[Comp99] David Glasser's "reviews"

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David Glasser

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Nov 16, 1999, 3:00:00 AM11/16/99
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DISCLAIMER: this post is mostly composed of notes taken hastily during
playtime and poorly edited afterwards in the rush to post on the
sixteenth. As such, it is often incoherant, inconsistent, and
insulting. I apologize ahead of time and would like to make it clear to
you all that my competition game (comp97, that is) wasn't that great
either and deserves insults itself. (I've seen a few other sets of
reviews (zarf, Paul, MJR, Dans Schmidt and Shiovitz, Joe Mason), but not
all of them or of the confessions.) So don't get too mad at me, OK?

I'm basically a disorganized guy so this post is pretty disorganized. I
don't even have my real ratings here. Mostly I'm just giving my
impression based on my terrible notes. I do have lists of bugs and
writing problems for some of the games (mostly the ones where [a] I felt
that the author would care enough to change it [b] I wasn't so entirely
drawn in for the entire time that I didn't take any notes (though just
because I do have detailed notes doesn't mean I wasn't drawn in a lot)
and [c] I wasn't lazy), but I'm not posting them here; I'll probably
email them to the authors, and authors can email me if they want them
and I didn't give it to them. Some of these are my notes verbatim and
so are written as I progressed; some of them were written afterwards.
They are not particularly "planned"; most of them don't have clever
introductions or conclusions. They sort of devolve as I get farther
into playing them, though they aren't listed in order of my playing
them.

The number one lesson that should be learned from Comp99 is that you
should not only betatest your games *thoroughly*, but that you should
make sure that at least some of your betatesters are from the IF
"community" (r*if, ifMUD, Lucian and Liza's Beta page, etc). If your
betatesters don't know what "we" expect, how will they know what to look
for?

I also found that I appreciated some of the games objectively in a
"hey-that's-cool" cerebral manner but didn't really have much fun
playing them, or vice versa: I groaned a lot yet managed to grin.

THIS CONTAINS SERIOUS SPOILERS FOR MOST GAMES.

I'm not so negative as many were about this competition; I found a few
that I really liked, a bunch that made me smile while not being
particularly memorable, and a bunch that weren't that great but weren't
painful.

It's interesting to speculate about the judges based on their ratings of
some games; those that put HUNTER IN DARKNESS and EREWHON high (such as
myself) seem to be the more "technical/geek/cs/math/whatever" oriented
people, whereas FOR A CHANGE and so on seems to be liked more by the
literary people. Or whatever; I'm not really into dividing people up.

I played most of the TADS and Inform games; I didn't play the ALAN ones
because I was too lazy to get the newest Mac 'terp and it was already
just about voting day, I didn't play the DOS ones because I'm on a Mac,
and I didn't play a couple TADS and Inform ones because they gave me bad
vibes and I was lazy.

Here are the "reviews" (which admittedly would get a 1 themselves), in
vague order of favorite to least favorite:

HIGHLY ENJOYED/APPRECIATED:
===
Hunter, in Darkness: A Cave Crawl (Dave Ahl, Jr) [Andrew Plotkin] [I had
Lucian Smith pegged for this. Whoops.]

After having played both EREWHON and the original WUMPUS (analyzing the
perl power tools version) that week, I was able to recognize a
dodecahedronal maze immediately. Therefore, I wasn't too concerned
about mapping it, though I knew how.

I like a Wumpus.

Wow. This really is MazeComp. And EREWHON even had a dodecahedron,
too! Though admittedly this wasn't too mazey.

I liked this a lot. It was hard, but I got everything but the bit at
the end with the pool of blood, and I figured out the syntax on my own.
So I was happy. In retrospect, this was how it worked with me and
SPIDER AND WEB: the puzzles were just hard enough for me to hit my head
on the wall but not so hard that I couldn't eventually solve them and
sigh in relief. Andrew's puzzle games go well with my tastes.

There really isn't a sense of closure; it just sort of ends. But
whatever. I like a wumpus. This game absolutely ruled.
===
Erehwon (Rick "Josiah Pinkfoot" Litherland)

Ah, so a game has finally gotten around to implementing the ability to
face different directions, which comes up on raif about once a minute.
Let's see how it does...

This game was weird but I liked it. I'm sure many will hate it but it
seems to be a math-geek type thing and I fit into that category. I
found it to be tons of fun.
===
Exhibition (Anatoly Domokov) [Ian Finley] (I betatested this one)

Yeah, yeah, it's not interactive and could have been written as a story.
But can you deny that it's damn good writing? I had fun with it. I
laughed, I cried, I learned.
====
Winter Wonderland (Laura A. Knauth)

This seems to be the number one beloved game of the competition, and it
has won; I congratulate Laura on that, especially considering the cold
shoulder her first game received. I had fun with this game, certainly,
and I have no problem with it winning, though there were several games
that I liked better; however, it struck me mostly as just a fun game
that I would soon forget. (Of course, it was the first that I played,
so I might have had unfair expectations.)

The two mazes feel very pointless and annoying. The puzzles at the
center of it (pushing the small floe to where it is needed, and
following the imps) are nice, but surrounded by the long mazes, they are
just annoying. And why must the floes break the automapper? Dan
Shiovitz and I had a discussion/arguments about this; I think our
consensus was that perhaps once you find out that you can't go some way,
the mapper should reflect it.

Though I found some annoying grammatical and spelling errors, the
writing was pretty good. I especially liked the scenes with the fairies
in them. Most of the other descriptions were nothing special if not
bad, but Laura Knauth clearly put a lot of effort into writing about the
fairies.

All in all, it was a pretty fun game that suffered mostly from minor
annoyances and a few too many rooms, though unlike her previous game
ERDEN the map was easy to keep track of. I didn't find myself
especially loving this game, but it certainly wasn't a bad game, and she
didn't do anything major wrong.
===
A Day for Soft Food (Tod Levi)

OK, first off Tod feels, based on the help text, that directions like
"northeast" are "unfair". All I know is that they would make walking
around the house so much easier than the weird way it is now.

I hate eating time limits, even if they are obvious.

It feels at some points like the description of every object is "You
might be able to...". On the other hand, it did implement a lot of
commands.

Despite it requiring me to start over, I do like the way the Provider
treats me and gets mad at me... and keeps track of it. Cool.

In retrospect, this was the opposite of FOR A CHANGE: after the first
few minutes, I wanted to dislike it based on slight bugginess and
grammar flaws, but I ended up liking it in my heart. It does have a lot
of annoyances, though, but it wasn't bad.
===
For A Change (Dan Schmidt)

The entire time, I was mentalling giving kudos to Dan for creating such
a cool game. I was wowed by the writing and thought that went into it.

Unfortunately, I must admit that I didn't really have much fun playing
it; at first, I had no clue what to do (not fun), and then one
consultation of the hints managed to give away every single puzzle
before telling me what I wanted (also not fun). So I didn't have much
fun with it despite it being quite cool.
===
Jacks or better to murder, Aces to win (J. D. Berry)

There were some very minor bugs and typos, but nothing major. This was
pretty cool. I really liked it. Hooray!

I'm sort of curious about the locked door that I came in from to get to
the anteroom; specifically, the fact that it isn't there. (OK, so I'm
anal, but I sat in those three rooms trying to figure out how I had
entered for a really long time.)
===
On The Farm (Lenny Pitts)

Hey, cool! The WackyComp inspired this! That's an extra point, I'm
sure.

I like! Great setting, good enough characters, and it's just fun being
a kid on a farm.
===
Halothane (Quentin.D.Thompson)

This was cool, albeit weird. I should probably give it a lower score,
but I don't feel like it. I'm probably the only person who liked it,
though.
===
Stone Cell (Middle Edge) [if the author hasn't come out now (I use an
offline newsreader), I'm going to guess it's somebody who has written in
TADS before, and perhaps a complicated game. I'd guess J. Rob Wheeler,
but that's almost certainly wrong]

Eeeagh! This introduction has broken my brain! (It makes sense,
though.)

I do like this game.

Why in the world does squirting the wall make the guard ignore me?

The practice of not mentioning directions in the text is disorienting,
but I'm living.

The size and nonlinearity of the layout of the map is just pushing the
limits of what I like, but I can handle it. This is good.

Where does one get Pynergevzr (rot13) from, other than combining those
words in every way?

Um, I would have liked it better had I not had to read the author's
mind, but it was a good game. (And granted, the impossible puzzles were
*mostly* optional, but finding the bone and crack was too hard.) But I
still liked it a lot, and probably more than the average judge.
===
Six Stories (N. K. Guy)

Wow. This looks cool. It's also giving me a severe case of PowerPC
envy: I want sound! (The answer to Zarf's request of the ability to
scrollback the stories is to use a worse computer and it'll be text in
the first place.)

This is basically the TADS 2.5.1 and HTML-TADS features showcase. Neil
has made a huge library of useful TADS commands that he shows off, and
does great multimedia (and I couldn't even hear it on my computer!).

Some of the implicit commands were interesting, some annoying. The
parenthetical line-ending comments (which usually felt like they came
straight from Neil's mouth) were annoying to me.

Ok, it was pretty and all, but the plot wasn't that complex, the way
that most responses (and even room descriptions!) changed after the
first time annoyed me, I didn't like the parenthetical line-ending
comments, and it wasn't very coherant. A technical and visual 10, but
not as good as a game.
===
Only After Dark (anonymous) [Gunther Schmidl] [Oh, dear, I hope this
isn't the Island game he's been talking about]

Too much guess-the-verb and sex, and the ending isn't that satisfying,
but it isn't that bad. It just wasn't that polished.

I wonder who wrote it. [Well, I know now.]

This is one of my many game-playing experiences that ended with "You can
do better".
===
Death to my Enemies (Roody Yogurt) [Jon Blask]

What can I say? It's not rybread, but it's ellison, I believe. It was
fun.

Wow.
===

ENJOYED/APPRECIATED:
===
A Moment of Hope (Simmon Keith)

The first scene was perfect.

I hope this isn't a true story, as it seems to be.

The last bit where it lets you type anything and then ignores it goes
poorly with... well, most commands. I tried KILL ME.

The first scene is perfect. The rest felt like it dragged it out a
little bit too much to me, and the grammar and technical quality
decreased. But the first scene was perfect if very painful.
===
Life on Beal Street (anonymous) [I think it's an ifMUD regular]

Pretty cool.

My main real problem is that the response for room A does not change the
response for B. Graphically, the game is:

Random response
|
Random response
|
Random response
|
Random response

whereas I would like
Random response
/ \
/ \
Random Random
/ \ / \
/ \ / \
Random Random Random Random
[etc]

ie, you get one set of room B responses for each room A. And yes, I
know that this means that, with four rooms, four responses per room
would make 340 texts plus the leaving texts.

I mean, it does what it wants, but it didn't make me too interested.
===
Beat the Devil (Robert M Camisa)

Including source is a good thing.

Sins have been done in John's Fire Witch (and Sins Against Mimesis), but
that doesn't stop this from having a chance at being good.

bunch of spelling and grammar problems. many of unimplemented commands.
etc. I can complain about the little things, but I did have quite a bit
of fun playing it. Hooray!
===
Chicks Dig Jerks (Robb Sherwin)

This is so crazy.

arr it broke my brain first scene worked better [literal transcription
from handwritten notes]
===
Bliss (Cameron Wilkin)

(These notes are chronological as I progressed.)

Cameron is lucky that I'm not Adam Thornton.

Oh, god. Cameron Wilkin does not know the difference between its and
it's at all. Serious bugs, grammar problems.

Er, is there any puzzle with a solution other than KILL X WITH KNIFE?

OK, done. By about halfway through, I was pretty sure that it was
either an inane kill-everyone game that I didn't particularly care
about, or something with a deeper message about violence.
Unfortunately, I didn't think of it as (as the author seemed to want) a
great fantasy game where I really really really wanted the orc dead.

That is, the author wanted me to identify with the PC, but I not only
thought the game was boring (though for the wrong reasons), I suspected
the ending. So I really didn't feel any inner torment when I found out
was happening.

This game would have been really cool had (a) the author had a better
grip on English, (b) the author had a better grip on what IF games
'should' respond to, (c) the author had a better grip on TADS, and (d) I
had really 'gotten into' the first part.

It was an interesting experiment, though; unfortunately, serious
grammatical and technical flaws stop me from giving it more than a 4. I
realize that it was betatested, but I don't recognize any of the testers
as IF regulars; I hope I'm not sounding cabalistic or anything, but all
games really do need to be tested by at least one person who is part of
the IF "community" and knows what to look for. There's nothing wrong
with having non-IF folks betatest, but you really should also have IF
people.

(By the way, I'm a little bit gladder that I decided to stop working on
my would-be comp game, because it had a little bit of similarity: the
first scene made it seem like an inane genre fantasy with dragons and
such, but after that you found out that it's really just set in a place
where they make IF. OK, maybe not that similar, but still.)
===
Chaos (Shay Caron)

I had fun, but there were so many nonexistent objects and weird error
messages and undefined words and stuff. (I know, as a fellow WorldClass
author, that some of them come from WC weirdness.)

But it was fun, though it did leave me thinking "That's all?".

(This game gave me serious deja vu to my own game VIRTUATECH. (Note
that I'm not accusing Shay of stealing anything, as the games were
totally different in all obvious ways.) Mechanical puzzles, room
descriptions that are too long, weird WorldClass bugs, a semi-jokey
background that is never really explained, etc. So obviously I'm not
going to bash it too much :-)
===

NOT REALLY ENJOYED/APPRECIATED (but in most of the cases the authors
really ought to try again):
===
Calliope (jmac)

It is so obvious that this author has talent. It was mostly wasted here
but I'm waiting for game #2.
===
Four Seconds (Jason "Trig" Reigstad)

NO! IT'S A SPIDER AND WEB CLONE! well ok it's not

This is really buggy in general.

> You have a wedding ring (being worn) and Dekker's legs.
Ewwww!

One thing I can say is that it does a pretty good job of setting up the
map with the going-to-conference and then holding Dekker. This
letting-the-player-get-used-to-the-game tactic is a good one.
(Unfortunately, I didn't feel that the Blake part did that as it was
intended to.)

Um. Why did Dekker do all that weirdness with Blake? Why did Dekker
not just get rid of the folder? Why did he let Blake anywhere near?
Why does Trig think this game makes sense? Why didn't Trig get raif
beta-testers: they don't go out to eat together and get poisoned! Why,
why?

Though this may not have been the true source of the game, it felt like
a buggy derivative of BABEL and DELUSIONS (with some SPIDER AND WEB
thrown in) with poor writing to boot.

Sorry, Trig. You can do better, I'm sure; there *is* some good stuff
here.

It was still better than TAC, though.
===
Spodgeville Murphy and The Jewelled Eye of Wossname (David Fillmore)

I like the intro. The full score thing was done in ENLIGHTENMENT (and
ZERO SUM GAME, for that matter), as was OBJECTS and PLACES and so on.

I already played ENLIGHTENMENT. Bleah. Why should I play this one too?

BUT THE RESPONSE TO 'ZORK' RULES! I GAVE IT AN EXTRA POINT JUST FOR
THAT!
===
Pass The Banana (Admiral Jota)

I don't really think that Jota expects to get anything higher than a one
on a game with such small scope that pretends that the lounge only has
one entrance, doesn't implement... anything, really, and so on. Now, if
it was a MUD simulation it would get a 10.

Oh, and it seems to only have a brute-force solution: if it turned out
to be a very complicated mathematical puzzle, I'd be much happier.

I know you can do better than this.

[PS: Paul O'Brian's review of this was just amazing. Wow.]
===
L.U.D.I.T.E. (rybread celsius et 10000 al)

Sorry, Rybread, but I just didn't have much fun with this. And I'm a
fan of all your other games.
===
Music Education

This game might be nice had I been given any clue about my goals at all.
===
Thorfinn's Realm (Robert Hall and Roy Main)

[NOTE: These are my notes on this game, verbatim though made
family-safe. sorry, Robert and Roy, but I'm not a fan of these games: I
didn't even love Zork I that much. I'm sure you can write better stuff
based on today's ideas of IF.]

Ah, a collaboration. I hope it fares better than others have in the
past, and doesn't feel like two games shoved into one.

Oh, great. A fudging treasure hunt.

Oh, great. Written in fudging 1990. Write your games today, people.

Oh, great. Fudging VILE 0 ERRORS FROM HELL!

Oh, great. It took me ten fudging minutes to find OPEN HATCH.

Oh, great. A fudging maze.

(ARR! Why must this be MazeComp? WINTER had two mazes, EREWHON had at
least one, SOFT FOOD was unnavigable, and now these stupid woods!)

Oh, great. Rooms that have no fudging descriptions.

Oh, great. This game fudging sucks, and I'm too nice to not play it for
two hours.

Oh, great. I fudging won.

I can imagine a worse game, so it gets a 2.
===
Guard Duty (Jason F. Finx)

I am sure Jason has already learned about all the really, really, really
evil bugs. I will not comment. (Also, HAVE I-F REGULARS BETATEST YOUR
GAME.)

It's too slow on my interpreter. How did Jason get this game to be so
slow? It's a feat of programming!

It took me around fifteen minutes before I realized I was supposed to
try and get the door open. I thought I was trying to *guard* the door
AT THE BEGINNING OF THE GAME. So I just hit Z a lot.

Um, why was that room randomly dark?

Um, inventory. INVEN-FUCKING-TORY.

Where did Ornomir go?

Oh, fuck this. This game is too slow and buggy to play if it is really
unfinishable as is posted on textfire.com.

You know, there's a reason why raif exists. And beta-testers. And the
raif FAQ. IT'S SO YOU DON'T MAKE A FOOL OUT OF YOURSELF BY RELEASING A
BUGGY, SLOW, UNFINISHABLE GAME.

And ALWAYS BETATEST THE FINAL VERSION. Inform is quirky enough that any
minor change can bring the whole game down.

(I must admit that somebody really should have put a warning on the
Inform directory of the if-archive after 6.20's evil non-strict bug was
found. And I took a little long to add Adam's Inform patch site to the
FAQ.

On the other hand, there's no excuse for attempting to get me to like a
game when you haven't done me the respect of checking to make sure the
game is likable.)

(Jason obviously put a lot into this game, though, and I'm sure a
post-comp bugfix release would be great. (He probably should have
pulled a Doe, except that her game hasn't been released yet.))

Because I really don't want to spend 2 hours on it, I am not rating it.
===

And that's it for Comp99! I'm not so down as many seem to be: I thought
HUNTER, EREWHON, EXHIBITION, SOFT FOOD, FOR A CHANGE, JACKS, ON THE
FARM, STONE CELL, and SIX STORIES were all not only quite good but also
memorable, and there were many others that I enjoyed. Thanks to all the
authors, even those who have been horribly bashed; please write more
games, and I hope you've learned something from comp99!

JUST BETATEST YOUR GAMES, OK? I'LL BETATEST ALL OF THEM NEXT YEAR IF
YOU WANT, JUST DO IT!

(Also, thanks to Stephen for doing an amazing job of organizing the
competition; Lucian and Liza for the beta stuff that I should have done
more with; Mark for vote skills; Ryan, Stacy, and the rest of the PR
crew (next year I won't even *promise* to help); whoever did Miss
Congeniality (Dylan? I forget); and of course Volker and David for
being as great as they've ever been.)

--
David Glasser | gla...@iname.com | http://www.davidglasser.net/
rec.arts.int-fiction FAQ: http://www.davidglasser.net/raiffaq/
tr/y/k;

Craxton

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Nov 16, 1999, 3:00:00 AM11/16/99
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> Exhibition (Anatoly Domokov) [Ian Finley] (I betatested this one)
>
> Yeah, yeah, it's not interactive and could have been written as a story.
> But can you deny that it's damn good writing?

Yes. It tries to be a character study, but the characters it's studying are
one-dimensional. Plus it's boring as hell.

> Halothane (Quentin.D.Thompson)
>
> This was cool, albeit weird. I should probably give it a lower score,
> but I don't feel like it. I'm probably the only person who liked it,
> though.

You most certainly are not. I had it pegged for first place.

> ===
> Stone Cell (Middle Edge)

> Why in the world does squirting the wall make the guard ignore me?

It's dark, and he can't see you clearly.


-Craxton


Dan Schmidt

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Nov 16, 1999, 3:00:00 AM11/16/99
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gla...@iname.com (David Glasser) writes:

| It's interesting to speculate about the judges based on their ratings of
| some games; those that put HUNTER IN DARKNESS and EREWHON high (such as
| myself) seem to be the more "technical/geek/cs/math/whatever" oriented
| people, whereas FOR A CHANGE and so on seems to be liked more by the
| literary people. Or whatever; I'm not really into dividing people up.

For what it's worth, I (a technical/geek/cs/math/whatever oriented
person, though I do read a ton) wrote FOR A CHANGE, thought HUNTER, IN
DARKNESS was the best game in the competition, and didn't like EREHWON
much at all. I think HUNTER and EREHWON are very different games.
The dichotomy I thought was most interesting was between the people
who liked and disliked HALOTHANE.

--
Dan Schmidt | http://www2.thecia.net/users/dfan/

Trig

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Nov 17, 1999, 3:00:00 AM11/17/99
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>Um. Why did Dekker do all that weirdness with Blake? Why did Dekker
>not just get rid of the folder? Why did he let Blake anywhere near?

Actually, I do have answers to these questions, and I didn't even make them up
just now.

>Why does Trig think this game makes sense?

Generally, because I know the answers to the above questions.

> Why didn't Trig get raif
>beta-testers: they don't go out to eat together and get poisoned! Why,
>why?

Surprisingly, this is the first time they ever contracted mutual food
poisoning, despite being roommates for 3 years and eating hundreds of meals
together. They gave me tons of valuable info on my last (unnoteworthy) game,
and if I hadn't procrastinated so badly about getting them the game,
hospitalization would not have been the issue that it turned out to be.

Also, I think I must have been intoxicated when I decided to submit the game
as it was.

Trig
--
"This may look like a slab of liver, but really, it's an external brain pack!"

Marnie Parker

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Nov 17, 1999, 3:00:00 AM11/17/99
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>Subject: Re: [Comp99] David Glasser's "reviews"
>From: Dan Schmidt df...@thecia.net
>Date: Tue, 16 November 1999 11:33 PM EST

>| It's interesting to speculate about the judges based on their ratings of
>| some games; those that put HUNTER IN DARKNESS and EREWHON high (such as
>| myself) seem to be the more "technical/geek/cs/math/whatever" oriented
>| people, whereas FOR A CHANGE and so on seems to be liked more by the
>| literary people. Or whatever; I'm not really into dividing people up.
>
>For what it's worth, I (a technical/geek/cs/math/whatever oriented
>person, though I do read a ton) wrote FOR A CHANGE, thought HUNTER, IN
>DARKNESS was the best game in the competition, and didn't like EREHWON
>much at all.

Ditto, the two aren't that much alike.

I think I am a technical/artistic mix. Seems to me those that have been around
longer and/or have played more "amateur" games liked Hunter. I notice it did do
better with judges than in the contest as a whole.

I admired it for its quality, which was obvious once one took the time to
actually play it through. Responses for everything, small details can be
examined, good timing, sovlable puzzles and no bugs. Quite "smooth".

I think I remarked last year the thing I look for most in games is solidity.
Like the games Infocom produced and a lot of what finally creates solidity is
good betatesting (not just by people other than the author but by the author as
well). Next on my list (or first, but each are equally important) is
originality.

Good "art" is and will always be also well-crafted art.

HTH. HAND.

Doe :-)


doea...@aol.com -------------------------------------------------
Kingdom of IF - http://members.aol.com/doepage/intfict.htm
Inform Tips - http://members.aol.com/doepage/infotips.htm
IF Art Gallery - http://members.aol.com/iffyart/gallery.htm


J.D. Berry

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Nov 17, 1999, 3:00:00 AM11/17/99
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In article <1e1dsvg.1piuq521e9qu6gN@[209.195.241.64]>,

gla...@iname.com (David Glasser) wrote:
> Jacks or better to murder, Aces to win (J. D. Berry)
>

> I'm sort of curious about the locked door that I came in from to get


> to the anteroom; specifically, the fact that it isn't there. (OK, so
> I'm anal, but I sat in those three rooms trying to figure out how I
> had entered for a really long time.)

I was driving on a suspended literary license? I suppose most people
(those who enjoyed, of course) let this pass, figuring as I did that
"I wasn't even thinking of going back in there." (But you're right,
a door object probably wouldn't have hurt given this is IF. Maybe a
witty comment along with trying to open it, too.)

Those who disliked it may compare (and, in fact, have! ;-)) it to
Detective. I would argue (as I've read so would others) that ANY game
can be MST'd if desired. Thus, if one doesn't like a game, little
typos become "horrible writing" and omitted objects become "Detective
like" debacles. One could even mock games one had never seen before.
;-)

Thanks for the reviews, David. I'm glad you enjoyed not just my game
but the comp in general. While perhaps there were no glorious
masterpieces, I think the Interactive Fiction community will take what
has been written here and evolve because of it.

Jim

Sent via Deja.com http://www.deja.com/
Before you buy.

Eric Mayer

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Nov 17, 1999, 3:00:00 AM11/17/99
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On 16 Nov 1999 23:33:51 -0500, Dan Schmidt <df...@thecia.net> wrote:

>gla...@iname.com (David Glasser) writes:
>
>| It's interesting to speculate about the judges based on their ratings of
>| some games; those that put HUNTER IN DARKNESS and EREWHON high (such as
>| myself) seem to be the more "technical/geek/cs/math/whatever" oriented
>| people, whereas FOR A CHANGE and so on seems to be liked more by the
>| literary people. Or whatever; I'm not really into dividing people up.
>

>For what it's worth, I (a technical/geek/cs/math/whatever oriented
>person, though I do read a ton) wrote FOR A CHANGE, thought HUNTER, IN
>DARKNESS was the best game in the competition, and didn't like EREHWON

>much at all. I think HUNTER and EREHWON are very different games.
>The dichotomy I thought was most interesting was between the people
>who liked and disliked HALOTHANE.
>
>--
>Dan Schmidt | http://www2.thecia.net/users/dfan/


Well I am an English Lit major/writer (I guess you could call legal
writing "technical" but that's about as technical as it gets and I
prefer writing fiction) and I thought Hunter was the best game. I like
Halothane, although not as well as it placed. What I most liked was
the ease of play. I thought Hunter was the best written game in the
Comp.
--
Eric Mayer
Web Site: <http://home.epix.net/~maywrite>
=====================================================
co-author of ONE FOR SORROW
A "John the Eunuch" mystery from Poisoned Pen Press
<http://www.poisonedpenpress.com/html/sorrow.html>
=====================================================
"The map is not the territory." -- Alfred Korzybski

Stephen Kodat

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Nov 17, 1999, 3:00:00 AM11/17/99
to
> Stone Cell (Middle Edge) [if the author hasn't come out now (I use an
> offline newsreader), I'm going to guess it's somebody who has written in
> TADS before, and perhaps a complicated game. I'd guess J. Rob Wheeler,
> but that's almost certainly wrong]
>

Although I'll post a more complete response later to the critiques, mostly
to apologize for the difficulty of the puzzles and the wordiness, I'll now
take credit/debit for this game:

My name is Steve Kodat (who?). I had written one short practice game, and
this is my first full-length.


> Eeeagh! This introduction has broken my brain! (It makes sense,
> though.)
>

See above.

> I do like this game.
>

Thanks!

> Why in the world does squirting the wall make the guard ignore me?
>

The idea is that the guard mistakes you for a boy, Matthew specifically.
This niche is a urinal and you are simulating a male's use of it with the
water bottle.

> The practice of not mentioning directions in the text is disorienting,
> but I'm living.
>
> The size and nonlinearity of the layout of the map is just pushing the
> limits of what I like, but I can handle it. This is good.
>
> Where does one get Pynergevzr (rot13) from, other than combining those
> words in every way?
>

If you look at the portrait, you'll see two objects by the lady's feet.
Their description are the only two that match (hopefully) the two words in
the list. Also, the boy is in that portrait, and his name is similarly
depicted with a tree with vines (Trevine). And even more obscurely, the
lord's name is also represented by the heraldic emblem of a horse looking
backward (Ruecoult).

> Um, I would have liked it better had I not had to read the author's
> mind, but it was a good game. (And granted, the impossible puzzles were
> *mostly* optional, but finding the bone and crack was too hard.) But I
> still liked it a lot, and probably more than the average judge.


A very canny last remark.

Noslwop

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Nov 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM11/18/99
to
> Spodgeville Murphy and The Jewelled Eye of Wossname (David Fillmore)
>
> I like the intro. The full score thing was done in ENLIGHTENMENT (and
> ZERO SUM GAME, for that matter), as was OBJECTS and PLACES and so on.
>
> I already played ENLIGHTENMENT. Bleah. Why should I play this one too?
>
Mainly because this isn't Enlightenment. I admit that I stole that joke from
it, but that one joke does not make up my entire game. I can understand
people not liking that it plagerised (a lot) from various games, or that it
was buggy, or even just not funny, but deciding it's not worth playing just
because one joke has already been used doesn't make sense to me.


> BUT THE RESPONSE TO 'ZORK' RULES! I GAVE IT AN EXTRA POINT JUST FOR
> THAT!

Thank you. If I make ask, what on earth possesed you (and everyone else who
played it) to type ZORK?

~Noslwop~


Paul O'Brian

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Nov 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM11/18/99
to
On Thu, 18 Nov 1999, Noslwop wrote:

> Thank you. If I make ask, what on earth possesed you (and everyone else who
> played it) to type ZORK?

I'm not sure, but I'll bet it's related to the thing that possessed you to
craft a response to it so hugely complicated and elaborate that it rivals
the rest of the game in excitement.

--
Paul O'Brian obr...@colorado.edu http://ucsu.colorado.edu/~obrian
"Sometimes even music cannot substitute for tears."
-- Paul Simon


Adam J. Thornton

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Nov 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM11/18/99
to
In article <1e1dsvg.1piuq521e9qu6gN@[209.195.241.64]>,
David Glasser <gla...@iname.com> wrote:
>Cameron is lucky that I'm not Adam Thornton.

Luckily? for Cameon, I twigged to the trick *almost* immediately.

So I felt it was a poor imitation of LYG rather than a game about dragons.
I still didn't like it much, but it was better than it would have been had
it been what it appeared at first to be. Got me? Got squid? Got squid
eating dough in a polyethelyne bag?

Adam

Fast. Bulbous.

--
ad...@princeton.edu
"My eyes say their prayers to her / Sailors ring her bell / Like a moth
mistakes a light bulb / For the moon and goes to hell." -- Tom Waits

David Glasser

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Nov 19, 1999, 3:00:00 AM11/19/99
to
Dan Schmidt <df...@thecia.net> wrote:

> gla...@iname.com (David Glasser) writes:
>
> | It's interesting to speculate about the judges based on their ratings of
> | some games; those that put HUNTER IN DARKNESS and EREWHON high (such as
> | myself) seem to be the more "technical/geek/cs/math/whatever" oriented
> | people, whereas FOR A CHANGE and so on seems to be liked more by the
> | literary people. Or whatever; I'm not really into dividing people up.
>

> For what it's worth, I (a technical/geek/cs/math/whatever oriented
> person, though I do read a ton) wrote FOR A CHANGE, thought HUNTER, IN
> DARKNESS was the best game in the competition, and didn't like EREHWON
> much at all. I think HUNTER and EREHWON are very different games.
> The dichotomy I thought was most interesting was between the people
> who liked and disliked HALOTHANE.

Yeah, you're probably right. I'm not quite sure what I was thinking (I
really shouldn't have posted that article until I had worked on it a lot
more). As I said, I don't really like dividing people up into
semi-arbitrary groups in the first place, so I see what you're saying
now.

Plus, y'know, just about everyone here has a geeky side and an
artsy/literary side, because it's hard to write or appreciate IF without
at least a little of each.

"So, is that superior artistry, or the easy way out?"
--TenthStone on white canvases as art, on rec.arts.int-fiction

David Glasser

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Nov 19, 1999, 3:00:00 AM11/19/99
to
[Spoilers for Stone Cell]

Stephen Kodat <sko...@blazenet.net> wrote:

> > Stone Cell (Middle Edge) [if the author hasn't come out now (I use an
> > offline newsreader), I'm going to guess it's somebody who has written in
> > TADS before, and perhaps a complicated game. I'd guess J. Rob Wheeler,
> > but that's almost certainly wrong]

Hmm, this is one of those comments in my article that I don't even
remember writing. Maybe it was just Rob's recent post about how hard 4
in 1 was or something. Now that it's not very very late I don't see any
resemblence.

> > Why in the world does squirting the wall make the guard ignore me?
>

> The idea is that the guard mistakes you for a boy, Matthew specifically.
> This niche is a urinal and you are simulating a male's use of it with the
> water bottle.

After some discussion on ifMUD, it seems that everyone else understood
that. I was thinking that castles would just have chamberpots, but most
others understood it.

> > Where does one get Pynergevzr (rot13) from, other than combining those
> > words in every way?
>

> If you look at the portrait, you'll see two objects by the lady's feet.
> Their description are the only two that match (hopefully) the two words in
> the list. Also, the boy is in that portrait, and his name is similarly
> depicted with a tree with vines (Trevine). And even more obscurely, the
> lord's name is also represented by the heraldic emblem of a horse looking
> backward (Ruecoult).

Hmm. I can't seem to find this painting, but I'll take your word. It's
still too hard, but it *is* optional, and obviously so. (In fact, I
doubt anybody solved any of the ~ puzzles without walkthrough, but they
*were* clearly optional.)

> > Um, I would have liked it better had I not had to read the author's
> > mind, but it was a good game. (And granted, the impossible puzzles were
> > *mostly* optional, but finding the bone and crack was too hard.) But I
> > still liked it a lot, and probably more than the average judge.
>

> A very canny last remark.

Oh, no, I didn't mean to be clever or anything. That was just my true
guess about the general feelings of the IF community.

"So what's the story with Tetris? Block meets block, block loses block,
block meets another block?" --Russ Williams

David Glasser

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Nov 19, 1999, 3:00:00 AM11/19/99
to
J.D. Berry <jdb...@my-deja.com> wrote:

> In article <1e1dsvg.1piuq521e9qu6gN@[209.195.241.64]>,

> gla...@iname.com (David Glasser) wrote:
> > Jacks or better to murder, Aces to win (J. D. Berry)

> > I'm sort of curious about the locked door that I came in from to get


> > to the anteroom; specifically, the fact that it isn't there. (OK, so
> > I'm anal, but I sat in those three rooms trying to figure out how I
> > had entered for a really long time.)
>

> I was driving on a suspended literary license? I suppose most people
> (those who enjoyed, of course) let this pass, figuring as I did that
> "I wasn't even thinking of going back in there." (But you're right,
> a door object probably wouldn't have hurt given this is IF. Maybe a
> witty comment along with trying to open it, too.)

Well, it's not the most serious problem ever; in fact, that's why I
mentioned it, because I figured next to nobody else would notice it.
(It would probably be more appropriate for private email than for a
review, I guess.)

By the way, who was the "Interactive Fiction writer to be named later"?

David Glasser

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Nov 19, 1999, 3:00:00 AM11/19/99
to
Noslwop <Nos...@Hotmail.com> wrote:

> > Spodgeville Murphy and The Jewelled Eye of Wossname (David Fillmore)
> >
> > I like the intro. The full score thing was done in ENLIGHTENMENT (and
> > ZERO SUM GAME, for that matter), as was OBJECTS and PLACES and so on.
> >
> > I already played ENLIGHTENMENT. Bleah. Why should I play this one too?
> >

> Mainly because this isn't Enlightenment. I admit that I stole that joke from
> it, but that one joke does not make up my entire game. I can understand
> people not liking that it plagerised (a lot) from various games, or that it
> was buggy, or even just not funny, but deciding it's not worth playing just
> because one joke has already been used doesn't make sense to me.

Yes, I see what you are saying. However, that mostly turned me off from
your game. It actually mostly felt like "already done". (Then again,
so did BLISS and apparently nobody else did.) I'm sorry to say so, but
it's the truth and hopefully I don't need to dress it up.

> > BUT THE RESPONSE TO 'ZORK' RULES! I GAVE IT AN EXTRA POINT JUST FOR
> > THAT!
>

> Thank you. If I make ask, what on earth possesed you (and everyone else who
> played it) to type ZORK?

Um, I think you told me.

"It's good to explore the G.U.E. caves / It's good to explore the G.U.E.
caves / You can count all the leaves / You can KILL TROLL WITH SWORD /
You'll get stuck but you won't be bored"-Joe.Mason, rec.arts.int-fiction

Noslwop

unread,
Nov 20, 1999, 3:00:00 AM11/20/99
to

David Glasser <gla...@iname.com> wrote in message

> > Thank you. If I make ask, what on earth possesed you (and everyone else
who
> > played it) to type ZORK?
>
> Um, I think you told me.
>

Huh? Told you what? I told only one person about the ZORK response, to the
best of my knowledge.

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