Some notes on IFComp '07

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Wendymoon

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Nov 17, 2007, 3:36:47 PM11/17/07
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With the change in the discussion rule this year, I was thinking I
would post reviews as I played. I wrote some notes on each game as I
went along, but that's as far as I got. I did enjoy reading other's
reviews as I finished with the games instead of having to wait for the
Comp. to end.

Anyway, here's my notes and observations (which may include a few
minor spoilers):


Games I enjoyed:

An Act of Murder

Reminded me a lot of Infocom's The Witness at the start. Fun mystery
game, had some trouble with synonyms (ex:ask about sister/elinor) and
knowing exactly what all to tell Duffy about. Hooks could be clued
better. Dialogue was great.
Reading that it resets every time, I thought ok, so there's a new
murderer? How does that work? Replaying I realized it's ALL new stuff:
motives, weapon, etc. (Yeah, kinda like Clue, but better.) Wow. I
really enjoyed seeing the different scenarios and different quotes at
the end. This has great replay value. I really respect the work that
went into this. My favorite and highest rated of the comp.

Lost Pig

Ok, first of all I didn't get the "and place under ground" bit. I
thought it was place as in put, like put the lost pig underground?
Silly me. It all became clear soon enough. :-)
I loved all the replaced default messages. The author did a great job
keeping a strong character perspective. My satisfaction in solving the
puzzles came not so much with what was accomplished, but with the
delight that came in reading about it. So many great moments, like the
moon & coin descriptions, grunk thinking, what happens if you are
around the gnome without pants... I think my favorite was "pig stare
at paper. silly pig. pig not read. can pig read?"
Found some small punctuation problems and one strange programming
error repeated when asking about stuff: [** Programming error: tried
to test "has" or "hasnt" of not anything **] but I was enjoying the
game enough to overlook this.
Wish I could have cleaned my pants.


Games I liked enough to finish:

Lord Bellwater's Secret

Interesting one room game. You're a groom trying to avenge the death
of your sweetheart by uncovering a secret. (Though I didn't feel it
was so secret. The plot becomes clear pretty quickly, and then it's
just a matter of finding the evidence.)
Needs more synonyms, like can't I climb down or just say down to get
off table? I found the end to be not so satisfying, maybe I was
looking for more justice. Or at least revenge.

Orevore Courier

A unique take on a one room game. You're in a control room on a ship,
monitoring and trying to protect your cargo from pirates (who reminded
me of Reavers).
The cruel rating is very true. I played around with this and figured
out some things, but couldn't solve it all even though I had an idea
of what to do. This was frustrating. I found the hints moderately
helpful, but eventually I just resorted to the walkthrough. Would have
enjoyed this more if the failures game me more feedback. Cool idea,
just a little too tough.

Jealousy Duel X

Little graphic game, some will probably argue that it's not true
interactive fiction. But it was a fun break to me and I got into it.
The premise is this: you are trying to get enough phone numbers to
make your ex jealous. This may be a silly idea, but the ways you
actually get the numbers are even more ridiculous.
I'm really torn on this one. I ended up rating it higher than I would
have liked because of how I felt about it at the two-hour mark. It had
sucked me in, and I was determined to finish it. So I kept playing. I
knew how to get enough numbers to reach my goal, but not how to get
them all in one game. I made notes, counted, charted, contacted the
author. Eventually tried to hack the game. Finally finished, then
again differently with the walkthrough when it was released.
This game is in desperate need of an undo or save button. This was
very frustrating, and yet I kept playing. So I guess that's a success
for the game, in a way. I found a few genuinely funny moments. (The
girl in rollers looked LucasArts-esque to me, and I mean that as a
compliment.) But in the end, after all the effort, it just wasn't
enough.


Games I didn't like so well:

Wish

I did finish this one, but only because I found it to be short and
easy. I thought there were a lot of strange disconnects in the game:
third & first person, real world & fantasy... I didn't really enjoy
the writing or the premise. I wrote this in my notes: Poor Grandpa.
Poor Sarah. Poor game.

Varkana

I restarted this one a bunch of times trying to make myself play it.
Didn't know what to do at first because I couldn't get into the
language and was mostly skimming. I found the unusual names
irritating.
Ok, so I'm a bookcrafter (play any Myst lately?) and I think I need
to fix a book, but instead I am helping my friend peek over a wall,
sleeping, choosing an outfit, playing with a cat... no motivation to
continue. So I didn't.

Slap that Fish

Slap that bass. Keep those fishes busy.
Slap. Slap. Rest. Eat pie. Quit.
I think it's safe to say that I just don't get it.


Initial thoughts I never got past: (I didn't rate these games)

My Mind's Mishmash

I can activate my weapons with a thought. But not with the verb
activate. Fighting, but why? Ender like? Cool ideas, but too abstract
for me to get what's happening.

In The Mind Of The Master

Ok, I have a bit of a bias against Whyld. I know he's written an
insane amount of games, but I feel like often it's quantity over
quality. The beginning is lacking the usual infodump of the whole game
story, so that's a positive sign.
I found the writing awkward and full of too much explanation. The
Master thing made me wonder if he's been watching Doctor Who much.
Meant to give this another chance, but never got back to it.

A Fine Day for Reaping

Lisping Grim Reaper, Horse, Guru. Interesting character, reminded me
(and probably a lot of people) of Pratchett's Death. Seemed like you
have to travel around a lot before you can do anything in one place.
Didn't get the Guru. And just not so into reaping souls.


As for the rest, there were a couple I just knew I wouldn't like from
the intro. A few more that seemed like they could be good, but would
require more time than I had. Maybe I'll get to a few more of those
now that the Comp is over. If nothing else, I appreciate the effort
that goes into making these games, so thanks authors, and congrats to
the winners!

Mike Snyder

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Nov 17, 2007, 5:18:35 PM11/17/07
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"Wendymoon" <Wend...@aol.com> wrote in message
news:963f9ee3-acbe-4cc4...@w73g2000hsf.googlegroups.com...
>
> Lost Pig

>
> Wish I could have cleaned my pants.

You can, can't you? You can wash them in the river and dry them with the
burning powder, if I recall correctly.

--- Mike.


Wendymoon

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Nov 17, 2007, 6:09:53 PM11/17/07
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"Mike Snyder" wrote:

> > Lost Pig
>
> > Wish I could have cleaned my pants.
>
> You can, can't you? You can wash them in the river and dry them with the
> burning powder, if I recall correctly.
>
> --- Mike.

Perhaps you can. I did try to wash them in the river but didn't try
drying them. However, by that point I think I had tried cleaning
something with the pants and figured I had just messed them up for
good.

Andreas Davour

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Nov 18, 2007, 12:23:02 AM11/18/07
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Wendymoon <Wend...@aol.com> writes:

> With the change in the discussion rule this year, I was thinking I
> would post reviews as I played. I wrote some notes on each game as I
> went along, but that's as far as I got. I did enjoy reading other's
> reviews as I finished with the games instead of having to wait for the
> Comp. to end.
>
> Anyway, here's my notes and observations (which may include a few
> minor spoilers):

> Varkana


>
> I restarted this one a bunch of times trying to make myself play it.
> Didn't know what to do at first because I couldn't get into the
> language and was mostly skimming. I found the unusual names
> irritating.
> Ok, so I'm a bookcrafter (play any Myst lately?) and I think I need
> to fix a book, but instead I am helping my friend peek over a wall,
> sleeping, choosing an outfit, playing with a cat... no motivation to
> continue. So I didn't.

Finally someone who felt exactly like me! You put it much more
eloquently than me, though. I started to wonder if I was the only one to
give this a lower score.

This game should be pretty good with some changes. It's very clear it's
not a game for me, or Wendymoon, but I think a better focus on purpose
and I'd have given it +2 in rating.

/Andreas

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