The Lord High Executioner's Reviews: Our Experiments With I-F

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Quentin.D.Thompson

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Nov 21, 1999, 3:00:00 AM11/21/99
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[These reviews contain spoilers.] A MOMENT OF HOPE: All right, I know I'll
get slammed for this, but there was just a whiff of So Far about this game,
with Anna hanging over the PC's head like a certain So Far NPC. I liked the
fact that you could type 'x anna' and get a good reply even when there wasn't
an Anna NPC in the game. (Did anyone realize that 'Juliet' was implemented as
a synonym for 'Anna'? Strange.) I was prepared, quite frankly, to scoff at
this game after reading the blurb, but the minute I fired it up, I was
converted. As most of you who've read my posts know, I'm not a very emotional
I-F author, and I was impressed by this game's ability to, well, move me.
That doesn't detract from the fact that the story is hackeneyed, but I added
a whole lot of extra points for the Lynx reference. Using my modified
C.E.Forman objectivity scale, this game scored a 7; subjectively, it earned a
high 8 or a 9. (It was one of my three Miss Congeniality nominees.)

LOMALOW: See, I'm conventional. When I type 'unlock door' I expect 'What do
you want to unlock the door with?', not a blank line. Also, the story seems
to meander on a bit, and then go for broke in a large explosion towards the
end, which was rather jarring. Still, the idea was novel. My objective scale
scored it 4, but I'll give it a 7 for intentions.

LIFE ON BEAL STREET: Why, oh why, did it have to be Ian Finley? One reviewer
said he submitted it as a joke, but frankly I was really disappointed when I
found out who wrote it: I thought it was by a new author who had Photopia in
one cerebral hemisphere and Human Resources Stories in the other. It had all
the vices of the latter, none of the virtues of the former, and it wasn't
I-F. If I wanted to play a game typing just 1 and 2, I'd dig out "Rapture" or
any of those other corny GAGS games.

JACKS OR BETTER TO MURDER, ACES TO WIN: Why do I put this in this category?
For a laugh. The idea is good, and as someone who often has to edit and
proofread minutes of Human Rights conferences, Synods and the like, I can't
tell you how much I enjoyed the "duckspeaker" in the first scene and his
double-talk. The puzzles were hard, but that's my failing and not yours.
Also, I like intrigue games, and at least I didn't end up tortured at the
stake for eight days at the end. Nice going.

REMEMBERANCE: An experiment in form if not in content; a text adventure
written using HTML and Javascript. Since, like the protagonist of "Hope", I
use Lynx as first-line browser, I wasn't able to play this online so I
downloaded the source code. Almost every situation was a guess-the-verb, but
the writing was good. A solid effort. I'd be interested in a more
conventional (Inform, TADS, Hugo, etc.) game by the same author.

SIX STORIES: Another ambitious experiment: a multimedia text adventure. See,
Neil, this isn't your fault, but I run a flippin' 486 that has trouble even
running Windows 95. The game was really user-friendly; it had probably the
best parser responsiveness in the Comp; but the screen redraws got to me.
They really did. And I'm a text buff anyway, but objectively I scored this at
8.

More to come......


Sent via Deja.com http://www.deja.com/
Before you buy.

IF

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Nov 21, 1999, 3:00:00 AM11/21/99
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Quentin.D.Thompson wrote:

> LIFE ON BEAL STREET: Why, oh why, did it have to be Ian Finley? One reviewer
> said he submitted it as a joke, but frankly I was really disappointed when I
> found out who wrote it: I thought it was by a new author who had Photopia in
> one cerebral hemisphere and Human Resources Stories in the other. It had all
> the vices of the latter, none of the virtues of the former, and it wasn't
> I-F. If I wanted to play a game typing just 1 and 2, I'd dig out "Rapture" or
> any of those other corny GAGS games.

It was a joke. Perhaps not a good one, but a joke nonetheless. Your
parallels are completely accurate. But I think it was Lucian Smith, my wonderful

tester who put it best: Refering to the mention of the "a butterfly flaps it's
wings in China..." line in the ABOUT text he said "The butterfly flapped its
wings 780 different ways, which changed the intensity, exact time, and duration
of rain in Chicago, but all anyone remembers is that they got wet." Was I going
to far in doing this? Maybe, but I think some interesting posts and discussions
have originated because of it, so that's justification enough.

Ian Finley


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