[Comp 99] Doe's Reviews, Pt. I

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Marnie Parker

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Nov 16, 1999, 3:00:00 AM11/16/99
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EXPLANATION OF MY RATING SYSTEM

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I evolved a scoring system last year (or the one before) that works for me. The
four P's: Programming, Prose, Plot and Puzzles. This way I can also focus on
an author's relative strengths and make relevant comments on each "part" of
a game.

The maximum possible in each category is ten. Adding up the subtotals from
each and dividing by four can yield a rating of 1-10. Fractions of .5 and
above are rounded up (8.5 = 9), fractions below are rounded down (8.25 = 8).

Just for fun, and because Luc French is an on-line friend, this year I also
added a bonus point for any game that also included a giant flaming head.

Also this year, in most instances my reviews are just a few sentences or
a short paragraph. Unless I have something specific to expound further upon.

I am not a great writer, not very good (or experienced) at literary criticism
and feel my reviews have added little to the mix in the past.

But authors need feedback. So I have also made more detailed comments in
the rating section of each review, explaining my reasons for each "P" category
subtotal. Hopefully, those will be of some use to this year's contestants.

Unfortunately, I got distracted by real life and only ended up playing 25
games.
I also did not have time to review all the games I played. Reviewed games have
an asterisk. I am finishing up a few more and will post them this weekend.
Maybe I can find time then to write even more, but it's doubtful.

Thank you, entrants, for a lot of games to play!

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Summary of ratings first. Reviews second.

Games are listed alphabetically as they appear in my summary of ratings list.

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RATINGS

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I awarded no 1s, 2s or 3s. I felt most games fell in the mid-range. A definite
improvement from previous years, but made it harder to select clear "winners".

10 - Hunter *
9 - Moment *
Soft
Winter
8 - Bliss
Change *
Jacks *
7 - Arthur *
Calliope *
Death *
Only
Wossname *
6 - Banana *
Beat
Farm *
Music
Six *
5 - Chix *
Exhibit
Halo *
Snowsnae
Stranger
4 - Outsided
Lomalow *
Ludite *

Unrated/Unreviewed: Beal (see reviews for explanation), Guard and Waterbird
(tried Guard and it looped endless, heard of Waterbird bug and didn't even
try).

Others I didn't have a chance to either get to or play enough of to judge.

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REVIEWS

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********* Reviews contain no actual spoilers. **********

Overall Comment: Spacing seemed to be a problem with many games. Minor
point, maybe. But as with a poorly printed flyer or newspaper it often made
reading harder. Or it was an annoying distraction, if nothing else. I prefer
blank lines between paragraphs (as in books) and one before the prompt,
otherwise the screen doesn't "flow" and I feel "crowded".

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King Arthur's Night Out - Alan (7)

Cute game. For some reason, I think of the "7" category being for games I found
fun and enjoyable, but not outstanding. It is their humor that raises them
above average, even if their lack of complexity in programming/plot doesn't.

Programming : 8 Fine, not a lot of implementation, but I found no bugs.
Prose : 8 Brief, the directions could have been worked into the
room descriptions in a subtler way, but the Queen's responses
and King's reactions to her were amusing. I smiled.
Plot : 7 Bare bones simple, get out to have a night on the town. Short
game could have had more, I wanted more, but motivation was
clear and very believable considering Queen's hen pecking.
Puzzles : 5 Puzzles were logical, but for some reason I still had to
resort to the walkthru. There were some subtle hints in
object descriptions, however, I obviously could have used a
few more. But I look forward to future games by this author.
Flaming Head : 1 Loved the snuck-in flaming head.
__
29 / 4 = 7.25 = 7

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A Moment - TADS (9)

Kept me interested from start to finish and that's saying something.

Programming : 10 Technically, excellent. Impressive the way the story
progresses even when the player does various things, but
also still gives responses for those differing actions.
Prose : 9 The best part. Emotions believable, if a bit overwrought.
Plot : 7 Boy gets girl, boy loses girl, sort of. Although a basic
plot,
one of the ones that usually grabs most of us the most. Nice
interweaving of scenes which still carry the plot along. But
angst overdone, kept wanting to tell protagonist to have
more self-confidence and there are "other fish in the sea".
Puzzles : 9 Best part, almost puzzleless if, one of the few pieces I
think
really works. Although the player can manipulate objects and
move around, so it doesn't lack interactivity. I especially
liked the way in the beginning new objects appeared with
each relook. However, I also would have liked the clock to
have finally shown the time. Because it didn't, I waited a
tad longer than I needed to. Otherwise, almost flawless.
Flaming Head : 0 Bonus point.
__
35 / 8.5 = 9


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