Reiko's Ramblings and Writings

What I'm reading and writing about lately.

IFComp 2015 Review: Recorded

Posted by Reiko on November 29, 2015

This is a review of a game from the 2015 Interactive Fiction Competition. Scoring criteria can be found here.

Recorded
Author: Nick Junius
Format: Glulx

The entirety of this little piece seems to be wandering around a mysterious complex reading mysterious messages, and ending up still trapped at the end. It’s quite short, but given that you have to actually read all the messages before anything changes, it’s easy to end up wandering around wondering what to do next (if you happened to miss a message, which I did initially). It would be far better if each individual room had an action to take and a visible change when the room is activated, so it’s clear which rooms still need action before anything will happen.

The prose tries to be evocative but ends up terribly vague instead. Plus there are a number of typos, it’s/its issues, awkward wording, etc, and a few minor bugs, such as the way there’s no confirmation message whenever you pick up the first item. To its credit, the locked door automatically opens when you try to go through it after having the right item. There’s just not much to this one; I would have liked to know more about why someone has to be the Recorder at all.

Another oddity is that the walkthrough is neither a plain list of commands needed to finish the game, nor an explanation of the actions needed, but a full transcript of a completed playthrough. You could just read that and not even play the game, and you wouldn’t miss anything.

Time: 20 min (5 min just wandering around rereading messages)
Score: base 7, -1 for shortness, -1 for grammar issues, -1 for bugs
Score: 4

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