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The Non-Comp Review Project 2004: Introduction

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Anonymous
January 2, 2005 3:47:53 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.int-fiction (More info?)

THE NON-COMP REVIEW PROJECT 2004
A collection of reviews by:
Greg Boettcher
Mike Snyder
Jessica Knoch
Paul O'Brian
John Menichelli
Dan Shiovitz

Here's where you'll find reviews of all the non-comp IF games of 2004.
Yes, all. (Well, okay, with a few exceptions, concerning which see
Footnote 1.)

I'd like to thank my collaborators and others who helped me. I never
could have done this project alone.

-- A very special thanks to Mike Snyder and Jessica Knoch, both of
whom wrote all-new reviews for this collection at my request.
-- Thanks also to Paul O'Brian, John Menichelli, and Dan Shiovitz for
permission to reprint their reviews.
-- And thanks to Emily Short, who gave me permission to use a couple
of her reviews (even though I ended up not needing them).
-- Finally, thanks to David Welbourn, who helped me improve my list of
the year's non-comp games.

PLEASE NOTE: A nicer-looking HTML version of this review collection is
available at:
http://www.springthing.net/noncomp/noncomp2004.htm

(I guess it's inappropriate to put a non-comp review collection at a
competition web site, but what can I say. I wanted to put the page at
gregboettcher.com, but I ran into problems. When I can, I'll move the
page and redirect people to the new location, which will probably be
http://www.gregboettcher.com/games/reviews/noncomp2004.....)

This project took up my whole month of December, so I hope some people
find it valuable. Basically this grew out of my desire to produce a set
of reviews more interesting than just another set of IF Comp reviews. I
have plans to do something like this for next year, but not in the same
way. I will post my plans about this as soon as I have properly
formulated them. Basically, though, I would like to get more people
involved next year. If you would be interested in helping with this,
email me.

* * * * * * * * * *

GAMES COVERED IN THIS COLLECTION:

4-STAR GAMES
Future Boy! by Kent Tessman
The Dreamhold, by Andrew Plotkin
Necrotic Drift, by Robb Sherwin
Return to Ditch Day, by Michael J. Roberts
The Isle of the Cult, by Rune Berg
The Cabal, by Stephen Bond
The Act of Misdirection, by Cal Harrison

3-STAR GAMES
The Magic Show, by Jason Mac Innes
The Enterprise Incidents, by Brendan Desilets
IF Quake, by Jason Bergman
Reefer Island, by Steve Barrera
Back to Life... Unfortunately, by David Whyld

2-STAR GAMES
The Legend of Zelda: Legacy of a Princess, by Hiyazuki Sakamora as "Red
Jett"
Solitary, by Kahlan
ETO, by Ian Waddell
Dunwich, by Marijn Haverbeke
T.I.M.E., by Christopher Coonce-Ewing
ImagiDroids, by Woodfish
Darkness, by Richard Otter
George Bush and the PDB, by Curt Siffert
Eric the Power-Mad Dungeon Master, by Mark Arenz
Jet-Blue, by Paul T. Johnson
Paint!!! by David Whyld

1-STAR GAMES
Where Are My Keys? by Richard Otter
The Last Hour, by Roberto Grassi
The Gate, by Owen Parish
Moonglow, by Dave Bernazzani
Catseye, by Dave Bernazzani
The Golden French Fry, by Paul Allen Panks
Get Magazine. Open Magazine. Read Article. by Simon Scott
B-Venture, by Paul Allen Panks
Dunric's 5K Adventure, by Paul Allen Panks
Fairlight Castle, by Paul Allen Panks
Halite, by Paul Allen Panks
The Melarkian, by Paul Allen Panks
The Quest for Waitomo Cave, by Paul Allen Panks
Tiny Basic 8K Adventure, by Paul Allen Panks
PTBAD4, by Jonathan Berman as "Xorax"
Affrontotron, by Joe Mason

* * * * * * * * * *

RATINGS AND RANKINGS

The ratings (1 to 4 stars) and rankings ("best" to "worst") were
assigned by me, Greg Boettcher, after playing all the games.

Take my ratings and rankings with a grain of salt. Better yet, ignore
them if you want. They're just one man's opinion.

* * * * * * * * * *

FOOTNOTE 1

I said this collection covers all the non-comp IF games of 2004. Well,
okay, there are some exceptions. Here's what I'm not including:

-- No games in foreign languages. (I would have been glad to review
English translations of foreign IF games, but there were none that I
found this year, outside of the IF Comp.)
-- No new ported versions of previously existing games. (Although,
again, I would have considered translations.) (Actually, I made an
exception for IF Quake, but it is a rather unique case.)
-- No games that aren't playable on a Windows platform.
-- No pornographic games.
-- No demos.
-- No self-confessed programming exercises, unless I thought they were
something somebody might enjoy. (The ones I excluded on this basis were
Guss's Death and three games by Eva Vikstrom. See below.)
-- No games from any competition, except for the XYZZY awards, the
InsideADRIFT awards, and the ADRIFT Game of the Year Competition. (I am
making an exception for ETO, a game that was entered into Home of the
Underdogs' Game-Making Competition, because it didn't receive much
feedback from the IF community.)
-- Obviously, I might have missed some other games too. If I missed
your game, let me know and I will consider reviewing it and adding the
review to my web site. No promises; I'm pretty burned out from all
these reviews.

For example, here are a few games I left out:

-- The Quest of the Golden Banana, by Eric Eve. I am classifying this
as a demo, not a game. It's a demo of considerable size, created for
the sake of Eve's TADS 3 Tour Guide, a very good reference. However, if
you approach The Golden Banana expecting a full-fledged game, you'll be
disappointed. Play Square Circle instead, which took 5th place in the
IF Comp.
-- The Old Church, Conversation with a Picture, and Sigurd Fafnesbane,
by Eva Vikstrom. If I reviewed these games, I would be forced to give
them very bad reviews, which doesn't seem fair, since they are
basically exercises to learn ADRIFT, not full-fledged games.
-- Guss's Death, by Kyle Frownfelter. Winnable in six turns, during
the course of which two or three things happen that are eye-rollingly
unrealistic. However, this is labeled as "an exercise in Interactive
Fiction," so I'll treat this as a programming exercise, not a game.
-- Endgame, by Howard Sherman. This was a commercial release, and
there is no demo available for it, so there was no way of reviewing it
unless somebody wanted to buy it, and nobody I knew wanted to do that.
Anyway, considering Sherman's reaction to past reviewers, I suspect he
won't mind that I'm leaving him out.
-- Roadside Adventure, by Kevin Venske. I'm not including it because
it's no longer available. It was on his web site, but he took it down.
-- Escape from Auriga and Die Vollkommene Masse. I was going to
include these games, which were entered into the IF Comp but were then
both taken out for one reason or another. I realized, however, that
neither of these games is publicly available anymore, so writing a
review of them seems pointless.

More about : comp review project 2004 introduction

Anonymous
January 2, 2005 5:25:32 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.int-fiction (More info?)

David Whyld wrote:
> Thanks for the reviews of my game.
>
> Just a point on the review of "Paint!!!": you say the phone didn't
ring.
> Were you playing it with the normal Adrift Runner or on an
interpreter? The
> phone rings properly on the Runner (it makes a beeping sound to
indicate a
> message has been left).

I was playing it with the normal Adrift Runner. It's funny, I didn't
notice any beeping sound. I just noticed that when I tried answering
the phone, it worked sometimes.

Okay, maybe I missed something. But still, it seems weird to me that
"ANSWER PHONE" would result in hearing a recorded message.

By the way, your web site came in handy more than once during this
project, especially when I was trying to figure out which ADRIFT games
were comp games and which were non-comp games. Thanks for that.

Greg
Anonymous
January 2, 2005 10:11:49 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.int-fiction (More info?)

David Whyld wrote:
> Weird. It *should* say in the text " The phone suddenly makes a
beeping
> sound as a message is recorded onto it. " every time a message is
left on
> the phone. Maybe it got lost amidst all the other text.
>
> What works better than "answer phone"? I suppose you could have
"check
> messages" or "listen to phone". Maybe I'll include them if I bring
out a new
> version of the game.

Ideally, I think the answering machine should work as it would in real
life. If your answering machine works like mine, then "examine phone"
would reveal the "play" button. Then "press play" would be the way to
check your messages, and maybe the ways you mentioned should work too.

At a minimum, though, if you want to allow the messages to be checked
by "ANSWER PHONE," then you should precede each message with something
like, "A previously recorded message begins to play:". That would have
made me less confused. I think when I first played the game I knew I
was trying to check for messages, but I couldn't figure out how to do
that. Eventually I tried answering the phone instead, and then I heard
the message, but I didn't recognize it as a recorded message. See what
I mean?

Greg
Related resources
Anonymous
January 3, 2005 12:56:29 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.int-fiction (More info?)

"Greg Boettcher" <WRITETOgregAT@gregboettcher.com> wrote in message
news:1104698873.853597.169910@c13g2000cwb.googlegroups.com...
> THE NON-COMP REVIEW PROJECT 2004
>
> Here's where you'll find reviews of all the non-comp IF games of 2004.
> Yes, all. (Well, okay, with a few exceptions, concerning which see
> Footnote 1.)
>

Thanks for the reviews of my game.

Just a point on the review of "Paint!!!": you say the phone didn't ring.
Were you playing it with the normal Adrift Runner or on an interpreter? The
phone rings properly on the Runner (it makes a beeping sound to indicate a
message has been left).
Anonymous
January 3, 2005 1:49:22 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.int-fiction (More info?)

"Greg Boettcher" <WRITETOgregAT@gregboettcher.com> wrote in message
news:1104704732.143723.119970@c13g2000cwb.googlegroups.com...
> David Whyld wrote:
>> Thanks for the reviews of my game.
>>
>> Just a point on the review of "Paint!!!": you say the phone didn't
> ring.
>> Were you playing it with the normal Adrift Runner or on an
> interpreter? The
>> phone rings properly on the Runner (it makes a beeping sound to
> indicate a
>> message has been left).
>
> I was playing it with the normal Adrift Runner. It's funny, I didn't
> notice any beeping sound. I just noticed that when I tried answering
> the phone, it worked sometimes.

Weird. It *should* say in the text " The phone suddenly makes a beeping
sound as a message is recorded onto it. " every time a message is left on
the phone. Maybe it got lost amidst all the other text.

>
> Okay, maybe I missed something. But still, it seems weird to me that
> "ANSWER PHONE" would result in hearing a recorded message.
>

What works better than "answer phone"? I suppose you could have "check
messages" or "listen to phone". Maybe I'll include them if I bring out a new
version of the game.

> By the way, your web site came in handy more than once during this
> project, especially when I was trying to figure out which ADRIFT games
> were comp games and which were non-comp games. Thanks for that.
>
> Greg
>

Thanks.
!