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Reviews by WriterBob

IF Comp 2008

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Project Delta, by Emilian Kowalewski

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful:
Game system demo, October 27, 2008
by WriterBob (Richmond Hill, Ontario)
Related reviews: IF Comp 2008
First off, I am not fond of home-grown game systems. Typically these systems lack the polish and stability of the off-the shelf systems.

Secondly, I am not fond of “Choose Your Own Adventure,” style IF. I prefer rich environments where objects have a verisimilitude to them. I like to feel that I am a part of the world, not a distant observer. This game in particular feels as if the player is on rails being taken from one section to the next.

This “game” is nothing more than a demo of the first generation of the game system. (At this point you can only hold 2 items at a time, one in your left hand and one in your right.) In learning about the game system a description of additional future functionality is provided. Still, in the end, this is a CYOA adventure system. And as a demo it is unsatisfying in terms of plot or character development.

The prose of the game is unsophisticated. As in most traditional IF games, the player character is a bit of a mystery. Here in the description of the character, the author comments that not knowing more about your player character is part of the mystery. It is ham handed at best.

There is the occasional glitch where an option selection is left blank.

The ending came up quite abruptly and was most unsatisfying.

In the end, if you're actually looking to play a game, and not read an advertisement for future games, look elsewhere.

The Lighthouse, by Eric Hickman and Nathan Chung

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful:
An exercise in brevity, October 27, 2008
by WriterBob (Richmond Hill, Ontario)
Related reviews: IF Comp 2008
The Lighthouse, submitted for the 2008 IF Competition, is probably the easiest IF game ever created.

The goal as stated in the introduction is to turn on the light in the lighthouse. Beyond the introduction there is very little description. All the places have names, but there is only the most cursory description of each room. Every object, when examined, returns the stock response, "There is nothing special about X."

Technically there were no flaws in the game. There was however, no challenge either. The old Infocom sampler offered more in the way of interaction.

Perhaps, as a previous reviewer surmised this was an exercise on the part of the authors who were trying to learn Inform. I hope this is the case. If the authors read this review, I would encourage them to continue creating IF after this first rather timid step.

Nerd Quest, by Gabor de Mooij

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
Nigh unplayable, October 23, 2008
by WriterBob (Richmond Hill, Ontario)
Related reviews: IF Comp 2008
This game is spectacular in being an exercise in frustration.

The premise is simple enough. Sneak past your manager so you can meet your girlfriend for a date. It is the execution that makes the game unplayable.

Common verbs do not function. "Examine," is not recognized. If you happen to type "Look," with a capital L, the game does not recognize the command. "Inventory," is not recognized, but its abbreviation, "i" works.

There are cases of guess the noun. For example, in one room if you try to "look at the PC," the game fails to understand. However, if you "look at the computer," the game provides a description.

Other fun elements -
You can't save the game.
You can't quit the game.

If the game were playable within the conventions of IF, I would forgive the inability of the game to display an apostrophe correctly. When the game tried to show “eight o’clock,” it came out “eight o ' clock” This was just added salt in the wound.

In the author's defense, he did compose this game using a language that he created himself. However, I suspect the language itself may have a few kinks to be worked out.

The in game puzzles weren't overly complex. Those were overshadowed by the puzzle of trying to guess how the programmer was thinking in order to phrase commands effectively.

I would recommend this game as an example of how not to implement an IF language or game.


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