Amanda Plays ParserComp

Just weighing in to agree with Drew - my completionist approach to reviewing is a way to channel my compulsive tendencies to hopefully-good ends, but I think there’s a ton of value both to players and authors in the perspective you bring to things. I admit I haven’t read your posts in this thread with a huge amount of depth since I try to avoid other reviews until I write my own, so I’d of course defer to you if it feels like there are particular ways to frame critiques that might land more effectively, but I definitely think your overall approach is a valid one, I like reading your takes, and I’d be sad to see less of this kind of stuff from you!


Honestly, I’d say your approach is a totally fair and reasonable one to take.

As a game author, I believe that all game commands should do something useful. Granted, we slipped up a little on that front, but this was quite quickly corrected.

I’m the sort that would play to completion (unless unwinnable) because I’m more of a beta tester than a player and would report back to the author any bits I think could do with improvement.

Aww! You have a good heart! :innocent:

Personally, I’d consider it constructive criticism and no one should really be offended by that. We’re all non perfect humans and we all make slip ups and mistakes. It’s basically identical to beta testing. As an example, your feedback helped us catch and fix a big oversight on our part! So thanks for that! :blush:

I think walkthroughs can risk spoiling the game outright. Ideally, I’d’ve a tiered hint system where the final hint is the walkthrough. That way you get hints to get you in the right direction but if you still can’t get it, you can get the walkthrough equivalent for that puzzle. @rileypb does this really well!

Keep it up! :smiley:


This is ideal, but hint systems are, in my experience, usually the buggiest part of any game, because they’re usually the least-tested part. I can’t count the number of times I’ve typed HINT uselessly. And my own hint systems have been particularly problematic, which is why I always include a walkthrough. I’ll use hint if I’m going to keep playing, but if I know I don’t want to complete the game on my own I prefer a walkthrough. What I don’t like is when the walkthrough is the only hint system available, because then if I’m tired I’ll use it too much.


Totally agree! Having a buggy hint system kinda spoils the whole thing. However in Inform 7, the extension “Basic Help Menu by Emily Short” does most of the heavy lifting for you. So I believe it should just be a case of adding the hints in tabulated form.


I think your approach is perfectly valid, and I’d rather have more reviewers total than fewer extremely thorough reviewers!

The strategy I use whenever I write reviews (which is less often than I’d like) is to only review something if I’m able to engage with it properly. If I bounce off it early for whatever reason I won’t review it at all – if it’s because of technical reasons I might DM the author, but otherwise I just won’t comment on it publicly. Perhaps this kind of model would be less frustrating for you?


Definitely. I figured that authors would want feedback on playability, and that readers would want feedback on gameplay issues. But I don’t know if any of that is worth it. I think that @kamineko only reviews things he really likes, and maybe that’s the way to go.


After trying a few times to do it all, I realized that I wanted to spend my limited time lifting up things I love, or things that made me think something interesting. I see a lot of value in constructive reviews, but I don’t think I’m cut out for it.


That’s a completely great approach, and I really love the reviews he writes! But of course there’s a whole spectrum between him and @mathbrush – I’ll write constructive reviews of games I didn’t love, but they had to be compelling enough for me to get at least part of the way through. There’s a few highly regarded authors whose games aren’t to my taste, and there’s a few things that will make an otherwise good game unplayable to me (light text on a dark background in particular) so the actual quality of what I end up skipping is all over the map – but it strikes the right balance of fun for me.

The nice thing about the increased number of jams over the last few years is that there’s a lot of opportunities to find your reviewing sweet spot, if you want to experiment!


I’ve really been enjoying your honest take about the comp, because you had a lot of good-practice reminders for making parsers. :green_heart:
iirc, my SpringThing entry last year was one of the few you explicitly didn’t finish because it was not working for you, and I was still super glad you still wrote a few lines about it!!

But then, that’s the player’s problem for spoiling themselves :stuck_out_tongue:
Having them available makes a lot of things less frustrating, especially for starter/mid parser players (def my experience at least)


I’m not sure I’d call it a review per se, but as an author, “I couldn’t even start your game and this is why” is something I very very much want to know! Sometimes it’s something I can fix, sometimes it’s not, but my goal as an author is to have people play my games, and that means if there’s an obstacle to that end I want to deal with it.


True! However one of the issues we had with Sub Rosa’s walkthrough was that it was way too easy to accidentally see bits you didn’t want to see when you just wanted a nudge in the right direction for a particular puzzle.


I think sometimes authors and reviewers come in with different expectations on what reviews should entail. I’ve noticed in the past that you haven’t liked direct criticism of your games, so I changed my reviews to focus on the positive parts and provide a general description for players rather than criticism.


I have one final point to make, and then hopefully we can put this thread to bed.

The fact is that every reviewer is really just some internet rando. We are not getting paid for it and we come to it with our foibles and biases and preferences, and some of it is not going to feel fair. But consider this, everyone. That person played your game, or attempted to play it, and took the time to say something about it, and that’s great. It can sting to hear criticism, especially when you feel it’s unfair. And reviewers are not always right! Some of it may actually BE unfair. But that’s the nature of the beast. If you want a professional review by someone who definitely isn’t drunk, harass the NY Times to review free IF games.

But just remember that whether I loved your game or criticized it or couldn’t/didn’t play it: I’m just some random person. I have no authority. Don’t let me or anyone dim your enthusiasm for doing what you want to do.


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So true! I have this with YouTube videos as well, big time!


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