[Comp99] Cranky Witch Reviews (3/3) LONG

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tls

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Nov 19, 1999, 3:00:00 AM11/19/99
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Calliope (Inform)
Author: Jason McIntosh
Blurb: "You see nothing special about the 56."

I have almost nothing to say about this game.

Sorry, but I really don't. Not bad, not good, hardly even indifferent.

It was vaguely cute, the writing was not bad, but there wasn't much to
the game -- and even though there wasn't, I needed the walkthrough.
(Telling me I can't sleep because if I do I'll give up, then requiring me
to sleep, sends, er, a mixed message.)

Oh, the TV show blurbs were funny. There, I thought of something to say.

------------------------------------------------------------------
Strangers in the Night: An Interactive Gothic Hunt (TADS)
Author: Rich Pizor
Blurb: "Being immortal is cool, except for that whole 'drinking the blood
of the innocent' part..."

Okay, the readme file definitely leaves it very clear what one should do.
The time limit... look, I have this THING about games with time limits.
Sometimes it's okay, but often it ends up being a time limit that only
someone intimately familiar with the game could possibly meet. This does
fall somewhere in between...

Pet peeve time: People who use "it's" when they mean "its". Particularly
if they supposedly had someone proofread.

Why can't I 'look at me'? Why can't I get clothes? Why do I leave through
the bathroom? Why, in a game with an 8 hour limit, does it take 18
minutes to just get downstairs? Why doesn't the doorman know about 'sara'
despite the card with his handwriting on it? Why are two of the five
places mentioned without a location? This takes another 10.5 minutes to
find out. I use 1/16th of my game time barely getting started. Why does
it take me a minute and a half to 'look'? Am I on acid?

Why, when I'm told the Museum is 1 block west, do I not see it going
west? Why are there so many rooms without descriptions? If they weren't
interesting and necessary to the game, why are they there at all?
Couldn't you at least have put in a /basic/ description of them?

Why do I feel I'm in a bad start-up World of Darkness MU*? Why can't I
look at the people at the museum? Why would I attract attention breaking
into places if I'm, as I've been told, virtually invisible?

Why can't I 'look at buttons' in the apartments? Why can't I seem to
press keys? Why did it take me almost 3 hours figuring this all out? Why
isn't the place that supposedly opens at 11 open at 11:10?

Was it really necessary to tell me I "must" consume the goth girl? Why do
I know all these things about her? Am I telepathic? If so, why do I have
such a hard time hunting people? Why is the place that was supposed to
open at 11 STILL NOT OPEN? Why, if people won't interact with me unless I
interact with them, can the bouncer see me? Is he Super Vampire Hunter D?

Why if I got 90 points out of 90 and consumed the requisite 3 drinks of
blood as per the readme file does it say that this was NOT enough to keep
the Hunger at bay? Why can't someone write a non-overly-ankhsty and
cliched vampire game? Why? Why? Why?

---------------------------------------------------------------
The HeBGB Horror! (ALAN)
Author: Eric Mayer
Blurb: "Whatever happened to those legendary punk rockers the Laughing
Kats? If you can discover the terrible secret lurking in the HeBGB rock
club you might just become a star."

Okay, first -- if the author is out there (yes, I know, I should email,
maybe I will get the ambition to): I guess it's probably a bug that I
managed to get stuck waiting in line forever. Like 'had to start the game
over again because after saying 'wait' about thirty times I gave up'.

That over with...

Please bludgeon me again with the Lovecraft references! I love it when
you do that, baby!

Anyhow. Um. Really, I'm not sure what to say about this game. There was
something kinda cool about the premise, but the writing was highly
overdramatic, the conversation somewhat poor, the directions not
mentioned in the descriptions annoying, the Lovecraftian thing just
really overdone, the way to 'solve' the game was confusing even with the
walkthrough, the lead-me-through-the-nose yet I STILL need the
walkthrough thing was obnoxious...

Oh, well, I guess I am sure what to say about the game.

--------------------------------------------------------------------
Chicks Dig Jerks (Inform)
Author: Robb Sherwin
Blurb: "An ancient evil threatens to invade a decadent mountain town, yet
all that concerns young grave robber Avandre Varick is hitting on
gorgeous babes."

I loathed this game with an intensity heretofore unbeknownst to mankind.

Also, I think everyone knows about the buggy ending already, so I'll skip
that complaint.

Sigh, well, okay. The writing /was/ good, mostly. But I hated all the
characters, I hated the bar scene, I was confused by the sudden abrupt
"It's a horror story" twist, and, um, I couldn't finish the game. The
lack of directions in the descriptions was annoying. The bug was
annoying. The puzzles, such as they were, were lame and in one case fell
into the "I'm not sure how the hell I could have known that" category
(getting into the cemetery). Keegan not noticing the dead guard was
rather jarring.

Two pieces of writing stood out enough for me to record them.

"The two of you have animal sex for the better part of the night."
Please. Talk to the hand.

"Hey! That can be f---ing recycled!" "It still can be." Okay, that was
funny.

Everything else was not.

Please get laid before you write your next game. Thank you.

---------------------------------------------------------------------
"L.U.D.I.T.E.: Not Quite Poetry, Not Quite Prose." (Inform)
Author: the infamous Rybread
Blurb: "Morning seems strange, almost out of place."

Rybread is, of course, a legend, and to be honest, I secretly suspect
that's just what he is after. The initial writing in this game is
actually rather good, which somehow fails to surprise me despite having
played (curiousity overwhelmed me) other Rybread games. There are still
typos, though.

The answer to 'xyzzy' is interesting.

I "won" this game because I saw how to online, though I suppose I might
have figured it out without that. I looked at the surrealistic rooms
first, then went straight for the end. I am amazed to actually win the
game. The little canto at the end is interesting.

I don't know who Rybread is but I do know one thing: The entry isn't much
of a game in itself, but I think entering it is the real game.

Either that, or I want his drug supplier.

------------------------------------------------------------------
"A Moment of Hope" (TADS)
Author: Simmon Keith
Blurb: "At first glance, you look the same as always; waist-title_length
brown hair tied back, red-blonde spanish goatee scraggly as ever, a few
studs sticking through each earlobe, and fingernails -- except for the
thumbs -- clipped short.

Upon closer examination, however, anyone who knows you well could tell
something is up. Your hair has been brushed and neatly braided. The area
around your beard is shaved smooth, and your teeth have been brushed
recently. You aren't wearing your pajamas.

You try to put her out of your mind and think about something else. It
doesn't work."

Longest blurb I saw.

Some of the "wait" responses are cute. The fact it's a Linux box instead
of Windoze is nice. The reference to lynx is good. These are the only
good things I can say about this game.

I play some dude that uses a web-based match service and doesn't get a
girl and whose best idea of a comforting thought is the chick he likes
still can't figure out who all likes her. This is what is known in my
neck of the woods as a 'loser'.

I was utterly unsympathetic towards this loser. I wanted to slap him. And
the chick. Both. And then burn down the building housing the server that
contained the web-based match service.

I'm sorry. That wasn't very nice. But it's still true.
======================================================================
End of reviews. Such as they were.
--
ti...@ripco.com - you...@foad.org - help, I'm stuck in a bottle

Robb Sherwin

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Nov 19, 1999, 3:00:00 AM11/19/99
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On 19 Nov 1999 10:39:24 GMT, ti...@ripco.com (tls) wrote:
>--------------------------------------------------------------------
>Chicks Dig Jerks (Inform)
>Author: Robb Sherwin
>I loathed this game with an intensity heretofore unbeknownst to mankind.

Hmm.

>"Hey! That can be f---ing recycled!" "It still can be." Okay, that was
>funny.

Thanks. I'll be here ausch veek.

>Please get laid before you write your next game. Thank you.

Sheesh. Um, OK. I'll do my best to take one for the team.


The thing that kind of surprises me (and this isn't directed at you,
just a general observation I've come to after reading a bunch of these
reviews) is that people had no problem typing in "yes" when the girl
asked to take Avandre home, but did have issues with what came next. I
tried to give the player a non-game-ending, non-game-affecting choice
in those scenes (and I *know* that those sections were bug-free).

Personally, I had attempted to push the level of description slightly
beyond that of, say, I-0, while still keeping it behind, say, BJ
Drifter. Even though the game came with a full-page warning and it was
up to the player to specifically initiate those scenes I totally
understand that this is a comp game, and therefore people are going to
play it who may not otherwise. I get that, I understand that. I wasn't
trying to be the kid who had the attention of the class during
show-and-tell for five minutes and took the opportunity to put graphic
scenes of roadkill aftercrap on the projector.

I tried to give the player, in those scenes, a choice; make it
"interactive," I guess. If I failed at that, if I made it look like I
was not *really* giving the player a choice (sort of like being in
someone's D&D game and being told "there is an old man at the inn. Do
you want to talk to him?") then it's important for me to know that.
Because that was definitely not my intention.

(For what it's worth, not taking the girl home does give you a
cut-scene otherwise impossible to get to.)

--Robb

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
Robb Sherwin, Fort Collins CO
Reviews From Trotting Krips: http://ifiction.tsx.org
Knight Orc Home Page www.geocities.com/~knightorc

Sean T Barrett

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Nov 19, 1999, 3:00:00 AM11/19/99
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Robb Sherwin <robb_s...@juno.com> wrote:
>The thing that kind of surprises me (and this isn't directed at you,
>just a general observation I've come to after reading a bunch of these
>reviews) is that people had no problem typing in "yes" when the girl
>asked to take Avandre home, but did have issues with what came next. I
>tried to give the player a non-game-ending, non-game-affecting choice
>in those scenes (and I *know* that those sections were bug-free).

To quote the final comment of my review:
<I found it slightly disconcerting that the game asked me yes/no
<questions once or twice about what my character wanted to do,
<but seemed to secretly be intending this question to mean
<"do you want to see the risque business spelled out or not?"
<Character intention and player intention are rather different.

[robb again]


>I tried to give the player, in those scenes, a choice; make it
>"interactive," I guess. If I failed at that, if I made it look like I
>was not *really* giving the player a choice (sort of like being in
>someone's D&D game and being told "there is an old man at the inn. Do
>you want to talk to him?") then it's important for me to know that.
>Because that was definitely not my intention.

To spell it out: there was no way for me to know when prompted
with the question it was a "non-game-ending, non-game-affecting"
choice. If anyone didn't want to read the content behind the
"yes" answers, they didn't realize that they should say "no"
until AFTER having read the content behind the "yes" answers
and discovering "oh, that's what yes meant". (Unless they were
mind-readers.)

The assjack I was playing was going to say "yes" in those
situations, as far as I could imagine. I was in charge of
controlling him, so I played along and responded as I thought
an assjack would, not because *I* am an assjack, but because
the character was.

Sean Barrett

Adam Cadre

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Nov 19, 1999, 3:00:00 AM11/19/99
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> (Adam can now choose to object or not to my calling I-0 'pr0n'.)

Well, you haven't accused me of feigning the entirety of my emotional
life, so nah, we're cool.

-----
Adam Cadre, Sammamish, WA
http://adamcadre.ac

tls

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Nov 20, 1999, 3:00:00 AM11/20/99
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In article <38356c2d....@news.frii.com>,

Robb Sherwin <robb_s...@juno.com> wrote:
>On 19 Nov 1999 10:39:24 GMT, ti...@ripco.com (tls) wrote:
>>--------------------------------------------------------------------
>>Chicks Dig Jerks (Inform)
>>Author: Robb Sherwin
>>I loathed this game with an intensity heretofore unbeknownst to mankind.
>
>Hmm.

Okay. That's not really true. I mean, I did play it through to as far as
I could get...

A more fair assessment would have been: I really totally disliked the
initial premise of the game.

>>Please get laid before you write your next game. Thank you.
>

>Sheesh. Um, OK. I'll do my best to take one for the team.

Sorry, I did mention I was going to be cranky, right?

(Yes, I am in a better mood now. Maybe I should try again... Naah, that'd
just scare people.)

To be honest, all the relationship-related games really did not do much
for me. There may be personal reasons behind that. (Well, there are,
okay, but none of you need to know them.) Having a cruise-the-bars and
get chicks game might be someone else's Thing, but it is definitely not
going to be mine; I loathe the bar scene.

In retrospect, I realize that aside from complimenting a funny line, I
didn't really say anything constructive, so let me try this: Your
conversational writing, if it were a totally different setting, might have
turned out to be something I enjoyed. There were a few paths in the
conversations with the girls that seemed to end abruptly, and a little
too much repetition, however, I think that you showed skill in writing
the actual words said. The setting just really turned me off. So to
speak. As it were.

>The thing that kind of surprises me (and this isn't directed at you,
>just a general observation I've come to after reading a bunch of these
>reviews) is that people had no problem typing in "yes" when the girl
>asked to take Avandre home, but did have issues with what came next. I

Okay. I don't object to pr0n in the generic sense, but it's never going
to be my cup of tea for a game. I haven't played I-0, much as I respect
Adam and like his writing. (Adam can now choose to object or not to my
calling I-0 'pr0n'.) So anything that looks like -- and I'm sorry, but it
did -- an excuse to include it is just gonna rub me the wrong way.

I can't speak for other people, but would not be surprised if there were
a generic disinterest in such things.

Robb Sherwin

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Nov 20, 1999, 3:00:00 AM11/20/99
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On Fri, 19 Nov 1999 18:16:53 GMT, buz...@world.std.com (Sean T
Barrett) wrote:
>To spell it out: there was no way for me to know when prompted
>with the question it was a "non-game-ending, non-game-affecting"
>choice. If anyone didn't want to read the content behind the
>"yes" answers, they didn't realize that they should say "no"
>until AFTER having read the content behind the "yes" answers
>and discovering "oh, that's what yes meant". (Unless they were
>mind-readers.)

That's a great point, Sean, and one I hadn't considered. How does an
author get his player to, er, have "faith"? I know that I find games
that end abruptly to be terribly irritating, and yeah -- seeing how
the premise of that part of the game was getting into bed, I can, at
this point, totally see where you are coming from.

Ideally, I wanted the big goals to be the same (so that the plot
progressed) but the implementation thereof to be up to the player
(otherwise, it takes the "I" out of "IF".) It's what I really liked
about Pass The Banana. In its own way, it let me lash out in rage at
all the flaming heads in this year's competition. If someone else
hated monkeys, then they could play the game in a slightly different
manner than I.

Maybe a message in the "about" response stating that "there is no way
to end the game by making a poor conversation choice."? I don't know.
Daggerfall did something similar to that in its manual and I always
thought Bethesda came off as whiny for doing it.

This is, I think, where a printed manual would come in handy. :)

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