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Reviews by Ruber Eaglenest

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View this member's reviews by tag: IF Comp 2016 Spanish game
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The Writer Will Do Something, by Matthew Burns, Tom Bissell

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Seminal modern narrative game, July 10, 2019
The writer will do something is a seminal twine made by insiders of the game industry, writers Tom Bissell and Matthew S. Burns. Born, maybe from a joke, or as a testimonial of "how games are done", it has been very influential in the narrative/game writers scene.

It has some of the best words put down on a Twine (IMHO). And it provides a sneak peek in how our modern triple-A games are done. How the chaos is modeled, and how they are built from spare parts that rarely fit properly as a narrative (you know, narrative dissonance and such).

It's cleverly written with delicious words, and flavor and tricks that delight and surprise the reader. It is very funny, terrifing, at the same time. I wholeheartly recommend it.

Being Beyoncé’s assistant for the day, by Green Chyna

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Cruel but joyful gauntlet on twitter gamebook, June 27, 2019
So, this is a gamebook done on twitter. We've seen several attempts of doing that with the limitations of the platform, but this one uses the natural way twitter manages threads and sub-threads. Hint: it works.

Better, it is not "another gamebook where the audience decides through polls", all the threads are there, implemented, for your enjoying.

The game is a very cruel gauntlet (a quite linear structure where each deviation just kills you) but very very funny.

This is a demonstration of how fallen into disuse gamebook structures are interesting. You know, the trends say that time caves and gauntles are not worth and such, but, how many time caves we are missing?

Also, killing the player a lot in gauntlets is considered bad design, but again, this game demonstrates when that is false: when it's a lot of fun! For this to work, you must do that the multiple endigns and killings are amusings, and so it is in this game.

About the cruelness rating, this games rates Cruel in the Zarfian scale because it has death threades within the sub-threads. That is, you can choose a sub-thread without knowing all options there are just deaths. Fantastic!

The Ballroom, by Liza Daly
Click!, May 23, 2019
This is the piece of IF by Liza Daly that made click! for me to understand the very nature of what her own engine, Windrift, does. Mutable stories where their output can be read like a proper paper document.

In the past, I found the works of Liza to be lacking more traditional choice based interaction and the agency of me as a reader. Thanks to The Ballroom finally I could fully understand that we are in a new paradigm here, those of "mutable stories".

This third instance for the engine shows a lot of capabilities in proving that you can have a deep agency a lot of choices to modify the story radically within the engine. So, in a sense, it is a showing of the capabilities of Windrift to provide further interaction... but what a show! The ballroom is crispy and funny and somewhat meta (something I like very much), where each interaction could radically change the universe of the story, changing from the time and place of the story, to the very nature of the characters.

It gets tangled easily, in the last phases of the game, I felt that the "winning move" was within my reach, but the multiples variables, change of times and possibilities just crowded in my head, and in the end, I was unable to achieve a proper ending. So, in a way, it is a puzzle game implemented using a very new paradigm like the stories that Windrift provides. Very impressing.

Maybe I will return to it with a walkthrough or something, but in the meanwhile, it was a hell of a time. Very recommeded.

El libro que se aburría, by Antonia Visiedo
Spanish classic fairy tale romp, April 23, 2019
by Ruber Eaglenest
Related reviews: Spanish game
This is a modern classic of the Spanish scene. Created by Antonia Visieda (aka Jenesis). It is a mashup of classic fairy tales tropes reimagined as a funny lighthearted puzzler for all ages.

It is, also, one of the few works in Spanish done for a juvenile audience in mind is ideal for kids above 7. The story is just for the fun of it, with nothing like serious topics or deep meanings, and that's just great.

It has some original use of the parser, the narrator and the break of the fourth wall, with the main character or avatar as a shape-shifting entity. Those features are not heavily used in the adventure, but, there they are.

The game comes in two formats, Z Machine, and AGE system. The AGE version is a remake with graphics and maybe, sound? I dunno, anyway AGE is an obscure Spanish system optimized for MUDs and roleplaying games that requires JAVA, and even with that, it is somewhat dificult to run the game, so I would go for the vanilla, only text, Z machine version.

La Pequeña Cerillera, by J. Francisco Martín

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Canonical modern interactive fiction for the XXI century, November 6, 2018
This work my JFM Lisaso is a canonical piece of what IF for the XXI century should be. Sadly for you, reader, it is in Spanish.

It is an interactive retelling of Andersen's The Little Match-Seller. Parsed based but with a framework powered by Vorple that make it looks and sounds amazing. Also, it has an advanced UI where you can play solely using hyperlinks or the classical parser, or a simplified one a-la Aaron Reed's Blue Lacuna. So it is a rare example of a hypertext story build using a world model (Inform 6 is under the wraps).

The story is the classical one, gripping and effective powered by interactivity and multimedia. A masterpiece.

left/right, by chandler groover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Funny little piece on a trope, July 7, 2018
Groover have fun with trope of blind choosing in a fork, demonstrating that even little interaction has value thank to surprising outcomes.

I would like that even the title would be an actual fork. To make re-runs more quick.

Stone Harbor, by Liza Daly

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Amazing premise in an amazing custom hypertext system, August 3, 2017
by Ruber Eaglenest
Related reviews: IF Comp 2016
Disclaimer: (Spoiler - click to show)Hi, this are the reviews I did in the the IFComp 2016. I’m Ruber Eaglenest. Co-author of The skyscraper and the scar, and entry of that year. The review is posted without edition, and need some context about how I reviewed and rated the games. So, apart of my bad English I hope to be constructive. I will point to the things I don't like of the game, but I hope to be helpful. The structure I follow is this: Title, one line review, two to five word; Mobile friendliness, overall, score phrased based on IF comp guidelines. I had back ache and so that’s why I played most games in Android mobile, I looked closely at how games behave on mobile and review and vote based on that.

Mobile friendly: Completely! Very well done! It is custom system that just nails it. it is comfortable to play. It has even a link to switch between day mode and night reading mode. It autosaves. The system fills the scroll with text with no end, and when you resume the game you must go down all the way. It could benefit of separate chapters that clean the scroll. And maybe a dynamic link to the actual reading point (that is, all the way down) could be great. But I’m just nit-picking.

General: Great start for a game about spiritualism. The initial scene is really really great creating the mood, presenting the main characters and the main mechanic of interaction. I just loved it. However it is just not real interactive (insert my subjectivity on the matter here). If you drop the game in a book, it would work the same. It is a pity, because the story, the writing, the custom hypertext system, all have a LOT of potential.

There are some problems in the perspective of PC and the narrator in some scenes. Mainly in the scene of the doll. We don’t know who we are, if the doll, the girl, the player. Maybe it is on purpose but it just don’t work. The point of view should be more homogenise, but in this concrete scene it seems it is jumping from one view to another.

The writing is superb, however I find one lacking in the interpretation of the PC. At the beginning, when he just get out of the trance, he is quite cold about it

This was the first actual psychic experience of your life.

Come on! it should be as this, for example:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=du_wQIga3Uc

It should "I feel my skin like crawl" to the PC, or to the reader.

I missed a LOT of interaction, I miss free exploration, free interaction, I miss agency. It is a pity. However, I take a lot of joy of what I were reading, it is just, it wasn't interactive.

Score: Recommended with reservations. And it is a pity, this could be better just adding more interactivity in EVERY scene, for example, even in dialogues with traditional branching dialogues a-la graphic adventure or modern CYOAs.

Letters, by Madison Evans

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Interesting concept that doesn’t live to its premise., January 6, 2017
by Ruber Eaglenest
Related reviews: IF Comp 2016
Disclaimer: (Spoiler - click to show)Hi, this are the reviews I did in the the IFComp 2016. I’m Ruber Eaglenest. Co-author of The skyscraper and the scar, and entry of that year. The review is posted without edition, and need some context about how I reviewed and rated the games. So, apart of my bad English I hope to be constructive. I will point to the things I don't like of the game, but I hope to be helpful. The structure I follow is this: Title, one line review, two to five word; Mobile friendliness, overall, score phrased based on IF comp guidelines. I had back ache and so that’s why I played most games in Android mobile, I looked closely at how games behave on mobile and review and vote based on that.

Mobile friendly: almost, but comfortable to play.

General: Interesting premise. At first it feels another game of consulting a Database to learn a whole story from pieces and scraps. You are in a desk with a lot of previously undelivered letters of someone who seems have passed away. However, instead of having a semi random interesting interface where we could parse all letters bit by bit, the game has a traditional twine structure, and this just don’t fit the topic and theme and story. Eventually you reach the end of the tree and you find an irritating Start over link, to begin from the start. It is irritating the fifth time you find that. I think a premise like this requieres a somewhat simulation of the space (like in Her Story or 500 apocalypses), a way of pick always random letters, a way to sort them, a way to not to read the already read letters. That is a way to not repeat the same texts again and again, or the same loops again and again.

The content is mildy interesting. Yes it describes the life, the way, and the death of a beautiful girl. But it is somewhat on the nose. There’s nothing much to discover because the death is just there, almost at the beginning. And the contents are not so interesting.

Apart of the structure problems, there’s a big problem with the voice of the game. At first, it seems that it is just that, the letters, in the writing and voice of her, but later there are passages that has flashbacks, or sequences where the protagonist is me, I mean you, the player. It just don’t feel right, because there’s no homogeneity in the use of it. It feels random. Or improvised.

Score: In the end I didn’t like it very much, and the start over mechanic irritated me. Not recommended.

Quest for the Traitor Saint, by Owlor

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Really nice world building. Even with an enciclopedia inside!, January 6, 2017
by Ruber Eaglenest
Related reviews: IF Comp 2016
Disclaimer: (Spoiler - click to show)Hi, this are the reviews I did in the the IFComp 2016. I’m Ruber Eaglenest. Co-author of The skyscraper and the scar, and entry of that year. The review is posted without edition, and need some context about how I reviewed and rated the games. So, apart of my bad English I hope to be constructive. I will point to the things I don't like of the game, but I hope to be helpful. The structure I follow is this: Title, one line review, two to five word; Mobile friendliness, overall, score phrased based on IF comp guidelines. I had back ache and so that’s why I played most games in Android mobile, I looked closely at how games behave on mobile and review and vote based on that.

Mobile friendly: Not at all. Playable, but it is not ideal. It has not autosave, nor proper way to save the game. It has a bookmark system, common in some Twine 1 games, that I found it unusable, at least in mobile. I don't understand it, and I don't know how to use it. So I could not finish the game, although I tried several times.

General: I will approach this base on the common criticism that the game has received. That is: the art style and the little ponies.

At first I didn't like the art style. I feel it is too much sketchy to pass for proper game art, but then the PC reveals that he is constantly sketching while travelling in his notebook... so this just made clic. It work, because it works in context. Sadly I feel that the first sketches doesn't do justice for what the author could accomplish... because later the sketches about the encyclopedia of fauna and flora of the planet are really great (great inside the context of what I said: the PC sketching in a notebook). So, I ended loving the art style soooo much, just because of that.

The second common criticism is the graphical representations of the horses. You know, the are like fan art of My Little Pony. And I think that criticism has a point. When you read about the culture of the horses you think more in... yeah, talking powerful horses, so the revelation of the art could be striking. But this is just plain prejudice. People has a lot of prejudice against children stuff, more if it is soooo popular as My Little Pony. But I am father of two daughters, and so, I know better, and it is my obligation to let the world know that My Little Pony is good stuff. In the first place, it is great artistic design. You just could cast an eye to any galery of art of wannabees artists here and there to see that the ponies are just one of the main inspirations for them. THERE ARE JUST A HELL TONS of fan art of them. And second, My Little Pony is great storytelling. I know this because I surprise myself getting catch by the narrative of the chapters when my little daughter is watching the show. But this is common. Some children show has bad literature in it, but a LOT of children show has really great literature on them because they are run by really great professionals. Maybe you don't like those because you are not their targeted audience, but as I said, fathers know, and fathers knows better. So... My Little Pony as main inspiration for the world-building and aesthetic design of the game: WHY THE HELL NOT?

Said that, Let's continue what's really great of the game: the world-building. It is just amazing. As some reviewers said, the intro and blurb are heavily dosed on lore and world-building, but it just worked really great for me. This is supported on the encyclopedia, a literally encyclopedia comprising lore and world-building. So... this is neat feat. This is the author showing off that he has built a proper world-building for a new extraterrestrial race, and its corresponden lore. Look here! it is all in the encyclopedia! Well done, Sir. Best of it, the encyclopedia is integrated in the gameplay, with proper links that points to the proper animal or plant that the PC is seen in each location.

This leads me to some criticism of what I think the game does not do very well, or more, it lacks. Ok, the worldbuilding is there, the lore, the fauna, the flora, and such... but: you can't interact with it. You can traverse the scenery, but it is just that: scenery: I miss to interact with the animals, with the highlights of the landscape. To smell the flora, to collect some herbs. Etc. I think this game would have benefited a lot with a parser implementation, because the lacking would be evident while programming the game. But as a player, a lot of my motivations to interact with the world were not supplied or allowed by the game and implementation.

There are more great stuff in this game: for example the characterisation of the PC's companion, or her dialog and conversation system, but I've talked more of those things that stands out more, good or bad. And I could not finish the game, so I could not comment on that.

Score: Great world-building that is not enough interactive and too static. But I love all the love (sic) poured into it, even the ponies and the sketches. Good game that I recommend.

Fair, by Hanon Ondricek

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Very funny “slice of life” in the miserable life of a self-publishing writer., January 6, 2017
by Ruber Eaglenest
Related reviews: IF Comp 2016
Disclaimer: (Spoiler - click to show)Hi, this are the reviews I did in the the IFComp 2016. I’m Ruber Eaglenest. Co-author of The skyscraper and the scar, and entry of that year. The review is posted without edition, and need some context about how I reviewed and rated the games. So, apart of my bad English I hope to be constructive. I will point to the things I don't like of the game, but I hope to be helpful. The structure I follow is this: Title, one line review, two to five word; Mobile friendliness, overall, score phrased based on IF comp guidelines. I had back ache and so that’s why I played most games in Android mobile, I looked closely at how games behave on mobile and review and vote based on that.

Mobile friendly: almost, it is parser through Quixe. Quixe is great. It works. Some minor glitches with the virtual keyboard appearing and hiding itself, but playable.

Overall: This is great fun. Well developed parser game where the player takes the role of a science fiction writer thrown in a school science fair to choose the winner of the fair.

It has three main activities: try to sell enough copies of the book to pay the rent, cast an eye to the fair expositions to select the winner, and the act of going up the podium to announce the winner. And all of them are just very funny, well developed, well implemented and with crispy prose. It make me laugh.

In my first play-though I tried to maximise my sales, so I dedicated to the labour of selling books (and had a lot of fun doing it) For this part of the game, it has a very clever CYOA system by entering the number of each option to make the repetitive actions of self-book-selling. The game always have a procedural generated potential customers selected from the traits of the people who usually passed by that kind of ambiences. This works! This is the demonstration that a parser and model world game made in Inform 7 could work with a CYOA interface. But of course this was done for just this concrete activity. However I don’t understand why it doesn’t have hyperlinks, it would ease the interaction in mobile, because, you know, entering numbers is not optimal in modern smart phones (weird). And I detect another minor oddity. When the CYOA interface is on, the normal parser interface is deactivated. This means that you can’t interact with the environment when you are in the selling activity and viceversa, you can’t sell books or show them in the “normal parser way”. The selling activity soon became repetitive, because the pool of traits from the potential customers it is very limited, in my opinion, for the scope of the amount of money to be gained. But… kudos to the author because it is very funny.

When you get your nose out of your own stand and books, there’s a full wild world out there to explore and enjoy. Kids, visitors, some fathers, and even the director, a very conservative person that contrast with the ruthless jungle that is the school . Everything is crispy characterised. It seems like the author knows well the ambience or that he has documented very well for this work.

The game has the kind of agency and freedom that I like. You can approach the fair whatever you want, you can just keep selling books (or trying) all the time and pass completely of the proper Fair so when you get to the podium you can just choose one at random (so unfair, but cruel and funny thing to do), or you can try to cheat the selling stuff with a quite un-moral thing to do that I would not spoil further, or just get out and get a cigarette with the smokers, in the cold. There’s no better winning condition, just several bittersweet endings, and that is fine.

I got some problems with the layout of the fair, so I had a hard time until I found that the fair projects must be explored going further to the west (five times). But I think this is a feature of the game difficult to lay out properly. And the fair space felt very crowded and noisy, with the video of one of the expositions invading the others kids spaces. But of course that could be perfectly intended by the author.

In the end, it is the kind of work that enhances the experience when replaying it obsessively. It is a somewhat simulation of a social space, so the more you explore the more you get, it could be resources to pay the rent, or hints of the relationships of the people around the fair, and some other hidden nasty secrets.

Score: Definitively worth it. It is a 9 because I don’t pretend to put a 10 to nobody, and because the procedural generated potential customers need more variety, but this game is just awesome.


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