The beauty of inflections

or the beauty of innuendoes

[IFComp2013] a side note: parser vs. non-parser
Little My
runnerchild
I stumbled across an interesting blog post from Determinist Without a Cause about the trend towards non-parser games in the IFComp. The animated graph is especially striking to me, as is this quote:

"What does concern me, however, is that there are only 15 parser games in this years comp — that is the lowest amount since the very first comp back in 1995. This could quite easily be an anomaly, as the number of entries into the comp varies greatly from year to year... But as this coincides with a dramatic rise in non-parser games, I’m somewhat inclined to believe that this is not an anomaly."

I don't have a lot to add to that, aside from feeling like my vague sense of worry is somewhat justified. It's not that I dislike Twine games, but I've come to truly love parser-based games, and I hope very strongly that they are not a waning art form.

[IFComp2013] Threediopolis
Little My
runnerchild
Threediopolis by Andrew Schultz, is a parser-based game of "griddy and gritty word puzzles." You can play it online here.

Lots of spoilers within.Collapse )
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[IFComp2013] 9Lives
Little My
runnerchild
9Lives is another parser-based game. It was written by Bill Balistreri, Hal Hinderliter, Sean Klabough, Luke Michalski and Morgan Sokol, who entered it into the comp collectively as InformStorm. On the comp website, it says, "This IF was created as an assignment for ENG 437: Project Management, taught by Prof. Stuart Moulthrop at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee." That's a new one to me! I wish I'd had a college assignment to create a work of IF.

Spoilers within.Collapse )

A side note: After playing the game, I looked up the professor Stuart Moulthrop. According to his Wikipedia page, he's "an innovator of electronic literature and hypertext fiction." I couldn't find any of his works available for free online, and I wasn't curious enough to buy anything. I did find it amusing that, aside from Wikipedia, every website that mentioned him had a design aesthetic that looked like it was from 1999, though it does appear that he's done more recent work.
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[IFComp2013] Ollie Ollie Oxen Free
Little My
runnerchild
Ollie Ollie Oxen Free by Carolyn VanEseltine is a parser-based game. You can play it online here or download it from the comp website.

Significant spoilers insideCollapse )

Edited to add a note: Another reviewer was baffled by the title. For anyone else in the dark, it's one version of a phrase that the "seeker" in hide-and-seek shouts to call everyone back to base. I remember playing a hide-and-seek/tag hybrid on late summer evenings all over the neighborhood, and when someone was tagged we would yell "ALLY ALLY IN FREE!" to get all the remaining hiders back to start a new round. I have no idea where we learned the phrase - it was one of those things we just new, kid lore.
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[IFComp2013] Sam and Leo Go To The Bodega
Little My
runnerchild
Sam and Leo Go To The Bodega, by Richard Goodness, is another HTML game. You can play it online here. It's a pretty short experience, so you might as well play it before reading the rest of this review.

Some spoilers inside, I suppose.Collapse )

A side note: It's interesting to see how the comp has changed just in the time I've been playing and judging. I only really discovered IF when Mike and I played the 2008 comp winner, Violet, though I'd played Hamlet - The Text Adventure a few years earlier. (Somehow I failed to discover, when I played Hamlet, that there was more like this out there... pity!) Yet in just five years - really, just in the past two - there's been such a shift towards HTML games, probably due to the simplicity of Twine. I have to admit, I feel mixed. I fell in love with parser-based IF, and this year fewer than half the games are parser-based. I find it's harder to feel a sense of agency when I'm only choosing between three or four options instead of wracking my brains to come up with ideas for what I should do. It's not impossible for an author to still give me this sense of agency, but it's harder.

I even feel funny using the word "game" for some of these HTML works. Often they don't have what really feels like a "win" state. There aren't puzzles to conquer, only decisions to make. There's no doubt that a work like Sam and Leo Go To The Bodega is interactive fiction, but is it a game? It's something I play, yes, but I don't think that automatically means "game." I played with Legos the other day (I teach an after-school Lego class!), but Legos aren't a game. Are these IF toys? IF stories? Just IF works?

...I'm sure I'll keep wrestling with this question as I keep making my way through the comp. I'd love to hear your thoughts!
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[IFComp2013] Solarium
Little My
runnerchild
Solarium, by Alan DeNiro, is a web-only game. (Technically you can download it, but since it's an HTML file I'm not sure there's a point to doing so - you'll still be playing it in a browser.) You can play it here.

Not a lot of spoilers in here, but I recommend not reading this until after you play the game.Collapse )
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[IFComp2013] Further
Little My
runnerchild
It's not quite October, but IFComp started a few days early this year! Hooray!

My first game (in a random order) is Trapped in Time by Simon Christiansen. But, oops, I can't currently play it because it is a PDF game and I have to print it. Hm. Okay, so the REAL first game is Further by Will Hines.

Spoilers inside.Collapse )

All right, so now it actually is October. As always, I'm already behind in reviewing! I've already played my next game, so stay tuned for a review of Solarium by Alan DeNiro.
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[IFComp2012] The Sealed Room
Little My
runnerchild
Next: The Sealed Room, by Robert DeFord.

Billed simply as conversation-based and short-short, The Sealed Room does live up to those two descriptors.

Spoiler-ish, I guess.Collapse )

[IFComp2012] Changes
Little My
runnerchild
It's been a while... my real life has kept me incredibly busy for the past two weeks. Last night I finally found time to play another game, though. This time: Changes, by David Given.

The following review is pretty heavy on spoilers.Collapse )

[IFComp2012] Eurydice
Little My
runnerchild
I don't have time to write a full review of Eurydice, by Anonymous, tonight, as I've already stayed up too late playing it. But I feel so strongly about it that I'm going to go ahead and write about it now anyhow.

As usual, no major spoilers, but if you want to play the game with a totally blank slate just click the link above instead.Collapse )

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