's Night Out_. Much like
_Mimesis_ in some ways, but sweet, cute, and
_Madame L'Estrange_ is the hardest of the games to
rate. I really wanted to find out how the story
ended. I *had* to know. But the game was so buggy
that "Save" stopped working halfway through, and the
writing was full of problems (like slipping from
second to third person all the time). There are
any number of reasons to have written it off as a
crappy game, but I was engrossed to the point of
working around the bugs to find out where the story
_Zero Sum Game_. Cute, but my God how incredibly
cold. Brrr. I started out thinking "this is a funny
and cute game" and ended up feeling all dirty. It's
an amazing piece of writing (the multiple dragon-
resurrection scenes alone are great), but if the
author was trying for an ironic deconstruction of the
amoral adventurer, it was a success. If not the tone
was exceedingly creepy and left a nasty taste in my
mouth. In short, after you're done, it wasn't as much
fun as it seemed like at the time.
_Savannah_. Beautiful. Atmospheric. Way too big
and hard for a two-hour game, even with the walk-
through. I think I would have released this one and
done a shorter competition game. It's a fine game
on its own merits, although with too many "huh?"
puzzles. But the attention to detail and the care of
craftsmanship is evident, and it's a really neat
And finally, I'd like to get to _The Tempest_. Graham,
what the hell were you trying to do? The rewriting
of the libraries into Elizabethan English is
brilliant. The language is fine, the presentation
is beautiful, and it's no damn fun at all. I *know*
the play pretty intimately and I couldn't ever
finish the game. Even now I'm stuck having reanimated
the statue in Hell. If I were giving marks I wouldn't
know whether to rank this game high for its evident
technical wizardry and ambition or very low because
it is no fun to play.
I'm posting via Dejanews because Princeton's news
server no longer reaches the outside world. Let me
know if you have any suggestions for Release 2 of
_Sins Against Mimesis_.
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