[Comp00] ratings and brief notes

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Kaia Vintr

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Nov 16, 2000, 3:00:00 AM11/16/00
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I lack the patience and experience (or arrogance) to write real reviews.
Most of this consists of the notes I made to myself to ensure that my
ratings were consistent. Where the ratings don't seem to quite match my
comments, I guess I must have enjoyed (or failed to enjoy the game) for some
inexplicable reason to make up for the difference.


Stupid Kittens - 10
Great use of medium and clever, brilliant writing and story.
Extremely playable with no noticeable bugs.
I don't suppose there's much one can objectively say about it though...

Metamorphoses: 9
The way this fantasy world was justified and encapsulated gives it a
delicious atmosphere.
I wondered a lot about the character while playing the game -- why she
consented to being a slave
in this manner, how she felt about being sent on these quests by a master
too cowardly to perform
them himself, and I was a little disappointed that this wasn't answered for
me. Odd, that this
should be an issue in a game that is otherwise purely puzzles. No, it's not
fair to say
"purely puzzles". It's like a beautifully constructed toy whose aesthetic
qualities transcend
its frivolous purpose. If I were an executive I'd want this on my desk.

Threading the Labyrinth: 9
Innovative and well-written, but not very interactive.
The writing intrigued and inspired me. I know it's not for everyone but
it's exactly the sort
of thing I was hoping for -- interactive poetry.

Planet of the Infinite Minds: 9
I admit I enjoyed the original Illuminatus Trilogy. I would ordinarily have
no patience for derivative
works, but in this case the manner in which it has been turned into a game
is clever and interesting
enough that I can forgive the "genre". I found the section with the shapes
too much of a
pure puzzle, and (effectively) a maze to boot.

Guess The Verb!: 9
Cute, fun, great concept, well-written, in-jokey, lack of real story

Nevermore: 8
good story, playable, atmospheric, well-written, a bit cliche (alchemy
theme)

Letters from Home: 8
Fun concept, well-written, stupid puzzles, cliche (big English house with
old relatives
wandering around)

Got ID?: 8
Fairly good story, original, too dungeony, not so well written

The End Means Escape: 7
great beginning: worth a 9 or even 10
I loved the character development of the objects and their relationships and
the way you had to
learn about them and get their cooperation. But it degenerates into really
stupid puzzles. The word
rearranging one makes NO sense. Then manipulating people as objects and
ripping someone's
chest open -- that's just offensive. Then the maze -- just another dumb
unsatisfying puzzle with
no relevance to the story.

The Big Mama: 7
pretty good story, atmosphere, lack of much real interaction -- basically a
choose-your-own-
adventure

Shade: 7
well written, intriguing, original, not interactive enough. You basically
have to keep trying
until you do the right thing to trigger the story to move along.

Punk Points: 7
well written, playable, in the Infocom tradition. Not enough depth, too
simple.

My Angel: 7
well written, good story (I think), intriguing, original. Hard to interact
when you have no clue
what's going on. Doesn't really let you anyway. Unintuitive. The "novel"
format is really
hard to follow.

Transfer: 7
Great concept for an IF story and reasonable writing. I somehow managed to
miss the entrance to a certain
room and thus couldn't solve a puzzle near the beginning. Somewhat weak,
unoriginal story.
Not enough depth. Too puzzle-oriented for my taste.

Kaged: 6
well written, boring puzzles, story not that interesting

Unnkulia X: 6
well constructed but no story, just a stupid dungeon. Unoriginal (read
"rip-off").

Return to Zork: Another Story: 6
Well constructed but no story -- just a stupid dungeon. Unoriginal (read
"rip-off").

Masquerade (mask.z5): 6
well written. Well developed story (well researched?). Context has depth.
Story doesn't make any sense. Don't have enough knowledge to make decisions
for the character.
Got stupidly stuck in the carriage (what was the point of that room? Was it
supposed to be a
puzzle to type "out" instead of "Open door"?). Beating-you-over-the-head
feminist historical
fiction.

Being Andrew Plotkin: 6
Very funny, unless the parody's lost on you (I didn't get most of the actual
Andrew Plotkin references).
But JUST a parody. Not really interactive.

The Djinni Chronicles: 6
Good concept and story. Well written and executed. Not interactive enough.
You basically have
to keep trying until you do the right thing to trigger the story to move
along. You don't even
have to try that hard. Notes indicate that the idea isn't original, which
reduced my rating.

The Clock: 5
Somewhat original, interesting, not so well-written. Unintuitive. Not
enough depth/complexity.

Rameses: 5
Very well written. But you can't do anything for like the first fifty moves
while the story is fed at
you. I gave up. Maybe I'll wait for the book.

The Pickpocket: 4
interesting setting. Good as a puzzle-oriented game. Some "guess the
verb"s tripped me up and
I had to txd it. In one place something was too well hidden in a scenery
description.
Lack of coherent story.

And the Waves Choke the Wind:4
Arguably well-written. Tries to tell three stories at once and fails.
Degenerated into a
choose-your-own-adventure due to the branching plot. Unclear if it was a
full game or just a demo.

The Masque of the Last Faeries (masque.z5): 4
I think I just like fairies... and riddles. Intriguing but doesn't deliver.
The verse is annoying.
Incoherent story. Hard to play when you have no idea what's going on --
you're just directed to
perform these nonsensical actions. Stupid "search" puzzle with locket.

Dinner with Andre (dinner.z5): 4
Well written, but I didn't care enough about the character's stupid date to
bother much with the
puzzles.

Prodly the Puffin: 3
kind of fun in a perverse way. Not too difficult. Has the story and depth
of a four-panel comic
strip.

Enlisted: 3
It seems to think it's well written. Maybe it is, for the genre.
Unoriginal. Prodded along.
Too much to read without getting to do anything. Premise not engaging.

Desert Heat: 3
Arguably well-written. Arguably a good setting. A genuine "choose your own
adventure", with
associated flaws.

The Best Man: 1
OK, so you have X moves in which to acquire AND remove a coffee stain on
your jacket or else you
get shot by hijackers (on a train)? This is like Douglas Adams without the
humour or clever writing.
Eventually I played further but didn't find the puzzles particularly clever
or interesting.

At Wit's End: 3
At least it has a story. Feels unoriginal. I hate the "mini-puzzle,
several pages of text, mini-puzzle,
several more pages of text" format. It's like writing a novel and putting
crosswords between
the chapters. The puzzles, furthermore, were rather unintuitive and didn't
seem worth spending
time on. Somehow manages to ensure that you don't give a damn.

YAGWAD: 3
Arguably well-written. Unoriginal.

Happy Ever After: 2
Somewhat intriguing premise. Has my least favourite type of game flaw:
incorrect compass directions
in room descriptions! Weak/unoriginal premise/story.

Withdrawal Symptoms: 2
Had a story and a premise. Had one clever puzzle. Rest of puzzles were
either unintuitive or
boring. Game didn't really reward you for spending time on it (thankfully
it was short).
Extremely shallow. Can't think of anywhere more boring than a bank to spend
half an hour.

VOID: CORPORATION: 2
well-developed background story, pity it isn't reflected in the game. Bad
parser.
Weak story/premise.

The Trip: 2
Some of the writing's OK. Promised some sort of spiritual quest, but all you
got were stupid
puzzles. Getting the keys to a door so you can get the keys to another
door?!
And what does it have to do with the story? I got stuck, quit (without
saving), then realized
how much weed smoking I'd have to sit through if I restarted, so I didn't
bother. "Probably
would have been more fun if I had inhaled." <groan>

Futz Mutz: 2
Writing and execution seemed OK, for what it was. I got bored too soon to
find out if it actually
went anywhere.

Castle Amnos: 2
Playable, if you like that sort of thing. Frustrating guess-the-verb in the
first scene and I
gave up. Seemed like a weak premise anyway.

Ad Verbum: 2
Playable, if you like that sort of thing. Gratuitous dungeon, or is it a
dungeon parody?
It came across as too in-jokey. I need more motivation than that to play a
game.

Wrecked: 1
boring, cliche, weak premise, no story, poor parser

What-IF?: 1
Put it on your website, then maybe someone who cares will find it.

ON THE OTHER SIDE: 1
Interesting idea but very poorly executed. Translation probably didn't help
matters.
Should have (and could easily have) been done in a more portable format.

Marooned: 1
boring, cliche, weak premise, no story, poor parser

Jarod's Journey: 1
Barely even a choose-your-own-adventure. More like one of those children's
non-fiction books with
pictures and text captions scattered over two-page spreads.
Beating-you-over-the-head
historical christianity. A good story should let the reader come to his/her
own moral
concussions (or conclusions).

Comp00ter Game: 1
Is this a joke? I don't get it.

Breaking the Code: 1
Abuse of the contest. Whoever you are, you could at least have taken the
time to make it into
a simple game! If you really believed in the cause and had any respect for
the contest
you'd have done that.

Asendent: 1
Is this a joke? I don't get it.

Aftermath: 1
How many more things was I supposed to try to do with the dead bodies? I
looked at the
walkthrough. It didn't sound like much fun, so I gave up.

1-2-3...: 1
Completely gratuitous crime story. As linear fiction, why would anyone want
to read this?
(And it's not much more than linear fiction). Big mistake to throw the
player into
the head of a grotesque killer without providing context, psychological
insight... something!
Very shallow characters and settings. Not very interactive. Dialogue-based
stuff seems to have
flaws that make it unplayable. When you're just pushed through the story
like that you
shouldn't need a walkthrough, but I did.

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