Sunday, October 7, 2018

The Interactive Fiction Competition 2018 is totally going on! (part 4)

The Interactive Fiction Competition 2018 is totally going on! (part 4)

I continue checking out the blurbs and pics of the entries of the IFComp 2018. Eventually, I will take the best five and play them and vote on 'em. But for now, let's take a look at....

Dungeon Detective by Wonaglot with art by Caitlin Mulvihill
I guess Children's Games are now a full-blown sub-genre of the competition. This one, you're a gnoll (a dog humanoid for you non DnD people). And I guess you're also a detective? The artwork is pretty great, for sure. It's choice-based but if it delivers on a truly interactive detective game with plenty of player agency then more power to it.

Dynamite Powers vs The Ray of Night by Mike Carletta
Props to the pulp fiction game. And that's pulp fiction the literary genre, not the overrated and pointless Tarantino turd. Personally, I would've avoided specifying the torture the character apparently suffered as "Chinese water torture". I mean, you could've just said "torture" and kept it in a fictional realm rather than give me memories of horrible news stories about Guantánamo Bay. Otherwise, this is pretty much right up my alley. I like pulp stories, even if they are send-ups of the genre. Also, it's tagged as a longer, parser game. So, this is probably going on my list.

En Garde by Jack Welch
I have a feeling this entry is totally great or pretty god-awful. I don't think there'll be an in-between. If it wasn't a really short, choice-based game, I might've tried it. Otherwise, not sure if this is for me.

Erstwhile by Maddie Fialla & Marijke Perry
This looks ok but it's probably a "reader". That is, lots of text dumps. Otherwise, it sounds like a promising premise. 

Escape From Dinosaur Island by Richard Pettigrew
Reinforcing my realization that Children's Games are now a thriving facet of the competition is this abjectly cliche' rendition of Doyle's The Lost World. Oh, and another reason we know this is decidedly a game for babies is the blurb's warning that any profanity entered in the parser will immediately end the game. Pass.

Eunice by Gita Ryaboy
This looks promising. Sounds somewhat original, like an IF version of Populous. Good blurb although I'm unsure what a "mem-ory" is. Just a half-hour? Boo. I'll still check this out, I'm sure.

A Final Grind by nrsm_ha
I guess a robot made this game? What kind of handle is "nrsm_ha"? Regardless, it sounds a bit clever. Looks like it turns the whole dungeon-crawl on its head a bit. The blurb also warns that "use of a calculator is to be considered cheating". So don't get caught.

Flowers of Mysteria by David Sweeney
I can't really argue with this one. It self-identifies as an "old-fashioned" text adventure. That's my style as I'm pretty old-school when it comes to my tastes in IF. It looks to be high fantasy and a parser game. I could easily include this on my list.

The Forgotten Tavern by Peter M.J. Gross
Choice-based fantasy tavern simulator? I'm losing as much patience as I am interest with these choice-based games. I know it's an unpopular opinion, but I fail to see how choice-based games compares with parser games in any way. It's like comparing The Lord of the Rings with a fucking Fighting Fantasy gamebook.

More later....

Friday, October 5, 2018

IF Comp 2018 (The First Few) part 3

The Interactive Fiction Competition 2018 is totally going on! (part 3)

I now continue reading the blurbs and checking out the art for the entries of the IF Comp 2018. Here are the C's....

Campfire Tales by Matthew Deline
I'll admit. This one I did differently. The blurb was fine enough for me to decide to check out the author's link. Seeing his blog, Mr. Deline seems to be a pretty interesting, indie game designer and travel blogger, so I was curious what system Campfire Tales was and the entry states it is "web based". Not a fav genre of mine. So, unlike the other games on this list so far, I went ahead and tried out the actual game. I wanted to see just how "choice-based" it is. I'm sorry to say, I found zero interaction in what seems to be a child's story, given the basic sentences, diction, and presentation. Actually, the only interaction was to type in your name (which you do twice in the game, for some reason) and to click "continue" ad nauseam. I'm positive I won't be playing this game again, but since I didn't actually do more than a cursory play-thru, I will spare it from my voting.

Cannery Vale by Keanhid Connor
It's funny that this entry follows the last entry. I complained in the last entry about it being web-based which means choice-based. And, unfortunately, the interaction was sorely lacking. Cannery Vale is an example of web-based/choice-based being done right. I felt it was going to be the case so I went ahead and delved into this one as well, rather than just comment on the blurb and such. The interface and game play really gave me (at least the illusion of) player agency. I had numerous choices at once with which to piece together the narrative INTERACTIVELY. I didn't get into the plot too much, yet. But if I had to make a short-list of web-based titles to check out, this would definitely be on it. Good graphics, good interface, good prose, good stuff.

Careless Talk by Diana Rider
If I wanted to deal with homophobia, I have my life. (See my comments on "Bi Lines" by Norbez).

Charming by Kaylah Facey
I like this two-paragraph blurb. The first tells you about the game (a bit of a gluttonous combo of The Sorcerer's Apprentice and Harry Potter). The second paragraph talks about the author's endeavors in getting this game out to the public. Despite the cliche' plot, I'll check this out. It's parser, so that's a plus.

Dead Man's Fiesta by Ed Sibley
Haunted car? I'll pass. I've read Christine and From a Buick 8and I've watched Maximum Overdrive and The Car (1977) and The Hearse (1980) and I think that's quite enough.

Devotionalia by G. Grimoire
Games like these are the backbone of the competition; shorter, compact episodes over world-spanning epics. This lets the author really hone in on the subject and take more time crafting a high quality, shorter piece than a longer piece of questionable merit. Now, I don't know if this game is any good yet, of course, but the pic, premise, and blurb are a good start. Sadly, it's choice-based so, again, it's not going to be high on my list of games to try to get to.

Diddlebucker! by J. Michael
It takes an impressive set of nuts to release a game called Diddlebucker! I read the blurb and was, at first, a bit disappointed to see it might just be a light-hearted scavenger hunt. But then the very end of the blurb made me laugh. I was drinking coffee and I almost strangled myself choking on it. it might only be funny to me, I don't know. This will probably be on my list.

Dilemma by Leonora
I've always thought a picture-less entry was just working against itself. Maybe it's true. I mean, you've gone through the trouble of making and (hopefully) beta-testing a labor of love to enter in the comp, but you can't take exactly 120 seconds to find a free-to-use pic and slap a title on it? I could do that on my cell phone sitting in a porta-potty. Regardless of that, at least the blurb actually sounds promising. If executed well, then what it promises would actually be a great interactive endeavor. I'm pretty sure there was a movie with this exact plot but I can't think of its name so I guess I won't bring that up. This is on my get-to list.

Dream Pieces 2 (The Lego Box) by Iam Curio
The blurb informs us that this is, in fact, the sequel to Dream Pieces. I'm totally glad they cleared that up for me. For the life of me, I couldn't imagine what the "2" was all about. Anyway, it's a word game, and by description, a children's game? Yeah, there's nothing here for the likes of me.

Dreamland by eejitlikeme
Another dream-related game. Who does that? Choice-based and 15 minutes in length? I dunno. I'd rather spend the time doing a Buzzfeed quiz or something. 

More later.... 

Thursday, October 4, 2018

IF Comp 2018 (The First Few) part 2

The Interactive Fiction Competition 2018 is totally going on! (part 2)

I'm going to continue checking out the titles, pictures, and blurbs of the current crop of interactive fiction from the IF Comp 2018. This will help me narrow down which games I will try to play and rate. I finished the A's. Now we begin with the B's.

Basilica de Sangre by Bitter Karella 
There's definitely a lot of character going on with this game given just the blurb and pic, really. In it, the player is a young demon whose mother is being held captive in the titular convent. The artwork, while excellent, makes me think the game might be too cutesy for me. You'll remember this author from the Guttersnipe games

Bi Lines by Norbez
Oh wow. How topical. Full disclosure, this is not my kind of game. It has nothing to do with sexuality (I'm gay), but it's really that I can't get into games that seek to "start a conversation". Yes, these issues are gravely important. Yes, young people deal with society's demands in sometimes tragic ways. But the thing is, I live in a household that basically monitors the news 24/7. Also, I'm a person who's dealt with these issues myself. So THAT'S why I would pretty much never select a game like this when I feel like playing some interactive fiction. I play to escape. Not learn stuff I already know and listen to views with which I'm intimately familiar. So I'm not trying to trash this game, I'm just defending why it's not my personal cup of tea.If I do play it, I would NOT score it low for the above things I've mentioned. I think it's good if it actually does constructively add to this national conversation. I'm just saying I don't consider works like this escapist so I don't consider them actual games but rather Power Point presentations.
It's like this: Remember Depression Quest? Know why I never played Depression Quest? Because it's called "Depression Quest".

Birmingham IV by Peter Emery
First, I should admit I've not played Birminghams 1 - 3. Nor have I actually even heard of them. Or maybe it's just a title I should just deal with it. The blurb is great. Very intriguing. There isn't much I can add but I'll say I'm hooked. I'll check this out sooner than later.

Bogeyman by Elizabeth Smyth
I'm sorry but nothing about this interests me. 

Border Reivers by Vivienne Dunstan
Ok, now you're cookin' with grease. It sounds like a murder mystery set in 15th century Scotland. I guess like Rob Roy meets Columbo? I'll take it. I dig historical murder mysteries like Name of the Rose or the Murders in the Rue MorgueThis will be high on my list to try. 

The Broken Bottle by The Affinity Forge Team, Lead Author Josh Irvin
I'm always a bit leery about development teams entering competitions that are traditionally between solo artists (there are notable exceptions, of course). I mean, is this team comprised of a dozen people coding away 40 hours a week for a year to be able to turn in a game that usually feels out-of-place, or way too "shiny", or way too graphical for an interactive fiction contest. Alternatively, maybe this Josh Irvin is the Affinity Forge Team and it's just a misleading byline. THAT SAID, the blurb actually sounds quite interesting. If it wasn't choice-based, it would be higher on my list.

Bullhockey! by B.F. Lindsay
I dunno. Scavenger hunt for your laundry that your vindictive girlfriend has spread around town? No, really, that's from the blurb. But then again, over two hours of game play for it? That tells me there's probably more to it than just that. Then again, I could be completely mistaken. Surprisingly, I could see myself checking this out before many others,

More later.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

IF Comp 2018 (The First Few)

The Interactive Fiction Competition 2018 is totally going on!

I didn't get my game in shape in time enough to get it into the IFComp2018, so I guess I'll take the time to polish it up and maybe comment on some of the games from authors who actually understand what a deadline is.
I don't know which games to try out. I see a lot of familiar names of authors who can usually deliver something of note. But which to start with? 
I guess I'll look at the titles, cover art, and blurbs and see if any tickle my fancy. (I haven't had my fancy tickled in quite some time.) Also, don't take me too seriously with these entries. No offense is meant for anyone. It's great that the competition consistently produces quality stuff by talented people.

+=X by Chandler Groover
Looks like Mr. Groover REALLLY wanted to have his game listed first of all the entries. Not a bad move. Forgoing the usual practice of starting your game's title with an "A", Chandler has opted for special characters and won. While the title reminds me of tedious math courses in high school, the blurb is quite intriguing. Mr. Chandler might get his wish with me as I might just try this game first.

Abbess Otilia's Life and Death by A.B.Okay, this is the complete blurb for this entry: "In English, on parchment, written in 13th century textualis. Quarto, 14 leaves, in double columns, with rubrication and miniatures. Marginalia in several hands of the 14th and 17th century."
Congratulations, A.B., you've just written the most boringest blurb in competition history! Coupled with the archaic art, the boredom just sits on my head and crushes it. BUT SERIOUSLY, it's intriguing enough, but just so dry and erudite, I might not get to it right away.

The Addicott Manor by Intudia
Intudia sounds like a medication. Enjoy lower cholesterol with Intudia! Anyway, Intudia, apparently, is not from Pfizer but rather from the internet. The blurb is good. It unabashedly offers an intriguing manor mystery to learn as well as a treasure-grab dungeoncrawl-like game. This should end up high on the To-Do list as it sounds a bit old-school and that's my kinda scene.

Adventures With Fido by Lucas C. Wheeler 
"You Are A Corgi!" is Lucas Wheeler's offering. The blurb seems to say I'll control a dog who probably gets into some wacky adventures. Sounds good, really. Can't complain too much about it. I love dogs and so long as Wheeler has infused a good sense of humor in this, then it should work. Dogs are inherently funny so if a dog game doesn't play on that, then you have a boring dog game. Judgment reserved on this til I play, of course, but Wheeler is apparently a competent writer so, again, it'll probably work. It might not be near the top of the To-Do list, however, as those slots are going to be reserved to the stuff that seems pretty unique this year.

Ailihphilia by N. Y. Llewellyn
The title is a constructed palindrome and is sometimes used by people wanting to describe themselves as lovers of palindromes, Ailihphiliacs. Anyway, I dunno, I've never been too into word games mainly because I'm terrible at them. I'll try to check it out but it's not a high priority. And again, it might be great, I'm just not a word-game guy.

Alias 'The Magpie' by J.J. Guest
Guest's games are usually wild and/or strange stories with very colorful characters. The blurb for Magpie seems to offer another nefarious romp, this time in the shoes of a gentleman thief. Good stuff. High on the list to try.

And You May Find Yourself by VPC
I'm trying not to let the abject hatred I have for David Byrne and anything he puts his unbelievably untalented tendrils on sully my opinion of this game. If you're lost on this, the title comes from a 1981 Talking Heads song, Once In A Lifetime. Ok, fine, yes, that's a groovy tune. And I like Road to Nowhere, Nothing But Flowers and And She Was, but otherwise, I hate the Talking Heads. I guess that has little to do with this game. I do like games based on songs or albums. I've made one or two and of course, you can't forget the Apollo 18 tribute album and that other one that I can't remember. I'll try this out for the above reasons I'm just bustin' chops about the Heads.

Animalia by Ian Michael Waddell
If Abbess Otilia above is the boringest blurb, Animalia's blurb is the most absurd I've read in awhile. It gets points for that, I'll admit. It might be too cutesy for the likes of me, but yeah, the blurb is definitely wacky enough to spark interest. I'll get to this game before too long.

Anno 1700 by Finn Rosenløv
I'm going to pronounce this "AY-no" 1700 for reasons that are my own. Otherwise, one can't help but think of Plundered Hearts with a blurb like Anno's. It's almost practically ripped from the back cover of a Harlequin Romance novel; trashy, sure, but in a good way. This will be another near the top of my list. Anything to do with history, pirates, murder, romance, what more do you want? We'll see if the author delivers.

Awake by Soham Sevak
This purports to be "part 1 of many". Neophyte authors should take care not to promise sequels unless you're pretty darn sure one is coming. There are too many examples in movies, tv, and books to even begin. But it's not the end of the world. It's shows zeal which is good. According to the blurb. I will take the role of a "Lead Scientist" which I guess is like a metallurgist who studies the property of lead? Oh, and I'm instrumental on the 'Project Team". Which sounds like it might be named just general enough to be sure to get confused with other project teams in the company when it comes time to do the payroll. The author promises a short game, maybe a half hour, but also warns of "swearing and graphic violence" which is great because if you only have a half hour to tell your tale and you still manage to cram in lots of swearing and violence, then I'm sold! Seriously, though, I'll be trying this one out before the majority, I think.

More later.