2007 Introcomp notes

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Daphne Brinkerhoff

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Aug 25, 2007, 10:00:37 AM8/25/07
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Like the games themselves, my comments will be brief (and also, just
the whiff of a spoiler, nothing serious). The games are roughly
ordered from worst to best.


THREE PRINCES -- I think you were really looking for PrologueComp.
Unfortunately that only ran in 2001 (well, maybe 2002 also, it's hard
to remember). The winning message sounds kind of intriguing, but also
has nothing to do with what went before. Seeing only this, I have no
real interest in continuing.

TRAINSTOPPING -- I have no idea how to achieve anything much here.
Also, buggy (you can continue to shoot the gun when you've run out of
bullets, because it makes no difference), and first-level noun
problems (check out the Grassy Plateau, where nouns that don't work
include "trail", "mountain", "hill", "brush", "grass", and "grasses";
also the Summit where the track, mentioned in the room description,
isn't actually there). I did figure out how to acquire something the
chipmunk wants, and how to stop scaring it away (Note to author: you
might read <http://www.xyzzynews.com/xyzzy.7d.html> if you want to
know how to make that puzzle harder). The "about" text, specifically
the "Introduction to Trainstopping", doesn't really give me much to go
on, as far as getting a sense of what the completed game will be
like. Under these circumstances (no hints, no walkthrough) I would
stop playing at this point.

FOLKAR STATION -- I'm sure I've played this exact opening a dozen
times. Being a clone doesn't look like it's going to add anything to
the scenario. Actually, I think there could have been a neat moment
with it. Something like, you can't figure out how to solve a tough
puzzle without dying. You fight with it for a while and then realize,
hey, I'm a clone, it's okay to die, my co-clones will pick up the
slack. However, the game hints at this with "x tanks" and then spells
it out when you read the computer terminal. So you don't get to have
that realization on your own. I totally struggled with the cabinets
in the Maintenance Area. I didn't realize they could be referred to
individually, and the default response for "open cabinets" or "unlock
cabinets" didn't tell me either. In desperation I tried "x
all" (which wasn't disallowed) and it referred solely to "cabinets".
Given that a slot is mentioned in the description of the "cabinets",
"put card in slot" was also unhelpful. I can't recall now how I
finally came to solve this problem, but it seems to me "open cabinets"
should ask me "which one?" or just open both. Finally, I couldn't
solve the hull puzzle (again with no hints or walkthrough available).
All these things and the blandness of this setting & plot leave me, at
best, lukewarm about continuing.

JACOB'S TRAVELS -- [The apostrophe is missing in the directory tree
within the zip file, but the game itself gets it right.] A game that
narrowly beat out Folkar Station for me. It's kind of generic mythic
fantasy. Since it's only been a couple weeks since the release of
Eric Eve's game Blighted Isle, I couldn't help but feel that the
opening here was awfully familiar. Fortunately it does go in a
different direction. My biggest complaint about the game is that I
didn't get any sense for what is coming next. I would've liked to see
at least one task. There's not much of a distinctive voice here, but
the image of the fires was somewhat evocative (I thought, of course,
of Lord of the Rings, and also a part of Myst 4). Also I have a guess
about the pool with only three fires. So, for some reason, this game
did make me curious to go on.

JACK IN THE BOX -- Did I mention a distinctive voice? I liked that
aspect of this game very much. Some things strained my credulity a
little -- how did the delivery guy get in there in the first place?
how could you use the things stuck in the glass without getting them
out of the glass first? would this guy really even try to help out his
mysterious uncle? -- but basically I was willing to cut the author
some slack (including his spelling/grammar issues). There seemed to
be some confusion in the "about" text regarding whether he was
entering the IntroComp or the IF Comp (hey Taleslinger: they are
different). Once again I'm left hanging before the interesting parts
really start, but this time the writing makes me want to go on.

THE KING OF SHREDS AND PATCHES -- I have just learned (by Googling)
that the title is from a speech of Hamlet's, referring to the evil
Claudius (if my hasty reading is correct). However, I wonder if I am
the only one for whom this association is completely drowned out by "A
Wand'ring Minstrel I". Certainly that is what sprang forcibly to my
mind, and it is entirely the wrong mood for this game. That being
said, this is a strong game, and it was a challenge to choose between
it and Tin for the number one position. The opening, by the way, is
insufficiently proofread, as John is referred to as both Croft and
Cross. Another quibble: when I was walking through the city, it
seemed like *every turn* something atmospheric happened. There's
cutpurses and people acting Shakespeare and pigs and barkers and ale
and the Queen's carriage... A tiny tiny part of me was thinking,
"Yeah, I'm in Elizabethan London, I get it already." Replaying a
little, I see that it is actually more randomized, not necessarily
every turn, but for me, it could be toned down even more. The writing
is great, of course, and that's good, because it seems to me this game
is going to entail a lot of research by the player. A lot of reading
diaries and codices and cryptic messages. There's gonna be that, or
else the summoning of some unspeakable being from beyond time and
space. Probably both. And I'm kind of wondering, on the one hand, if
it's more the documents, that sounds a little unexciting and
uninteractive, and on the other hand, if it's more the summoning,
what's this game going to do that Anchorhead didn't? Besides, of
course, "be in Elizabethan London, with famous people as characters".
So far the documents are winning out, and that's pretty much why this
game was number two for me instead of number one.

TIN -- It's a little paradoxical that I've placed this game on top,
because I didn't like the single puzzle we have so far. I also have
to wonder about copyright issues (note: I didn't research it at all,
I'm just wondering). However, the sheer joy of playing the PC did a
lot for me. I like attitude. I am the one who clutters up the IF
Ratings site with references to snark. And this guy's got it. The
villain (so to speak) is also well written, although a bit
repetitious. The other two characters weren't reimagined; at least,
to me they seem pretty close to their original selves (the PC is just
more contemptuous of them), so they're less fun. My problem with the
puzzle is pretty much the physics of it. If you used the <spoiler> on
the <second spoiler>, I picture the <second spoiler> wiggling around,
not being damaged. I think a better description of the event might
alleviate my dislike - maybe if you hold it still with your other
hand? Mainly my interest here is to see where the hell this premise
could go. I don't really care, as long as I get to play this PC.

...There. Now I've posted this, I get to go read other reviews. :)

--
Daphne

Emily Boegheim

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Aug 25, 2007, 11:08:19 AM8/25/07
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Daphne Brinkerhoff <cen...@hotmail.com> wrote in
news:1188050437.6...@x40g2000prg.googlegroups.com:

> TIN -- [...] I also have


> to wonder about copyright issues (note: I didn't research it at all,
> I'm just wondering).

The first Oz book was published in (if my memory serves me aright) 1900. I
believe all of the Oz books L. Frank Baum wrote are now in the public
domain. There shouldn't be any problems there.

Emily

Adam Thornton

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Aug 25, 2007, 12:29:08 PM8/25/07
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In article <Xns9997EB6036A...@194.177.96.78>,

Emily Boegheim <emily.b...@gmail.com> wrote:
>The first Oz book was published in (if my memory serves me aright) 1900. I
>believe all of the Oz books L. Frank Baum wrote are now in the public
>domain. There shouldn't be any problems there.

The fourteen Baum books--and the John R. Neill illustrations--are indeed
public domain.

And, honestly, you wouldn't *want* to use any of the later material.

http://thewizardofoz.info/faq02.html

Adam

John W. Kennedy

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Aug 25, 2007, 8:06:36 PM8/25/07
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Emily Boegheim wrote:
> Daphne Brinkerhoff <cen...@hotmail.com> wrote in
> news:1188050437.6...@x40g2000prg.googlegroups.com:
>> TIN -- [...] I also have
>> to wonder about copyright issues (note: I didn't research it at all,
>> I'm just wondering).

> The first Oz book was published in (if my memory serves me aright) 1900.

That was the date of record, but it was actually on sale for the
Christmas season of 1899.

> I
> believe all of the Oz books L. Frank Baum wrote are now in the public
> domain. There shouldn't be any problems there.

Yes, by both old US law and the Berne Convention, everything Baum ever
wrote is public domain now (unless someone were to come up with a new
ms., but that's immensely unlikely at this date). In the United States,
Ruth Plumly Thompson's pre-1923 books are also public domain, as are
some of her late books that were allowed to fall out of protection under
the old law.
--
John W. Kennedy
"Those in the seat of power oft forget their failings and seek only the
obeisance of others! Thus is bad government born! Hold in your heart
that you and the people are one, human beings all, and good government
shall arise of its own accord! Such is the path of virtue!"
-- Kazuo Koike. "Lone Wolf and Cub: Thirteen Strings" (tr. Dana Lewis)

Jim Aikin

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Aug 25, 2007, 8:16:34 PM8/25/07
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Daphne Brinkerhoff wrote:
>
> TIN -- It's a little paradoxical that I've placed this game on top,
> because I didn't like the single puzzle we have so far. I also have
> to wonder about copyright issues (note: I didn't research it at all,
> I'm just wondering).

It's public domain. I researched it. And you can, in point of fact,
download the complete texts of ALL of the Oz novels. They're available
online. Someday when I'm really sick with the flu, I'm going to curl up
with my blankie and read them all.

--JA

James Jolley

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Aug 26, 2007, 5:14:43 AM8/26/07
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lol that's nice, wich site has them? I might download them for a bit of
fun.
In article <faqgp0$sd8$1...@aioe.org>, midig...@sbcglobal.net says...

Emily Boegheim

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Aug 26, 2007, 7:06:35 AM8/26/07
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James Jolley <james....@btinternet.com> wrote in
news:MPG.213b54dbc...@news.btinternet.com:

> In article <faqgp0$sd8$1...@aioe.org>, midig...@sbcglobal.net says...
>> Daphne Brinkerhoff wrote:
>> >
>> > TIN -- It's a little paradoxical that I've placed this game on top,
>> > because I didn't like the single puzzle we have so far. I also
>> > have to wonder about copyright issues (note: I didn't research it
>> > at all, I'm just wondering).
>>
>> It's public domain. I researched it. And you can, in point of fact,
>> download the complete texts of ALL of the Oz novels. They're
>> available online. Someday when I'm really sick with the flu, I'm
>> going to curl up with my blankie and read them all.
> lol that's nice, wich site has them? I might download them for a bit
> of fun.

Project Gutenberg has all of the L. Frank Baum ones (I didn't check Ruth
what's-her-name) at http://www.gutenberg.org/browse/authors/b#a42. They
even have audio books for half of them.

Emily

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