Chart News: So Far rockets to #8! Jigsaw returns.

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Julian Arnold

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Jul 21, 1996, 3:00:00 AM7/21/96
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In article <4stm9p$h...@news.ccit.arizona.edu>, Santiago
<mailto:a...@gas.uug.arizona.edu> wrote:
>
> So Far by Andrew Plotkin shot to #8 from #28 on the Download Top
> 40 Games this week, after a plot to unseat Quake from #1 was revealed.

<hysterical laughter> Yay, we did it (almost)!

(Now everyone vote again next week.)

Jools


Santiago

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Jul 21, 1996, 3:00:00 AM7/21/96
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So Far by Andrew Plotkin shot to #8 from #28 on the Download Top
40 Games this week, after a plot to unseat Quake from #1 was revealed.
Quake still has a comfortable lead with 1689 points to So Far's 168
points. So Far is probably the first interactive fiction game to reach the
Top 10. Jigsaw by Graham Nelson returned to the charts with a vengence
appearing at #34.
Thousands of game players vote every week to determine the
Download Top 40 Games and the Commercial Top 100 Games. Everyone is
welcome to vote! Voting on the Games Charts has become fairly simple. We
have an automated voting booth at:
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Santiago's Download Top 40 Games Page is the World Charts official
Download Top 40 Games site. I maintain links to ftp sites devoted to all
the Interactive Fiction games on the Download Top 40 Charts. Looking for
the best games? Go to my page:
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-- Santiago (a.k.a. Arthur Kerschen)
a...@gas.uug.arizona.edu
Editor, World Charts Download Top 40 Games
http://www.tiac.net/users/top100/pcgames.html
Manager, Santiago's Download Top 40 Page
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Susan

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Jul 21, 1996, 3:00:00 AM7/21/96
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>> So Far by Andrew Plotkin shot to #8 from #28 on the Download Top
>> 40 Games this week, after a plot to unseat Quake from #1 was revealed.
>
><hysterical laughter> Yay, we did it (almost)!
>
>(Now everyone vote again next week.)

I did, or I will. In all fairness I haven't played a text game
in some time. I found _Far Side_ "brutal" (I think this was the
author's words) in difficulty. Most of the puzzles were fascinating
and some were very hard for me. I found the game in general "weird"
though. If "weird" is a good description it might warrant everyone
playing it and it rising as far as it can go on the charts.

I wonder if its author didn't have a lot of fun writing the i-f
just as a tease for his real entry in the contest?

* Susan * <Sus...@ix.netcom.com>

Andrew C. Plotkin

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Jul 21, 1996, 3:00:00 AM7/21/96
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a...@gas.uug.arizona.edu (Santiago) writes:
> So Far by Andrew Plotkin shot to #8 from #28 on the Download Top
> 40 Games this week, after a plot to unseat Quake from #1 was revealed.

Holy blinking cursors, Zipman!

> Quake still has a comfortable lead with 1689 points to So Far's 168
> points.

Ok, no problem. Everybody send mail to ten random email addresses,
saying that they should send you $5 and vote for So Far and then
resend the message to ten more email addresses...

--Z

PS: *I'm kidding.*

PPS: Seriously: Thanks all.

"And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the borogoves..."

Susan

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Jul 21, 1996, 3:00:00 AM7/21/96
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>Holy blinking cursors, Zipman!

>PPS: Seriously: Thanks all.

Hey Andrew, what are you going to do for the contest? Was _So
Far_ your warmup exercises? :)

* Susan * <Sus...@ix.netcom.com>

Neil K. Guy

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Jul 22, 1996, 3:00:00 AM7/22/96
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Andrew C. Plotkin (erky...@CMU.EDU) wrote:

: _So Far_ took me six months to write; the contest entry was a couple
: of weekends.

Out of curiosity, and if you don't mind me asking, how many hours a
day/week do you think you put into So Far during that six month period?

- Neil K.

--
Neil K. Guy * n...@vcn.bc.ca * n...@tela.bc.ca
49N 16' 123W 7' * Vancouver, BC, Canada

John Holder

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Jul 22, 1996, 3:00:00 AM7/22/96
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Andrew C. Plotkin (erky...@CMU.EDU) wrote:
: Here's my notes on this subject:

: Merciful: cannot get stuck
: Polite: can get stuck or die, but it's
: immediately obvious that you're stuck or dead
: Tough: can get stuck, but it's
: immediately obvious that you're about to do something irrevocable
: Nasty: can get stuck, but when you do something irrevocable, it's
: clear
: Cruel: can get stuck by doing something which isn't obviously
: irrevocable (even after the act)

Well, there we have it. I propose that authors voluntarily
give their games a "Z Rating" that will match this scale... ;)

--
John Holder (jho...@frii.com) http://www.frii.com/~jholder/
UNIX Specialist, Paranet Inc., Denver, Colorado, USA, Earth
Death is just God's way of dropping carrier detect...

Admiral Jota

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Jul 22, 1996, 3:00:00 AM7/22/96
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Sus...@ix.netcom.com (Susan) writes:

> I did, or I will. In all fairness I haven't played a text game
>in some time. I found _Far Side_ "brutal" (I think this was the
>author's words) in difficulty. Most of the puzzles were fascinating
>and some were very hard for me. I found the game in general "weird"
>though. If "weird" is a good description it might warrant everyone
>playing it and it rising as far as it can go on the charts.

Huh? Is Gary Larson writing IF nowadays?

[I'm sorry, but I had to say it... :) ]

[Although that would be a good use of his time, now that he's retired]

--
/<-= -=-=- -= Admiral Jota =- -=-=- =->\
__/><-=- http://www.tiac.net/users/jota/ =-><\__
\><-= jo...@mv.mv.com -- Finger for PGP =-></
\<-=- -= -=- -= -==- =- -=- =- -=->/

Andrew C. Plotkin

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Jul 22, 1996, 3:00:00 AM7/22/96
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Sus...@ix.netcom.com (Susan) writes:
> I did, or I will. In all fairness I haven't played a text game
> in some time. I found _Far Side_ "brutal" (I think this was the
> author's words) in difficulty.

"Cruel" was the word I used, but actually I wasn't referring to the
difficulty. I was referring to, well, the cruelty rating. Or
forgiveness rating, for those who like their glasses half-full.

Here's my notes on this subject:

Merciful: cannot get stuck
Polite: can get stuck or die, but it's
immediately obvious that you're stuck or dead
Tough: can get stuck, but it's
immediately obvious that you're about to do something irrevocable
Nasty: can get stuck, but when you do something irrevocable, it's
clear
Cruel: can get stuck by doing something which isn't obviously
irrevocable (even after the act)

> I wonder if its author didn't have a lot of fun writing the i-f


> just as a tease for his real entry in the contest?

Actually, I wrote my contest entry as a break from writing _So Far_.


_So Far_ took me six months to write; the contest entry was a couple
of weekends.

--Z

Andrew C. Plotkin

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Jul 22, 1996, 3:00:00 AM7/22/96
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n...@vcn.bc.ca (Neil K. Guy) writes:
> Andrew C. Plotkin (erky...@CMU.EDU) wrote:
>
> : _So Far_ took me six months to write; the contest entry was a couple
> : of weekends.
>
> Out of curiosity, and if you don't mind me asking, how many hours a
> day/week do you think you put into So Far during that six month period?

I did my best to work every day. That probably works out to working
four or five days a week, say two hours a day. More on weekends, less
on weekdays -- it's hard to judge now, but ten hours a week sounds
right. I put in a lot of all-evening weekend sessions, so it could be
closer to fifteen hours a week, but then I could be deluding myself
about how consistently I worked.

Less after it went into beta-testing in late April. The bulk of the
game was written in more like four months, from December to April.

Fred Michael Sloniker

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Jul 26, 1996, 3:00:00 AM7/26/96
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Trevor Barrie <tba...@cycor.ca> wrote:

>"Andrew C. Plotkin" <erky...@CMU.EDU> wrote:
>
>>Merciful: cannot get stuck
>>Polite: can get stuck or die, but it's
>> immediately obvious that you're stuck or dead
>>Tough: can get stuck, but it's
>> immediately obvious that you're about to do something irrevocable
>>Nasty: can get stuck, but when you do something irrevocable, it's
>> clear
>>Cruel: can get stuck by doing something which isn't obviously
>> irrevocable (even after the act)
>

>I don't see what the difference between any of the middle three are.
>Could you elaborate?

I'm not Andrew, but I think I can:

Merciful:

There is a large button on the wall, with a sign above it that says
'Inorganic Vaporizer Ray'. When you try to push it, the game says
something like 'You'd better not. You'd lose that nifty pocket
screwdriver'.

Polite:

There is a large button on the wall, with a sign above it that says
'Inorganic Vaporizer Ray'. When you push it, all your stuff gets
vaporized, including your clothing, and you die of shame.

Tough:

The same as above, only you don't die, you just have the horrible
feeling that the pocket screwdriver that got vaporized was important
to your quest.

Nasty:

The same as Tough, only there's no sign: you push the button and all
your stuff gets vaporized.

Cruel:

The same as Nasty, only you just hear a humming noise when you push
the button. Then, fifty turns later, you type 'inventory'... "Hey,
where's all my stuff?"

---Fred M. Sloniker, stressed undergrad
http://weber.u.washington.edu/~lazuli/
laz...@u.washington.edu

Fred's Sixth Law: The one thing you're not paying attention to is the
one thing you should be.

Trevor Barrie

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Jul 26, 1996, 3:00:00 AM7/26/96
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John Holder

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Jul 27, 1996, 3:00:00 AM7/27/96
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Trevor Barrie (tba...@cycor.ca) wrote:

Merciful:
>THROW GUN OFF CLIFF

As you pull your arm back to throw the gun off of the cliff, your
better judgement kicks in - you know you will need the gun to
convict Joe's killer, so you tuck it safely back into your belt.

Polite:
>THROW GUN OFF CLIFF

Are you sure?

>YES

Throwing caution to the wind, you throw the gun off of the cliff and
into the great chasm below. (You also have lost you best clue for
convicting Joe's murderer! Whoops!)

Tough:
>THROW GUN OFF CLIFF

Throwing caution to the wind, you throw the gun off of the cliff and
into the great chasm below. (You also have lost you best clue for
convicting Joe's murderer! Whoops!)

Nasty:
>THROW GUN OFF CLIFF

Throwing caution to the wind, you throw the gun off of the cliff and
into the great chasm below.

Cruel:
>THROW GUN OFF CLIFF

You throw the gun off of the cliff and into the great chasm below.

Andrew C. Plotkin

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Jul 27, 1996, 3:00:00 AM7/27/96
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laz...@u.washington.edu (Fred Michael Sloniker) writes:
> >
> >>Merciful: cannot get stuck
> >>Polite: can get stuck or die, but it's
> >> immediately obvious that you're stuck or dead
> >>Tough: can get stuck, but it's
> >> immediately obvious that you're about to do something irrevocable
> >>Nasty: can get stuck, but when you do something irrevocable, it's
> >> clear
> >>Cruel: can get stuck by doing something which isn't obviously
> >> irrevocable (even after the act)
> >
> Merciful:
>
> There is a large button on the wall, with a sign above it that says
> 'Inorganic Vaporizer Ray'. When you try to push it, the game says
> something like 'You'd better not. You'd lose that nifty pocket
> screwdriver'.
>
> Polite:
>
> There is a large button on the wall, with a sign above it that says
> 'Inorganic Vaporizer Ray'. When you push it, all your stuff gets
> vaporized, including your clothing, and you die of shame.
>
> Tough:
>
> The same as above, only you don't die, you just have the horrible
> feeling that the pocket screwdriver that got vaporized was important
> to your quest.

I would label this "Polite"; you made a mistake, and it was
immediately obvious that you can no longer win the game.

> Nasty:
>
> The same as Tough, only there's no sign: you push the button and all
> your stuff gets vaporized.

Right. Tough is where there's a warning sign, so that it's clear that
pushing the button may kill you or screw you over.

> Cruel:
>
> The same as Nasty, only you just hear a humming noise when you push
> the button. Then, fifty turns later, you type 'inventory'... "Hey,
> where's all my stuff?"

Right.

Perhaps a better derivation would be:

Merciful: You only ever need one save file, and that only if you want to
turn the computer off and go to sleep. You never need to restore to an
earlier game.
Polite: You only need one save game, because if you do something
fatally wrong, it's blatantly obvious and you'll *know* better than to
save afterwards.
Tough: There are things you can do which you'll have to save before
doing. But you'll think "Ah, I'd better save before I do this."
Nasty: There are things you can do which you'll have to save before
doing. After you do one, you'll think "Oh, bugger, I should have saved
before I did that."
Cruel: You think "I should have saved back in the third room. Now I'll
have to start over."

Bryan Durall

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Jul 29, 1996, 3:00:00 AM7/29/96
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Andrew C. Plotkin(erky...@CMU.EDU) wrote:
(deletia)

>
> Here's my notes on this subject:
>
> Merciful: cannot get stuck
> Polite: can get stuck or die, but it's
> immediately obvious that you're stuck or dead
> Tough: can get stuck, but it's
> immediately obvious that you're about to do something irrevocable
> Nasty: can get stuck, but when you do something irrevocable, it's
> clear
> Cruel: can get stuck by doing something which isn't obviously
> irrevocable (even after the act)
>

Is this rating completely fair? By this logic, _Enchanter_ is cruel.
(Minor spoilers for Enchanter follow.)


How many people frotzed themselves, and got incredibly stuck because
they couldn't find ozmoo? Or am I the only moron out here? :)
--
Bryan Durall | dur...@ewl.uky.edu, dur...@cslab.uky.edu, dur...@mik.uky.edu
"Na, na na na-na-na-na, na-na-na naaaa, hey Jude..."
- The Beatles, 1968

Andrew C. Plotkin

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Jul 29, 1996, 3:00:00 AM7/29/96
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dur...@ewl.uky.edu (Bryan Durall) writes:
> Andrew C. Plotkin(erky...@CMU.EDU) wrote:
> (deletia)
> >
> > Here's my notes on this subject:
> >
> > Merciful: cannot get stuck
> > Polite: can get stuck or die, but it's
> > immediately obvious that you're stuck or dead
> > Tough: can get stuck, but it's
> > immediately obvious that you're about to do something irrevocable
> > Nasty: can get stuck, but when you do something irrevocable, it's
> > clear
> > Cruel: can get stuck by doing something which isn't obviously
> > irrevocable (even after the act)
> >
>
> Is this rating completely fair? By this logic, _Enchanter_ is cruel.

That's certainly how I would rate it.

Remember, *this system does not measure difficulty.* It measures a
different, and hopefully more objective, quality -- how much saving
and undo-ing is necessary to finish a game.

(Not totally objective, because we can disagree about what is
"obviously" irrevocable. Some people may think it sensible to save
before walking into the big black temple full of evil chanting; others
may be shocked when they get killed inside.)

Trevor Barrie

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Jul 29, 1996, 3:00:00 AM7/29/96
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"Andrew C. Plotkin" <erky...@CMU.EDU> wrote:

>Merciful: You only ever need one save file, and that only if you want to
>turn the computer off and go to sleep. You never need to restore to an
>earlier game.

But "merciful" sounds so weak... I'd call this "reasonable" or "fair",
but maybe my bias is showing.:)


Jason Compton

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Jul 29, 1996, 3:00:00 AM7/29/96
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Trevor Barrie (tba...@cycor.ca) wrote:

That's to make Andrew feel better about what he does to game players. :)

--
Jason Compton jcom...@xnet.com
Editor-in-Chief, Amiga Report Magazine (847) 741-0689 FAX
Dirty old mountain all covered in smoke. Better start doing it right.
AR on Aminet - docs/mags/ar???.lha AR Mailing list - Mail me
WWW - http://www.omnipresence.com/Amiga/News/AR, www.cucug.org/ar/ar.html

Brad O`Donnell

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Jul 30, 1996, 3:00:00 AM7/30/96
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Andrew C. Plotkin wrote:

> (Not totally objective, because we can disagree about what is
> "obviously" irrevocable. Some people may think it sensible to save
> before walking into the big black temple full of evil chanting; others
> may be shocked when they get killed inside.)

Evil chanting would entice me to enter a location in a game, it makes

the location sound more interesting.


Brad O'Donnell

Dave Robertson

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Aug 1, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/1/96
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In article <8lyOQ1m00...@andrew.cmu.edu>, "Andrew C. Plotkin"
<erky...@CMU.EDU> wrote:


>
> Perhaps a better derivation would be:
>

> Merciful: You only ever need one save file, and that only if you want to
> turn the computer off and go to sleep. You never need to restore to an
> earlier game.

> Polite: You only need one save game, because if you do something
> fatally wrong, it's blatantly obvious and you'll *know* better than to
> save afterwards.
> Tough: There are things you can do which you'll have to save before
> doing. But you'll think "Ah, I'd better save before I do this."
> Nasty: There are things you can do which you'll have to save before
> doing. After you do one, you'll think "Oh, bugger, I should have saved
> before I did that."
> Cruel: You think "I should have saved back in the third room. Now I'll
> have to start over."
>

I'd like to suggest

Real Life: There is no facility to save.

-Dave

Andrew Plotkin

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Aug 3, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/3/96
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One can't argue with that. Although I've only ever played one game in
that category -- the one set in Australia, I forget the title -- and I
gave up on it almost immediately.

--Z
--

Nudnick T. Furd

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Aug 4, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/4/96
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Andrew Plotkin (erky...@netcom.com) wrote:
: Dave Robertson (sa...@cs.otago.ac.nz) wrote:

: > I'd like to suggest


: >
: > Real Life: There is no facility to save.

: One can't argue with that. Although I've only ever played one game in
: that category -- the one set in Australia, I forget the title -- and I
: gave up on it almost immediately.

Any text game without a save function would be damn near unplayable.
The argument that a save function detracts from the realism of a game
is ridiculous, because an equally unrealistic trait of every text
game I've ever played is the tendency for a single, seemingly
inconsequential action to render the game unwinnable. By contrast,the
chances are that throwing out a Coke can would not ruin one's life.

tony.

Trevor Barrie

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Aug 12, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/12/96
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adca...@unix.amherst.edu (Nudnick T. Furd) wrote:

>Any text game without a save function would be damn near unplayable.

True.

>The argument that a save function detracts from the realism of a game
>is ridiculous, because an equally unrealistic trait of every text
>game I've ever played is the tendency for a single, seemingly
>inconsequential action to render the game unwinnable.

Heck, just being born renders real life "unwinnable".:)

Seriously, this makes no sense. How does the existence of an equally
unrealistic facet make the former argument "ridiculous"? How do the two
relate at all? (To say nothing of the fact that the trait you list is, IMO,
a sign of poor writing/design, not a feature of the game per se.)


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