[CONTEST] First impressions, Pt 1

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Stephen Granade

Nov 26, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/26/96

One of the most useful things someone once did for me was mail me their
initial impressions of one of my pieces of IF. It let me see what first
impression I was making, and pointed out several weaknesses I had
previously overlooked.

In this spirit, I offer comments on many of the contest games. As I
played the games, I jotted down impressions as they came to me. Many of
these impressions consist of no more than a sentence or two. Please note
that the impressions are not necessarily indicative of my final opinion or
ranking of a game. If any author is interested in my more in-depth
analysis of his/her game, he/she is welcome to email me about it.

In many of my comments, I mention the Huh-meter. The Huh-meter is a
device devised my Michael Self which measures the "huh-ness" of a puzzle.
If a puzzle makes no sense to me even after I've solved it, the Huh-meter
gives an accordingly high reading.

One final warning: as with Neil's and Chris' comments, don't read these
until your votes are finalized.

[spoiler space]

Kissing the Buddha's Feet: Oh, no, another college game. I like how one
of the NPCs follows me around, offering comments on EVERYTHING. There is
a _lot_ going on; distracting at times.

Tapestry [original version]: Quote boxes. Long sentences that ramble on.
Quote boxes threaten to become this year's use of footnotes. Interesting
story; almost no interaction.

Curse of Eldor: Cliched topic. Misspellings. Lackluster writing. I
can't use "verbose"?!? And where's the archivist the walkthrough tells me

Sir Ramic Hobbs & the Oriental Wok: Very funny narrator. Many pings from
the Huh-meter. I'm playing "guess the verb" in some cases.

The Meteor, the Stone, and a Long Glass of Sherbet: Reminds me in an
offhanded way of Kipling. Interesting idea. It feels too long for the
2-hr limit--I'm having to resort to hints early on. A few pings from the
Huh-meter, especially with regards to the culvert puzzle.

Phlegm: Bizarre, bizarre, bizarre. The puzzles score high on the
Huh-meter, but the whole thing is maniacally fun. The fact that nothing
is making sense makes sense to me.

Punkirita Quest One Liquid: Bad misspellings, hackneyed plot (save the
Omniverse from the evil mage). "Geod" for geode and wurse. I'm having
severe problems following the plot.

Piece of Mind: Some misspellings. An interesting feeling, controlling an
actor: it adds to a sense of detatchment. The game is pegging the
Huh-meter, although it gets bonus points for the +5 stone of copy

Wearing the Claw: _Another_ "save your village from the evil magician"
game. Tight game, very linear, but reasonable given the time constraint.

Fear: Interesting premise. Horror. Many of the puzzles trigger the
Huh-meter. I'm not making the connections the author obviously wants me
to--I don't follow how the different fears connect.

Of Forms Unknown: Allegorical; manipulate forms. Is this inspired by "So
Far?" [Ed. note: I discovered later that it was.] Amazingly nasty bug
kills the endgame. It's not capturing my imagination. It feels as dry as
the geometric forms which inhabit it.

In the End: Hm, a _story_ story. I notice that life doesn't save, but it
does keep score and count turns. Nice exploration/simulation, but I'm
unconvinced about the ending. I'm not involved enough to _believe_ what
I'm obviously supposed to do.

Ralph: I'm a dog. No, really, I'm a dog! Clever, clever. Brief fun,
very short.

Rippled Flesh: Stephen King's name is misspelled in the first quote box, a
bad sign. Indeed, the misspellings and grammar mistakes are overwhelming
my desire to continue.

Stephen Granade | "It takes character to withstand the
sgra...@phy.duke.edu | rigors of indolence."
Duke University, Physics Dept | -- from _The Madness of King George_

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