Reiko's Ramblings and Writings

What I'm reading and writing about lately.

IFComp 2016 Reviews: Various Web Entries (part 2)

Posted by Reiko on November 24, 2016

These are mini reviews of games from the 2016 Interactive Fiction Competition. Scoring criteria can be found here. All of these games were produced in web-based systems.

The Skyscraper and the Scar
Author: Diego Freire, Ruber Eaglenest

Maybe this one is better in Spanish. Both English and Spanish are offered at the beginning, and given the first author’s name, I’m guessing the native language is Spanish. The English translation is rough and choppy, with many awkward phrases. Descriptions seem blurry, like a photo that’s just out of focus.

Even beyond the prose issues, though, this is a short, bloody tale of zombies and revenge. The tagline sums it up pretty well: “violence, vengeance and futility.” It’s not very much fun. The PC is barely characterized beyond desperate. There’s a lot of running around following people or away from zombies, and not much point to any of it.

Time: 10 minutes
Scoring: base 7, -1 for shortness, -1 for grammar and spelling, -1 for unclear writing
Score: 4

Author: Chet Rocketfrak

As far as I can tell, this is either a joke entry or an entry by someone who really doesn’t understand how Inform doors and objects work. Some quotes from actual room text:

“tehre’s a big toilet here. looks like you should jump in the big toilet.
You can see SecondToiletDoorOne here.”

(You can “enter secondtoiletdoorone” to go to another room. “enter toilet” and “x toilet” give error responses. So does “flush”.)

“p.s. in case the name doesnt show up when you do the >x thing its SecondToiletFirstToiletDoorOne. thanks”

(This time the room only says “You can see two doors here” but “x door” doesn’t work.)

I can’t find any point to any of this, nor anything to do besides wander between poorly implemented toilet-rooms.

Time: 5 minutes
Scoring: base 4, -1 for shortness, -1 for lack of any sensible responses, -1 for spelling errors
Score: 1

500 Apocalypses
Author: Phantom Williams

This piece is a fictional memorial of the destruction of five hundred extraterrestrial civilizations. As such, it’s an interesting concept, but there’s no plot and no real interaction. The dots that represent the individual entries are arranged all on one page in ascii art, and many have hyperlinks to other entries, but each entry is a brief description of a totally separate scenario. As such, it’s more of a writing exercise than anything else. Prompt: write 100-500 words about the death of a civilization. Repeat 500 times. If there’s anything more to it than that, I didn’t discover it after reading through a couple dozen entries. Some are clever. Some are grotesque. There are a lot of words here, but very little organization. I don’t feel compelled to read any more. It’s mostly rather depressing since they’re all about endings.

Time: 20 min
Scoring: base 7, -1 for lack of plot, -1 for shortness, -1 for body horror
Score: 4

Quest for the Traitor Saint
Author: Owlor

This is a cute piece, with lots of rough hand-drawn artwork of alien horses. Although the story seems to be trying to deal with deep themes like diplomacy and cultural differences, the horse companion never feels very alien. The text is also full of typos, mismatched tenses, and awkward wordings. Then I got to an ending and it was very unsatisfying. There’s even an author’s postscript more or less apologizing for the nature of the ending. If you feel the need to apologize for the ending, that probably means it should be revised.

Time: 30 minutes
Scoring: base 7, -1 for typos, -1 for unsatisfying ending
Score: 5


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