DJW's IntroComp 06 reviews2006

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Wana...@gmail.com

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Aug 5, 2006, 12:05:10 AM8/5/06
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2006 IntroComp Reviews:

I guess since the official judging period is over it's ok to post these
now?

Just impressions and thoughts I wrote down while playing. All the
games had something to like about them (harder to find in some), and
may the best one win.

[------------------------------------------------------]

Child's Play, Stephen Granade

First impression of this game: It was written by someone who has
horrible grammar. Then I realized it was supposed to be an infant
talking, and wondered why the infant sounded like a teenager with a
sub-70 IQ.

My God, I almost quit when I read:

"This is oppressive, you are being held down by the man."

I can appreciate a game that wants me to play as a baby, but when you
pretend that the baby is smart enough to use words like oppressive, yet
too stupid to use proper punctuation, I just get annoyed.

The puzzles worked for me. Everything was implemented well, and I
didn't have to guess verbs.

The ending actually left me wanting more. The promise of a feud with a
little girl sounds good.

Despite the early bad taste in my mouth, Child's Play turned out all
right after all. Hey Stephen - Bring it on.

[------------------------------------------------------]

Mechs, Allan Crain

Salvageable was spelled wrong.

This might be interesting. I'm a robot that has no clue what the heck
I'm supposed to do, except that I can't disobey orders and the only
place I can go involves typing "XYZZY." It doesn't help that the
descriptions are all technical jargon type things that I don't know how
to interact with.

While I'm "XYZZY'd" I examine the screen: You can see a James Garcia -
is there more than one?

I was able to switch one of my arms on but I'm unable to do anything
with it so I don't see what the point is. I tried, but needed more
direction. Don't really feel like playing more. If I had a bit more
background information on the abilities of my robot and how to use
them, I'd be more inclined to try harder.

[------------------------------------------------------]

Sabotage!, Felix Plesoianu

Space IF.

X ME produces the standard response with an added "How else?" If
you're not too lazy to alter the standard response, give me something
more.

I'm told all I can concentrate on is the bathroom and space. After I
enter the bathroom and leave, suddenly a computer is ready for me to
use it.

The computer greets me as Agent Carter.

> ASK COMPUTER ABOUT AGENT CARTER
(Rokra's main computer about that)
"There is nothing special about that."

Gee, thanks!

The captain locks his cabin when he's not around, which "Really makes
me think." Maybe Earth dwellers in 2150 aren't obsessed with security,
and people who want to protect their belongings are considered kooks.

I'm told that the escape pods are something I will not need to refer to
in the course of the game. That's a relief!

I resort to the walkthrough. One of the walkthrough commands gives me
the response, "That's not something you need to refer to in the course
of this game." Thankfully it's optional, but that's one thing I don't
want to have to type.

The room descriptions just bugged me, since I never knew where the
exits were. Overall a half-decent effort, with a weak story and
limited implementation of descriptions. Wasn't really too interested
in what happens next.

[------------------------------------------------------]

Nothing But Mazes, Greg Boettcher

I had serious reservations about even playing a game called "Nothing
But Mazes."

For some reason I'm sleeping or unconscious but "Eventually you wake up
enough to understand that you are awake." Unfortunately I'm too
disoriented to know who I am.

Ah, i'm in a coffin. The old "thought you were dead so we buried you."
But no! I signed up to be frozen and now I've been brought back.
Weren't there like 3 of these in the last IFComp? Oh well.

Suddenly, a hand-drawn kermit the frog appears before me! More screens
appear with nice pictures, and then I'm thrown into a room with two
frog guards, and start being interrogated by two intellectual frogs,
one of whom is a "Professor of Interactive Fiction."

Conversation is handled through a choice menu system, and it seems that
once I ask one question, the others are left for another play through.

Seems these aliens regard IF as the highest form of art, and wrote a
game, and since I'm interested in IF, and have first hand knowledge of
Earth's "Golden Age of IF," I'm the perfect Beta Tester. Turns out the
froggies like IF with lots of mazes....very funny, only their IF game
is real, and has tons of Insta-Death rooms, and if you die in the game,
they kill you.

Seems like there was a lot of setting up the story before I actually
got to do anything, which made me a bit impatient.

Meh, I hate "entering computers and fiddling with programs" just
because it's so hard to figure out what to do with all of them.
Thankfully my cell mates are helpful and i eventually figure out what
to do.

I liked the hand-drawn graphics, and the story was humorous. Hopefully
I don't have to go through a bunch of mazes in the final. I would like
to see how this one ends.

[------------------------------------------------------]

Southern Gothic, Mordechai Shinefield

Apparently I'm afflicted with OCD, since I refuse to pick up a china
cup that I spent hours deciding where to put. I'm not too Monk-like
though, since I crawl through an open window with no problems.

Oh, I'm on a stage. Maybe that's why I don't want to move the scenery.

I'm told that the piano bench looks curious, but attempts to examine it
are unsuccessful because I "can't see any such thing." I'm reminded
about the piano bench again, so I guess it's important. Maybe I should
try finding it, after I examine the water cooler. Oh, I see nothing
special about it. Back to my piano bench search. It's on the stage,
and its locked. I have to find a key. Another prompting says mom told
me it was hidden in the antiques. Since I don't see any antiques in
the theatre, and I'm forbidden from leaving, I guess I'll have to try
another course of action.

I type "SIT" by the couch:

(on the clothes)
They're not something you can sit down on.

Lots of things are not given descriptions, which is annoying. I can't
leave the auditorium until I finish preparing for the show. I turn the
lights and music off, which is about my only option, and I still can't
leave. The music has stopped and the stage is dark, but I can't do
anything else.

I can go south and down from the auditorium forever. Interesting.

Apparently the cannon is important, from the before-game quote, but I
can't fire or load it so I guess I'm stuck.

After trying to interact with everything again, including the water
cooler ("There's nothing suitable to drink here.) I'm forced to give
up. I might be interested in seeing more if more objects had
descriptions and I knew more about how to prepare for the show.

[------------------------------------------------------]

The Art of Deception, she's long gone

The opening menu seems a bit screwed up.

Ah, a Bond-esque game with good writing and different difficulty
levels. I choose Ghost, and supposedly this will let me take any action
I want, even ones that will put me in an unwinnable state. Cool.

I arm my explosives and blow myself up. So much for that! Let's try
again. This time on Rookie, so I don't spend time doing something
stupid.

"JUMP OUT WINDOW" doesn't work, but "GO OUT WINDOW" does. Thankfully I
learned that before I died again.

There's gotta be more to this...I've already reached the end? It was
fun while it lasted, anyway, and I killed quite a few people, including
my partner. Can't wait to play the whole game. Certainly has a lot of
promise.

[------------------------------------------------------]

Unyielding Fury, Michael Pruitt

Pretty cool set up, until I type X ME and get the good ol' "As
good-looking as ever."

This has to be a joke. I wander around and get lost and go in circles.
I move in all sorts of directions but get nowhere. Reminds me of a
game I once played called "Rippled Flesh." Thinking this is a dream, I
type "WAKE UP." Unfortunately, I'm told "The dreadful truth is, this
is not a dream." More like a nightmare.

At least I can type "QUIT" and end it.

Wana...@gmail.com

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Aug 5, 2006, 12:09:46 AM8/5/06
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I guess "IntroComp 06 reviews2006 is a bit repetitive, but it's late,
and I'm tired. Sorry!

-David

Andromache

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Aug 5, 2006, 4:54:31 AM8/5/06
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DJW wrote:
> Child's Play, Stephen Granade
>
> First impression of this game: It was written by someone who has
> horrible grammar. Then I realized it was supposed to be an infant
> talking, and wondered why the infant sounded like a teenager with a
> sub-70 IQ.

I realized the part about the kid's perspective right away, but that's
'cause the game was called Child's Play and I just assumed no adult would
sound like that. It didn't really bother me; I thought it was kinda cute. It
added atmosphere. I especially liked one point where I was trying to do
something ridiculous and the game complained about "stupid stubby arms and
legs." :D


> My God, I almost quit when I read:
>
> "This is oppressive, you are being held down by the man."

That part alarmed me, but luckily, the scene was over quickly enough to not
frighten me off. Peek-a-boo takes on a whole new feel from that perspective.
Of course, I did have a fleeting thought about who the man was. I know
there's a dad mentioned somewhere in the text, but he wasn't introduced.


> I can appreciate a game that wants me to play as a baby, but when you
> pretend that the baby is smart enough to use words like oppressive, yet
> too stupid to use proper punctuation, I just get annoyed.

I did think the use of some big words was rather incongruous. Kind of jarred
me from the immersion. I hadn't noticed the error in punctuation. Too busy
reading the text.

As a semi-related aside, the documentation had a couple minor typos, but I
thought the tone matched the game and I liked the comment about game authors
hiding stuff 'cause it makes them feel all smarter than you. I usually read
the "how to play" sections, even if I already know how to play, in the hope
I'll get special tips for the particular game I'm playing.


> Despite the early bad taste in my mouth, Child's Play turned out all
> right after all. Hey Stephen - Bring it on.

Agreed. I hope this game wins something so I can eventually play it. I loved
that cheeky line at the end of the game about how the completed one should
be out in 2007 so that if it wins something, Stephen can get it.


> [------------------------------------------------------]
>
> Mechs, Allan Crain
>
> Salvageable was spelled wrong.

It was? Bah. Didn't notice.


> While I'm "XYZZY'd" I examine the screen: You can see a James Garcia -
> is there more than one?

LOL! I noticed that, too. It was as if Garcia was an inanimate object.


> I was able to switch one of my arms on but I'm unable to do anything
> with it so I don't see what the point is. I tried, but needed more
> direction.

Ah. I tried turning both on without success. Guess you got farther than me.


Don't really feel like playing more. If I had a bit more
> background information on the abilities of my robot and how to use
> them, I'd be more inclined to try harder.

I never completed that intro, either. I just couldn't figure out how and got
too annoyed to try after a while. I just felt aimless. I understood I was
supposed to rebell somehow, but solutions might not have been hinted at
clearly enough or something. I'd have had a more favorable impression had I
been able to complete the game, but as it was, I didn't vote on it
officially because I never saw the ending. I wanted more background with the
other AI core that got junked and somehow ended up in my arm, and it seems
like the story could be interesting, but I can't know this for sure, which
is frustrating.


> [------------------------------------------------------]
>
> Sabotage!, Felix Plesoianu
>
[Illogical game responses snipped]


> The room descriptions just bugged me, since I never knew where the
> exits were. Overall a half-decent effort, with a weak story and
> limited implementation of descriptions. Wasn't really too interested
> in what happens next.

Neither was I, sadly, although it also doesn't help that I tend to avoid
literature and movies about aliens almost instinctively. There's no reason
other than that I think it's irrelevant. I ended up needing the walkthrough,
because I couldn't figure out how to unlock doors. There were "guess the
verb/syntax" issues and I just found that I didn't care much about my PC or
the ambassador I'm supposed to go help.


> [------------------------------------------------------]
>
> Nothing But Mazes, Greg Boettcher
>
> I had serious reservations about even playing a game called "Nothing
> But Mazes."

Yeah. Same here. I'm afraid I was biased from the get-go.


> Conversation is handled through a choice menu system, and it seems that
> once I ask one question, the others are left for another play through.

Yeah. I was disappointed about that. Speaking of which, those aliens were
*really* annoying. Offends my cultural anthropological sensibilities. Of
course, it did make me think about how humans experiment on animals.


> Seems like there was a lot of setting up the story before I actually
> got to do anything, which made me a bit impatient.

Yes. I tend to dislike conversation games, and there was a lot of it in this
game. There were also tons of hitting the spacebar, which added to the feel
of doing nothing significant.


> Meh, I hate "entering computers and fiddling with programs" just
> because it's so hard to figure out what to do with all of them.
> Thankfully my cell mates are helpful and i eventually figure out what
> to do.

I needed the hints for that. I understood about recompiling, but wasn't sure
what components were actually necessary. It was hard to visualize what I was
fiddling with. "Irregularly shaped" didn't tell me much.


> I liked the hand-drawn graphics, and the story was humorous. Hopefully
> I don't have to go through a bunch of mazes in the final. I would like
> to see how this one ends.

Couldn't get into this one myself. Too many things I disliked. Besides, the
documentation says the graphics will be necessary to finish the game, so I'm
definitely not playing it when it's out. I'd have no hope of completing it
even if I'd wanted to. I do appreciate that up-front warning, though.
Certainly better than allowing me to hope.


> [------------------------------------------------------]
>
> Southern Gothic, Mordechai Shinefield

Never played this one beyond the opening text. Once I realized I was on a
stage, I just quit. So no real comments. It just sounded like a genre I'm
not familiar with. "Southern Tragedy." Just didn't hold my attention.


> [------------------------------------------------------]
>
> The Art of Deception, she's long gone
>
> The opening menu seems a bit screwed up.

It does? Worked fine for me.


> I arm my explosives and blow myself up. So much for that! Let's try
> again. This time on Rookie, so I don't spend time doing something
> stupid.

Er...I did that on Rookie, too. I suppose by "unwinnable," it means
something more like preventing you from not bringing items along that you'll
need later or something like that. I've had it happen before. Very
frustrating.


> "JUMP OUT WINDOW" doesn't work, but "GO OUT WINDOW" does. Thankfully I
> learned that before I died again.

Ha. "Jump Through Window" also works. :P I guess "Jump Out Window" should be
added as something understood by the game.


> There's gotta be more to this...I've already reached the end? It was
> fun while it lasted, anyway, and I killed quite a few people, including
> my partner. Can't wait to play the whole game. Certainly has a lot of
> promise.

It's a well-written game. I love the description you get when you "examine
the crowd." Being a spy game, I probably won't play it, but that's because I
don't know much about the genre. I did rate this game highly, though. My own
prejudices aside, this really was a wonderful taste of things to come.


> [------------------------------------------------------]
>
> Unyielding Fury, Michael Pruitt
>
> Pretty cool set up, until I type X ME and get the good ol' "As
> good-looking as ever."

Yeah. Blah. Also, nothing in the way of scenery is implemented. I even type
something like "listen to animals" and get that I can't see any such thing.
Wha? If you try to examine trees or moss or even the creatures, you get that
you can't see them, even though they're in the description of the forest.
Boo.


> This has to be a joke. I wander around and get lost and go in circles.
> I move in all sorts of directions but get nowhere. Reminds me of a
> game I once played called "Rippled Flesh." Thinking this is a dream, I
> type "WAKE UP." Unfortunately, I'm told "The dreadful truth is, this
> is not a dream." More like a nightmare.

I got that, too. After all, the opening text does hint at the player
character falling asleep.


> At least I can type "QUIT" and end it.

Ouch. Actually, there *is* a way out of the wandering, but it's not
well-designed at all. You have to wander around for a few turns and then
type look every time you move. Eventually, you'll see something out of the
ordinary. Bad thing is the vital object tends to move when you restart the
game. It should have been where you could wander around and when you saw the
object, the game would just tell you. There isn't much to do after you find
the object, though. I think it was the shortest intro game of the ones I
played. I'm kind of interested to see what comes of this game, though. The
player character is potentially quite compelling, despite the bad game
design.

Andromache


niz

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Aug 5, 2006, 11:02:46 AM8/5/06
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Wana...@gmail.com wrote:
> 2006 IntroComp Reviews:

>
> Child's Play, Stephen Granade
>

nice gimmick but as an intro it didnt appeal to me, just as playing as
a dog or a cat doesnt appeal. (3/10).

>
> Mechs, Allan Crain
>

too many fiddly machine bits, not enough forward momentum in this
intro. (2/10).

>
> Sabotage!, Felix Plesoianu
>

didnt like it at all. just generic scifi and no great implementation.
(1/10).

>
> Nothing But Mazes, Greg Boettcher
>

came as an executable - yuck! lots of tedious endless "kidnapped by
aliens" prose - yuck! but once yuu actually get to play seems pretty
interesting. (5/10).

>
> Southern Gothic, Mordechai Shinefield
>

intros have got to provide better motivation to the PC than this. just
wandering around with nothing much to do. (1/10).

> The Art of Deception, she's long gone
>

pretty good! clearly identifiable james bond genre spy IF,
understandable opening task, game starts already in motion. couldnt
solve it but would play again. (7/10)

>
> Unyielding Fury, Michael Pruitt
>

starts off annoyingly but once you find the object in the woods (by
sheer random luck), it becomes by far the best intro in the comp.
*thats* how you get someone gripped into the story. nice work. (9/10)

Wana...@gmail.com

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Aug 5, 2006, 12:11:40 PM8/5/06
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> starts off annoyingly but once you find the object in the woods (by
> sheer random luck), it becomes by far the best intro in the comp.
> *thats* how you get someone gripped into the story. nice work. (9/10)

Wow, maybe I'll have to find this random item that is worth a 9/10 when
I gave it a 1/10 because of unplayability.

Neil Cerutti

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Aug 5, 2006, 1:47:32 PM8/5/06
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On 2006-08-05, Wana...@gmail.com <Wana...@gmail.com> wrote:
> 2006 IntroComp Reviews:
>
> This has to be a joke. I wander around and get lost and go in circles. I
> move in all sorts of directions but get nowhere. Reminds me of a game I once
> played called "Rippled Flesh." Thinking this is a dream, I type "WAKE UP."
> Unfortunately, I'm told "The dreadful truth is, this is not a dream." More
> like a nightmare.

"The Vengeance of Rybread: Attack of the Bionic Horror Doom"?

> At least I can type "QUIT" and end it.

Oh, well, that was an easy game, then. It just depends on your definition of
winning.

--
Neil Cerutti

m.shin...@gmail.com

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Aug 5, 2006, 9:55:51 PM8/5/06
to

> I'm told that the piano bench looks curious, but attempts to examine it
> are unsuccessful because I "can't see any such thing."

> I can go south and down from the auditorium forever. Interesting.

I'm unable to reproduce these bugs. What interpreter did you use?

Wana...@gmail.com

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Aug 5, 2006, 11:19:44 PM8/5/06
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The piano thing was because I got a message telling me the piano bench
looks curious while i was in a completely different room from the piano
bench.

The south/down forever from the auditorium happened with Spatterlight
and Gargoyle, latest versions. From the auditorium, I go south, then
when I reach the backroom, hit down, and i return to the auditorium.
Repeat forever.

Hope this helps.

m.shin...@gmail.com

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Aug 5, 2006, 11:25:55 PM8/5/06
to

Thanks. Yeah. The piano bench was in a different room (the "looked" in
past tense). The south/down is a feature, not a bug. The backroom is
south and up from the auditorium. The auditorium is north and down from
the backroom. So you can keep going south/down. You could also keep
going up/north.

Wana...@gmail.com

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Aug 5, 2006, 11:32:44 PM8/5/06
to

> Thanks. Yeah. The piano bench was in a different room (the "looked" in
> past tense). The south/down is a feature, not a bug. The backroom is
> south and up from the auditorium. The auditorium is north and down from
> the backroom. So you can keep going south/down. You could also keep
> going up/north.

Gotcha. I guess I wasn't reading too closely at that point.

And the south/down thing just confused me, but I suppose I can accept
"It's not a bug, it's a feature!"

Hope you continue writing the game, I think I'll go back to it and try
to see more.

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