Compition Suggestion: Genre Tagging

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LucFrench

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Oct 26, 1998, 3:00:00 AM10/26/98
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I know I've made bad suggestions for the if-compition in the past; however, all
have been in 'good faith', so just hang in with me for a bit.

I've been thinking over an argument in rgif, and an argument that took place
just after Comp97, and I got an idea:

A style/genre specifier, to be included in the compXX.z5 file.

Similar to the format specifier, the genre specifier could be specifically
excluded (although not included; that is a function left to the format
specifiers).

This would allow those who particularly dislike a particular genre to exclude
it from their judgment. This would help to prevent summary judgment.

<Feel free at this point to flame me to a crisp. If you don't feel like that
just yet, or want to flame me in the specifics, I'll continue into the
specifics of my idea. (What can I say? I'm optimistic.)>

Suggested genre fields:
Comedy
Zarfian (i.e., Limited explanation of what is going on.)
Zorkian (No plot, per-se.)
Advent-esque (Invokes spirit of Advent, Zork, etc.)
Disturbing (May disturb some players.)
Horror
Fantasy
Science Fiction
Set in Present/Past (SiP) (Not necessarily set in Real Life)
and
Beginner

All would be assigned at the choice of the author. Please note that none of the
tags would exclude any of the others (You can both be SiP and Science Fiction,
as one of this years entries could be argued to be). (However, at ddyte's
discretion, the Horror, Science Fiction, Disturbing, Comedy and SiP tags could
be removed, and the Disturbing, Zorkian, and Zarfian tags could be added. For
both operations, however, DD should be encouraged to consult somebody else.)

(Please note, also, that Disturbing may be expanded upon.)

Any further suggestions? Any tags I missed? Flames? Plonks? Death threats?
Something I didn't think of in suggesting this?

Thanks
Luc "Overly Specific" French

Iain Merrick

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Oct 26, 1998, 3:00:00 AM10/26/98
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LucFrench wrote:

[ categories for competition games ]

[...]


> Any further suggestions? Any tags I missed? Flames? Plonks? Death threats?
> Something I didn't think of in suggesting this?

I totally agree with Zarf's reply, which for some reason appeared before
your suggestion. (Where he said that the competition should simply be
about 'how good do you think this game is?', and any categories would
detract from this.) So I wouldn't be in favour of fixed tags.

But I often think it would be nice if each game had a blurb associated
with it, so that I could get a vague idea of what it's like before
downloading it, finding a compatible interpreter and so on. I guess this
would correspond to the promotional snippets which appear on the back
cover, or inside the front cover, of a book.

The effect would be similar to tagging, but purely under the control of
the author. Authors who didn't like the idea of putting tacky blurbs on
their masterpieces wouldn't be forced to do so - but if they _did_ want
to add a blurb, there would be a well-defined way of doing so.

Hmmm... I guess the real question is, should people be allowed to decide
whether or not to play a game after reading the blurb? Is the blurb
'part of the game'? Maybe this suggestion isn't really all that
different from yours after all.

--
Iain Merrick

Andrew Plotkin

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Oct 26, 1998, 3:00:00 AM10/26/98
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Iain Merrick (i...@cs.york.ac.uk) wrote:
> LucFrench wrote:

> [ categories for competition games ]

> [...]
> > Any further suggestions? Any tags I missed? Flames? Plonks? Death threats?
> > Something I didn't think of in suggesting this?

> I totally agree with Zarf's reply, which for some reason appeared before
> your suggestion.

I was actually replying to HarryH's tag suggestion; I hadn't seen
LucFrench's yet. Same issue, however.

> But I often think it would be nice if each game had a blurb associated
> with it, so that I could get a vague idea of what it's like before
> downloading it, finding a compatible interpreter and so on. I guess this
> would correspond to the promotional snippets which appear on the back
> cover, or inside the front cover, of a book.

Authors are already allowed to include a README file, and that can contain
anything the author wants.

I feel that the startup text of a game serves exactly this purpose,
however. It's traditionally "inside the line", if you see what I mean --
written from the same player-perspective as the game, rather than the
external perspective of a book jacket. But it conveys the same
information (and I much prefer that method.)

If someone started a game with a blurb-style intro text (possibly
optional, you know, "Hit B to read the blurb"), that would be fine. And
exactly equivalent to a README file as far as I'm concerned.

> Hmmm... I guess the real question is, should people be allowed to decide
> whether or not to play a game after reading the blurb?

Currently, people can decide whether to play a game at any time. In '96 I
decided not to rate a game after I finished it (with the walkthrough),
because I decided I couldn't give it a fair chance. (Yes, even by my own
terms.)

--Z

--

"And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the
borogoves..."

Stephen van Egmond

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Oct 26, 1998, 3:00:00 AM10/26/98
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In article <19981026045552...@ng74.aol.com>,

LucFrench <lucf...@aol.com> wrote:
>I've been thinking over an argument in rgif, and an argument that took place
>just after Comp97, and I got an idea:

Which one was that? (wrt comp97) I'm mainly curious to see how it led to
this idea.

>A style/genre specifier, to be included in the compXX.z5 file.

I'm quite fond of the "An interactive bogosity"-type subheads. With the
right word(s), they often communicate quite a bit about what I'm getting
into.

/Steve

--
,,,
(. .)
+--ooO-(_)-Ooo------------ --- -- - - - -
| Stephen van Egmond http://bang.ml.org/

LucFrench

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Oct 26, 1998, 3:00:00 AM10/26/98
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>Authors are already allowed to include a README file, and that can contain
>anything the author wants.
>
>I feel that the startup text of a game serves exactly this purpose,
>however. It's traditionally "inside the line", if you see what I mean --
>written from the same player-perspective as the game, rather than the
>external perspective of a book jacket. But it conveys the same
>information (and I much prefer that method.)
>
>If someone started a game with a blurb-style intro text (possibly
>optional, you know, "Hit B to read the blurb"), that would be fine. And
>exactly equivalent to a README file as far as I'm concerned.

<flame intensity = lame>
Zarf, Shut Up. You are Wrong.
</flame>

To be specific:
Introductory text can't be viewed as a blurb, because in many games, the
introductory text has nothing to do with the game. (As an example, think
<spoilers> Downtown Toyko, or The Plant</spoilers> from this year.)

So, introductory text is useless.

To read the README would require you download the game in the first place,
which is a bad idea for those who needs be elsewhere to download files. (Talk
to Doeadeer3 about this; she'll be happy to explain the joys of bad
connections.)

Disturbing and Sexuality switches would be great for next year's Compition, so
that you could kill selections that you would find offensive. The genre stuff
is secondary. (At least for now.)

A blurb, mixed with an 'I can't judge this' rating would definitly be nice, so
those who have heart coniptions at a Rybread Celsius game aren't put into that
position again.

Ah well. It was late, and I was tired. I've suggested stupider things over the
years. And my blood pumper is wronged right now, so I should consider gettting
offline.

Feel free to flame me now.

Thanks
Luc "The Dumb fighting the Damned" French
[Read that anyway you want.]

Iain Merrick

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Oct 26, 1998, 3:00:00 AM10/26/98
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LucFrench wrote:

[...]


> >If someone started a game with a blurb-style intro text (possibly
> >optional, you know, "Hit B to read the blurb"), that would be fine. And
> >exactly equivalent to a README file as far as I'm concerned.
>
> <flame intensity = lame>
> Zarf, Shut Up. You are Wrong.
> </flame>

(hopefully) Fight! Fight! :)

> To be specific:
> Introductory text can't be viewed as a blurb, because in many games, the
> introductory text has nothing to do with the game. (As an example, think

> [...] from this year.)

'Spider & Web' is a good non-spoily example.

> So, introductory text is useless.

I disagree.

Personally, I _do_ consider text like that to be a good blurb. It's at
the author's discretion whether the blurb should have anything to do
with the game's plot; it's simply a sentence or two to grab the
attention of potential players.

My point was that I'd like to be able to read the games'
blurbs/introductions without downloading them all separately. For
instance, why shouldn't they appear on the competition web page?

> To read the README would require you download the game in the first place,
> which is a bad idea for those who needs be elsewhere to download files. (Talk
> to Doeadeer3 about this; she'll be happy to explain the joys of bad
> connections.)

Aha, yes, that's exactly my problem. The machine I play IF games on
isn't networked; I have to download stuff in batches while I'm at work.

> Disturbing and Sexuality switches would be great for next year's Compition, so
> that you could kill selections that you would find offensive. The genre stuff
> is secondary. (At least for now.)

Those categories are far too broad - 'disturbing' in general? I think
I'd have to actually play a game in order to tell whether it was
disturbing. And finer categories fall prey to Zarf's argument.

A bad language warning might be nice, though. I don't mind the odd
four-letter word myself, but there was at least one game in the current
competition which I might use to get, say, my mother interested in IF,
if it weren't for all the 'f***'s in the introduction.

> A blurb, mixed with an 'I can't judge this' rating would definitly be nice, so
> those who have heart coniptions at a Rybread Celsius game aren't put into that
> position again.

Sorry, I'm with Zarf on this one. Blurbs would be nice, but the authors
should be able to put _anything_ in them; they shouldn't be seen as a
canonical guide to the games' contents.

On re-reading the above, I think I'm being a bit unclear. Here's my
position:

Games often have 'blurbs'. It ought to be possible to read these with a
minimum of hassle, in particular without having to download the entire
game. For example, it would be very handy if blurbs appeared on the
competition web page, or if blurbs for all of the competition games were
in a single file on GMD.

The content of the blurbs should be totally at the discretion of the
authors. They should be part of the overall artistic concept of the
game, not a guideline to the game's contents - but if the players use
the blurbs to decide which games to play, that's at _their_ discretion.

(Damn, that word 'blurb' just gets weirder and weirder every time I
write it...)

--
Iain Merrick
(Probably 'Iain "IainM" Merrick', now that he's found the ifMUD.)

Andrew Plotkin

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Oct 26, 1998, 3:00:00 AM10/26/98
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LucFrench (lucf...@aol.com) wrote:

> <flame intensity = lame>
> Zarf, Shut Up. You are Wrong.
> </flame>

<response>Well, this saves me the effort of reading the rest of the
post.</response>

HarryH

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Oct 26, 1998, 3:00:00 AM10/26/98
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In article <erkyrathF...@netcom.com>, erky...@netcom.com says...

>Iain Merrick (i...@cs.york.ac.uk) wrote:
>> LucFrench wrote:
>> [ categories for competition games ]
>> I totally agree with Zarf's reply, which for some reason appeared before
>> your suggestion.
>I was actually replying to HarryH's tag suggestion; I hadn't seen
>LucFrench's yet. Same issue, however.

I was going to put this on the other thread, but I figured this thread is
better as it is more specific.

Believe it or not, there are categories in last year's comp! Here are the
categories in 1997 competition:

1. Children Story
2. Escape
3. Home Adventure
4. Simulation
5. Ghost Story
6. Mission, Errand
7. Performance (Play)

Don't like those? Make up your own!
1. Beginner (My first stab)
2. Feeding.
3. Allegory, Theosophy, Transcendence.
4. Dip in a Hot Spring.

But wait! How about the one where the author specifically requested that
judges don't play the game?

A New Day: "If you have no interest in playing detective, this would be the
appropriate time to quit."


Why do people have prejudices? I don't know, but people do have them.
Now I hear you saying that you like to play the game with blank slate. That's
great! But let's face it. The audience for scifi and romance are two
different groups. Maybe you're a rare person who can belong in any group, but
that's a rarity. What's wrong with an author targeting a specific audience?

Zarf is right. The real question that matters is "How good is it?". I also
agree that target audience is as much part of competition as spelling, etc.
However, I disagree that IF Comp is a microcosm of ftp.gmd.de.

First, the judges are not evaluating the games independently. Second, authors
cannot (in the current system) systematically target their audience. While I
have no complain that all entries must be for common consumption or else
suffer the consequences, this will drastically cut the experimentation and
creativity that we all cherish in IF. Of course there are authors who will
continue pushing the envelope, but I doubt Graham Nelson will attempt
something as radical as Tempest anytime soon (please? :) ).

Therefore, I argue that categorization in IF Comp is a good thing, even if
the authors do it in haphazard way (as in 97 Comp). Furthermore,
experimentation will be encouraged since authors are free to break from
convention, as dictacted by the previous comp. This is in no way represents
"artificial support". Rather, this represents "true support" since "arbitrary
punishment" is eliminated.

<artificial support>
If you want artificial support, just let the score range from 5-10. Bingo!
Immediate high scores! Or give extra points for beginners. Or punish
anonymous veterans. Etc, etc.
</artificial support>

I think an amendment of: "Play as many games as you can, but feel free to
skip those games that don't interest you." is making the competition
*better*.

-------------------------------------------------------
Of course I'll work on weekends without pay!
- successful applicant


Wonder Boy

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Oct 26, 1998, 3:00:00 AM10/26/98
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On Tue, 27 Oct 1998, Lelah Conrad wrote:

> I like going into a bookstore and finding things sorted out by
> general category. I also think blurbs are helpful. This doesn't mean
> I don't pay attention to book reviews, wander into unexplored
> sections, etc. -- it just means I can do it a little bit more
> methodically.

Actually, this reminds be of a discussion we had the other month
on the ifMUD, in which we were trying to figure out how we could make the
mud more IF related. One thing that I had thought of (but only told a few
lucky souls who have long since perished in the Great Fire) was that we
could build a section of the mud in which rooms stood for games on gmd,
making gmd games truly browseable.
The description of the room could either be the intro text to a game or a
brief description of it, and various objects in the room could reviews or
just interesting items in the game, and of course, we could separate games
geographically by programming language or something.
I was going to undertake that project myself, but alas, it's
buried under 20 or so other things I plan on doing first (like finishing
my IF game), so if anyone would want to do such a thing, go ahead, I say.
Anyways, I'll get back to the shmackpipe. -jon
"If I got stranded on a desert island (with electricity)/
And I could bring one record and my hi-fi/
I'd bring that ocean surf cd (Relaxing Sound of Ocean Surf)/
So I could enjoy the irony." - Dylan Hicks


cody sandifer

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Oct 27, 1998, 3:00:00 AM10/27/98
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In article <712vk3$n46$1...@east43.supernews.com>,
har...@iu.net.idiotic.com.skip.idiotic.com (HarryH) wrote:

> I think an amendment of: "Play as many games as you can, but feel free to
> skip those games that don't interest you." is making the competition
> *better*.

I'm against anything that restricts people's life experiences.
Horizon-expansion is almost never bad, in my opinion.

cody

ps within reason, of course.

Lelah Conrad

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Oct 27, 1998, 3:00:00 AM10/27/98
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As a former librarian, and thus natural categorizer, :) I like your
suggestions. With the rate that IF is expanding, it is hard to keep a
clear head about what IF I want to play, might want to play, etc. I
have very limited time so that is a consideration. So ideally I'd
even like to see difficulty ratings (hard to do, I know) and maybe
even ballpark time length estimates. The idea of up-front tagging
makes it less necessary for others to do it after the fact -- sort of
like the ubiquitous cataloging in publication that you may have
noticed in many books.

I like going into a bookstore and finding things sorted out by
general category. I also think blurbs are helpful. This doesn't mean
I don't pay attention to book reviews, wander into unexplored
sections, etc. -- it just means I can do it a little bit more
methodically.
How about asking people to send a few lines of
blurb/teaser/abstract content along with the game, and post it on the
competition download site?
Thanks for risking your idea in public.

Lelah

Ben

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Oct 27, 1998, 3:00:00 AM10/27/98
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[Is anyone else disturbed by the use of both "blurb" and "blorb" together
in this newsgroup? no?]

[Comp-98 Spoilers Ahead]


In article <19981026112246...@ng138.aol.com>,


lucf...@aol.com (LucFrench) wrote:
> To be specific:
> Introductory text can't be viewed as a blurb, because in many games, the
> introductory text has nothing to do with the game. (As an example, think

> <spoilers> Downtown Toyko, or The Plant</spoilers> from this year.)

Well, I wouldn't say it "has nothing to do with the game". In Downtown
Tokyo, you play 2 characters at once. The intro text has everything to do
with the first char. You can do both actions from the perspective of the
moviegoer, and of the hero. I can see how you might not get this. try
"throw popcorn" for instance - twice. :)

In the plant, however, the intro text would make a fine blurb. In what way
does it have nothing to do with the game? It is the situation you are put
in. Sure it doesn't mention aliens, but if it did, it would give away the
game. Discovering what is going on is part of the fun of the game.

> So, introductory text is useless.

Uh... wrong. :)

-Ben

--
bhi...@san.rr.com
http://members.tripod.com/~tunnels/

Lelah Conrad

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Oct 27, 1998, 3:00:00 AM10/27/98
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On Mon, 26 Oct 1998 23:09:48 -0600, Wonder Boy <jdb...@csd.uwm.edu>
wrote:

> One thing that I had thought of...was that we


>could build a section of the mud in which rooms stood for games on gmd,
>making gmd games truly browseable.
>The description of the room could either be the intro text to a game or a
>brief description of it, and various objects in the room could reviews or
>just interesting items in the game, and of course, we could separate games
>geographically by programming language or something.

Interesting idea. Separating them by programming language would be
irrelevant to me -- I'd like to see them grouped or related by
*content*. I don't care if a swashbuckler is written in Inform or
TADS or ALAN or in rubik's cubes :) -- I'd play it if I knew it was
out there.

Lelah

ro...@firedrake.avertspam.demon.co.uk

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Oct 27, 1998, 3:00:00 AM10/27/98
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In article <712vk3$n46$1...@east43.supernews.com>,
HarryH <har...@iu.net.idiotic.com.skip.idiotic.com> wrote:

[among other things]

>The audience for scifi and romance are two
>different groups. Maybe you're a rare person who can belong in any group, but
>that's a rarity.

Um, try asking around at an SF convention some time just how many of them
are also fans of Georgette Heyer. There's an awful lot of overlap... the
only problem is that when publishers try to get "SF Romance", they get
romance authors to write it, and they generally can't write SF...

>First, the judges are not evaluating the games independently. Second, authors
>cannot (in the current system) systematically target their audience.

Except that they _can_ put in a "read me first" file, which can say "this
is a romance game with no fantastic elements" or whatever they like.

>While I
>have no complain that all entries must be for common consumption or else
>suffer the consequences, this will drastically cut the experimentation and
>creativity that we all cherish in IF.

I don't entirely follow you here. If someone wrote something like what
I've suggested, he might get fewer votes, but (if he were any good) they
would presumably have a higher average than if he hadn't written the
readme, and had got non-romance-players to rate the game.

>Therefore, I argue that categorization in IF Comp is a good thing, even if
>the authors do it in haphazard way (as in 97 Comp).

I certainly don't think formal categorisation of entries is the way to
go. On the other hand, I'm categorising my _results_ this year: I'm rating
games for technical content, narrative, and interactivity/involvement, as
well as the overall rating. This doesn't affect the final score, but makes
it clearer just where I felt each game's strengths and weaknesses were.

>I think an amendment of: "Play as many games as you can, but feel free to
>skip those games that don't interest you." is making the competition
>*better*.

Perhaps. It depends, as ever, on what the objective of the competition is.

Roger
--
Roger Burton West
Frontline Administrator, Demon Internet Ltd
Home: ro...@firedrake.demon.co.uk
Web: http://www.firedrake.demon.co.uk

Michael Straight

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Oct 27, 1998, 3:00:00 AM10/27/98
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On 26 Oct 1998, HarryH wrote:

> Believe it or not, there are categories in last year's comp! Here are the
> categories in 1997 competition:
>
> 1. Children Story
> 2. Escape
> 3. Home Adventure
> 4. Simulation
> 5. Ghost Story
> 6. Mission, Errand
> 7. Performance (Play)

Just take one example: "Bear's Night Out" -- this is not a children's
story, it's full of IF in-jokes and it's too hard for children. If I had
to put it in one of your categories, I'd say "Home Adventure", but that
category of games, where you explore the author's house, utterly bores me.
Yet I loved "Bear" because it's more about how the bear's perspective
transforms the house then about the house itself. It's more like Fantasy
in that respect than anything else.

All of this is to say that I suspect the better a work of IF is, the more
it will resist categorization. In what category does "Curses" belong?

> Don't like those? Make up your own!
> 1. Beginner (My first stab)
> 2. Feeding.
> 3. Allegory, Theosophy, Transcendence.
> 4. Dip in a Hot Spring.

You end up with categories that are:

1. So general as to be meaningless - your "Escape" category seems to
imply that "Cask" and "Babel" are the same genre!

2. So specific as to only apply to one game "Dip in a Hot Spring"?
"Performance (Play)"?

3. Spoilers. To say up front that a game is about "Transcendence" could
easily ruin its impact. "Curses" is a lot more fun if you don't have a
lot of clues about what you're getting into. Any blurb that would give
you an idea of what "Spider and Web" involves would ruin the opening
scene.

Looking at your list of categories, I don't see a single one that would
have helped predict which Comp97 games would interest me.

SMTIRCAHIAGEHLT


Paul O'Brian

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Oct 27, 1998, 3:00:00 AM10/27/98
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On Tue, 27 Oct 1998, Lelah Conrad wrote:

> I like going into a bookstore and finding things sorted out by
> general category. I also think blurbs are helpful. This doesn't mean
> I don't pay attention to book reviews, wander into unexplored
> sections, etc. -- it just means I can do it a little bit more
> methodically.

I like the idea of having short text files that can serve as teasers or
summaries for games. I think that if David Cornelson's IF Library web site
were more widely used, it would be perfect for this purpose.

I am not as crazy about the idea of separating things into genres. I don't
like it in the publishing world -- I think it does more harm than good
there -- and I don't think we should adpot it into the IF world. I tend to
agree with Michael Straight that many excellent IF works tend to resist
categorization. What is the category of The Edifice? A Bear's Night Out?
Curses? I-0? You could try making up specific categories (Evolutionary,
Non-Human Protagonist, Magic Melange, Sexy Highway Adventure), but, like
"Dip In A Hot Spring," not only would these categories not be generic
(i.e. they wouldn't define a real genre, at least not in the sense I use
the word), but they wouldn't really tell much more useful information than
the title. You could go the other direction and shoehorn them into more
general categories (Fantasy, Fantasy, Fantasy, and, uh... Fantasy) but
this obviously would yield no new information and would in fact be
misleading. [Lest anyone try to jump on me about I-0, that last
categorization was a joke. I haven't a clue to what traditional genre I
would assign it.]

> How about asking people to send a few lines of
> blurb/teaser/abstract content along with the game, and post it on the
> competition download site?

However, even though I like the idea of having short text blurbs for games
in the Archive, I wouldn't want to make it a rule for the competition. I
think it's an unnecessary restriction on authors, and there may be some
authors (and judges) out there who don't want to create a preconceived
notion of any kind for a game. Also, I think there's the risk that, as
Michael said, people would mistakenly ignore a game they might love, as in
his Bear's Night Out/Home Adventure example.

> Thanks for risking your idea in public.

And same to you. Gee, Lelah, I don't *mean* to be squaring off against you
at every turn. It's just working out that way. I appreciate your desire to
try to improve the competition.

Paul O'Brian
obr...@colorado.edu
http://ucsu.colorado.edu/~obrian


Gunther Schmidl

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Oct 27, 1998, 3:00:00 AM10/27/98
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> I like going into a bookstore and finding things sorted out by
>general category. I also think blurbs are helpful. This doesn't mean
>I don't pay attention to book reviews, wander into unexplored
>sections, etc. -- it just means I can do it a little bit more
>methodically.
> How about asking people to send a few lines of
>blurb/teaser/abstract content along with the game, and post it on the
>competition download site?

(SHAMELESS PLUG)
Well, take a look at The Z-Files (on GMD, zfiles.z8)
I haven't the time to update it anymore (so if anyone wants to take it off
me, please mail me), but it has categories, blurbs and everything you could
want :)

--
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+ Ferd.-Markl-Str. 39/16 + except temptation" -- Oscar Wilde +
+ A-4040 LINZ +----------------------------------------------+
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Mark J. Tilford

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Oct 28, 1998, 3:00:00 AM10/28/98
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I think you're misunderstanding: Those are the subtitles of some of the
games from the last competition. I think the full titles were:

Cask: My first stab at interactive fiction
A Good Breakfast: An interactive feeding
The Edifice: An interactive allegory

etc.

--
-----------------------
Mark Jeffrey Tilford
til...@cco.caltech.edu

Lelah Conrad

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Oct 28, 1998, 3:00:00 AM10/28/98
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On Tue, 27 Oct 1998 10:45:15 -0700, Paul O'Brian
<obr...@ucsu.Colorado.EDU> wrote:

>I am not as crazy about the idea of separating things into genres. I don't
>like it in the publishing world -- I think it does more harm than good
>there -- and I don't think we should adpot it into the IF world.

Perhaps we should back up a teensy bit -- I should have done a little
more teaching here. As a university level cataloging
librarian/technical services director for many years, I can assure you
that *someone* WILL categorize the stuff, especially if it ever comes
to the notice of the broader literate world. It won't be a matter of
us "adopting it" in the IF world. I was sort of nudging us along to
do it ourselves, but it doesn't have to be us. It can be some quiet
cataloger or indexer somewhere, busily sorting things out.

Now, about genres. Genre tagging is also controversial in
librarianship. "Serious" fiction is not categorized, although there
has been a move towards trying to add tags and categories even to some
types of serious fiction. If you think about it, you'll realize that
most regular novels in the library are just filed under author.
Other resources do try to get at the content and categorize them.

Genre fiction, generally considered somewhat less "worthy" (though as
we all know, this is quite arbitrary, since tons of great stuff has
been written in the genres) has been tagged by genre just about
forever. E.g., as scifi, western, mystery, romance, etc. Check out
the spine labels in the local public library.

I think there will be IF that will fit into genres pretty easily, and
there will always be stuff that is not categorizable, just like
serious fiction.


>.... Gee, Lelah, I don't *mean* to be squaring off against you
>at every turn.

Hey, I love a good, engaging dialog. Haven't you noticed that by now?
:)

Lelah

Andrew Plotkin

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Oct 28, 1998, 3:00:00 AM10/28/98
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Lelah Conrad (l...@nu-world.com) wrote:

> Perhaps we should back up a teensy bit -- I should have done a little
> more teaching here. As a university level cataloging
> librarian/technical services director for many years, I can assure you
> that *someone* WILL categorize the stuff, especially if it ever comes
> to the notice of the broader literate world. It won't be a matter of
> us "adopting it" in the IF world. I was sort of nudging us along to
> do it ourselves, but it doesn't have to be us.

It's not so much categorizing *games* that I hate -- I'm certainly say
things like "Yeah, that was a horror game (and was good/bad at it)". I'm
against categorizing *prizes*, and, by extension, having categories in the
competition which people like they're entering one of.

Someone will categorize the stuff, but we should delay it six weeks until
voting is over. :)

Paul O'Brian

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Oct 28, 1998, 3:00:00 AM10/28/98
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On Wed, 28 Oct 1998, Lelah Conrad wrote:

> Perhaps we should back up a teensy bit -- I should have done a little
> more teaching here. As a university level cataloging
> librarian/technical services director for many years, I can assure you
> that *someone* WILL categorize the stuff, especially if it ever comes
> to the notice of the broader literate world.

[snippage...]


> Now, about genres. Genre tagging is also controversial in
> librarianship. "Serious" fiction is not categorized, although there
> has been a move towards trying to add tags and categories even to some
> types of serious fiction. If you think about it, you'll realize that
> most regular novels in the library are just filed under author.

OK, I'm a little confused. I feel like I'm hearing you say that IF will be
categorized at some point, and also that if it is considered "serious", it
will not be categorized. Certainly what you say in your first paragraph is
true -- if we ever have IF in public or university libraries, it will be
categorized. My suspicion is that it will be categorized as "interactive
fiction" or "computer games", or something similar. Perhaps what your
two (seemingly contradictory) points are saying is that it will be
categorized as interactive fiction, but not split into any narrower
subcategories than that. This is something to which I have no objection.

However, based on the subject line of this thread, that's not what I
thought we were discussing. Naturally IF falls into a broad category when
compared with other literary works, but I had thought we were talking
about trying to assign a genre to each work of IF ("Genre Tagging"),
specifically as a mechanism or requirement for the competition
("Competition Suggestion"). This is the notion to which I was objecting,
not the idea that if IF moves into libraries it will be indexed in some
way.

> I think there will be IF that will fit into genres pretty easily, and
> there will always be stuff that is not categorizable, just like
> serious fiction.

Indeed. And certainly I see no problem with authors self-identifying a
genre for their games, if they so choose. I simply don't want to make it a
requirement for the competition, for the very reason you state above.

HarryH

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Oct 28, 1998, 3:00:00 AM10/28/98
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In article <Pine.A41.3.95L.98102...@login3.isis.unc.edu>,
stra...@email.unc.edu says...

>Just take one example: "Bear's Night Out" -- this is not a children's
>story, it's full of IF in-jokes and it's too hard for children. If I had

So you're saying that a children's story entry is too hard for children? Feel
free to mark it down. I don't see a problem.

[snip]


>All of this is to say that I suspect the better a work of IF is, the more
>it will resist categorization. In what category does "Curses" belong?

You say these things as if:
1. The categories are fixed.
2. Each can only be put in one category
3. Categorization is mandatory.

None of these assumptions is true.

Let's make some good categorizations, and make them optional.

John Francis

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Oct 28, 1998, 3:00:00 AM10/28/98
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In article <717qfo$lve$1...@east42.supernews.com>,

HarryH <har...@iu.net.idiotic.com.skip.idiotic.com> wrote:
>In article <Pine.A41.3.95L.98102...@login3.isis.unc.edu>,
>stra...@email.unc.edu says...
>>Just take one example: "Bear's Night Out" -- this is not a children's
>>story, it's full of IF in-jokes and it's too hard for children. If I had
>
>So you're saying that a children's story entry is too hard for children? Feel
>free to mark it down. I don't see a problem.
>
>[snip]
>>All of this is to say that I suspect the better a work of IF is, the more
>>it will resist categorization. In what category does "Curses" belong?
>
>You say these things as if:
>1. The categories are fixed.
>2. Each can only be put in one category
>3. Categorization is mandatory.
>
>None of these assumptions is true.
>
>Let's make some good categorizations, and make them optional.

If it's an optional component, then marking a competition entry down
because you don't agree with the categorization seems inappropriate.
--
John Francis jfra...@sgi.com Silicon Graphics, Inc.
(650)933-8295 2011 N. Shoreline Blvd. MS 43U-991
(650)933-4692 (Fax) Mountain View, CA 94043-1389
Hello. My name is Darth Vader. I am your father. Prepare to die.

Michael Straight

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Oct 29, 1998, 3:00:00 AM10/29/98
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On 28 Oct 1998, HarryH wrote:

> In article <Pine.A41.3.95L.98102...@login3.isis.unc.edu>,
> stra...@email.unc.edu says...
> >Just take one example: "Bear's Night Out" -- this is not a children's
> >story, it's full of IF in-jokes and it's too hard for children. If I had
>
> So you're saying that a children's story entry is too hard for children? Feel
> free to mark it down. I don't see a problem.

That just goes to show that sometimes even the author doesn't know what
category his game belongs in!

I don't want to mark "Bear's Night Out" down; I think it's great. I just
don't agree that it belongs in a "Children's Stories" category.

SMTIRCAHIAGEHLT

Iain Merrick

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Oct 29, 1998, 3:00:00 AM10/29/98
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Michael Straight wrote:

[...]


> I don't want to mark "Bear's Night Out" down; I think it's great. I just
> don't agree that it belongs in a "Children's Stories" category.

But it is a children's story! Just not a children's _game_.

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