Adam's reviews (1/6): intro

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Adam Cadre

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Nov 15, 1999, 3:00:00 AM11/15/99
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It's past midnight on the east coast, so away we go!

Some reflections on Comp99 as a whole:

* This year's entrants have certainly *heard* of debugging -- a fair
number of them actually left the debugging *on* when they submitted
their games. (>PURLOIN ALL -- hey, I win!) But very few people seem
to have bothered to actually *do* any debugging. *Most* games, it
seemed, were crippled by bugs to some degree -- a few were flat-out
unplayable -- and even a number of the best games flipped out a bit
when the player deviated from the walkthrough.

* Sure, there were spelling errors aplenty, crashing bugs, paragraphs
gone tragically awry, non-openable doors -- locked doors are fine,
but "That's not something you can open" is an error unless you're
Andrew Plotkin (in which case, yes, it's deliberate.) But there was
one surface flaw that irked me above all others: inconsistent spacing.
There should be *one* blank line before the prompt, people. One.
Not zero; not two; not five; and certainly not zero, two and five at
various points in the same game.

* I was surprised that so many games still used points -- I'd figured
they were pretty much obsolete by now. Personally, I find them quite
distracting. Now, if you want to measure progress by other means
("Your blood pressure has just gone up."), or if you're using points
to comment on other games (as with BLISS, or Comp97's ZERO SUM GAME),
more power to you... but arbitrarily declaring that I just got 20
points for picking up the silver key is liable to make me wince.

Most of the reviews that follow aren't all that insightful. In many
cases, the review of a given game will just be a catalog of elements
that worked for me and elements that didn't. In others, the game will
just be a prompt for a short discussion of some aspect of IF which could
just as well fit into the above list of general observations. On the
bright side, most of the reviews are much longer than my reviews have
been in the past, so even though the meal isn't very good, at least the
portions aren't too small.

I've broken up the reviews by letter grade. Some may object to the
way the acreage is broken down, but it seemed to me that reserving
1/3 of the point spread for games I really enjoyed is, if anything,
too little space to devote. The fact that I only really liked four
games and that they consequently have lots of room to swim around in
is hardly my fault, is it?

A+ = high 10 A = 10 A- = low 7 to low 10
B+ = low 6 to high 6 B = low 5 to high 5 B- = low 4 to high 4
C+ = high 3 C = 3 C- = low 3
D+ = high 2 D = 2 D- = low 2
F+ = high 1 F = low 1 to 1

-----
Adam Cadre, Sammamish, WA
http://adamcadre.ac

Elise Stone

unread,
Nov 16, 1999, 3:00:00 AM11/16/99
to
Adam Cadre wrote:

> * This year's entrants have certainly *heard* of debugging -- a fair
> number of them actually left the debugging *on* when they submitted
> their games. (>PURLOIN ALL -- hey, I win!) But very few people seem
> to have bothered to actually *do* any debugging. *Most* games, it
> seemed, were crippled by bugs to some degree -- a few were flat-out
> unplayable -- and even a number of the best games flipped out a bit
> when the player deviated from the walkthrough.

Agreed. This is the first year I've played the competition games (like many,
I'm returning to IF after a long absence) and I was disappointed in the
number of bugs. I would have thought that games entered in a competition
would have been more thoroughly tested. Sometimes I felt like I was playing
the 1999 beta test.

> * I was surprised that so many games still used points -- I'd figured
> they were pretty much obsolete by now. Personally, I find them quite
> distracting. Now, if you want to measure progress by other means
> ("Your blood pressure has just gone up."), or if you're using points
> to comment on other games (as with BLISS, or Comp97's ZERO SUM GAME),
> more power to you... but arbitrarily declaring that I just got 20
> points for picking up the silver key is liable to make me wince.

Funny. I was surprised at how many games _didn't_ use scoring. I actually
like the feedback scoring gives you. :::shrug::: Different strokes for
different folks.

--
Elise Stone (mxw...@attglobal.net)

"And the sea will grant each man new hope, as sleep
brings dreams of home." - Christopher Columbus

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