Doug Egan comp 2021 reviews

I launched this year’s comp season by playing “Fourbyfourian Quarryin’” by Andrew Schultz. Given the rhyme scheme in the title, I expected some wordplay, perhaps involving numbers or words which included numbers, or four letter words or somesuch. The game is, in fact, a chess simulator written in Inform. The simulator is put to use here to present a series of end game puzzles with four select pieces on a five by five board. My chess skill was at just the right level that I found the puzzles workable and fun. A more experienced player might solve them immediately. The game includes a light back story to hold it all together. Overall, a cool programming trick, and I suspect modular enough that it could be expanded to host more challenging problems.

Next I tackled Arthur DiBianca’s “Grandma Bethlinda’s Remarkable Egg”. This is a light puzzle involving (mostly) one word commands. The egg does indeed respond to a remarkable variety of commands, and there are a ton of “Easter Eggs” hidden in this egg story. I doubt I discovered even a fraction of them, as reached the most basic end state in a half hour or less. The fun of this will be going back to see what I missed.

Third game I played was “The Song of the Mockingbird” by Mike Carletta, which was my favorite of these three. Another parser game, this more traditional than Schulz’s chess simulator or DiBianca’s puzzle box. I liked the setting, a post-Civil War Texas western. There are puzzles are modestly challenging, but I managed to finish without the hints. The post-script notes are fun to read, full of interesting facts about the historical context and inspirations for the characters and the game.


Thanks for playing Mockingbird, and for your kind review!

Interesting reviews. I think to start with the last teviewed. And welcome back again man.

This week played “Libonotus Cup” by Nils Fagerburg, “Unfortunate” by Jessica Elizabeth Reed, and “Plane Walker” by Jack Comfort.

“Plane Walker” has an evocative setting, and empty passenger set, apparently on autopilot, flying North. I was thankful for the compass directions. I’ve never been very good with fore and aft. But some weak puzzle design and fiddly parser frustrated me quickly. Needs more testing.

“Unfortunate” also needs more testing, but the concept is intriguing. A fortune teller has the power to make their forecasts come true. Other reviews have already reported the major bugs, and I found the same, but I think it would have kept my interest if there were just more to do. I would have enjoyed a greater variety of conversation topics, and a deeper world model that allowed me to examine and interact with a variety of objects. When I logged on to the online version tonight to give it a third try, I found the online version was no longer active.

“Libonotus Cup” is the best of these three. In the first half of this campy pirate adventure the player has to repair their ship. This part of the adventure plays like traditional parser fiction, including some clever and original puzzles (I liked the little voodoo doll puzzle). The choices made here determine some of the options in the second half, which plays more like a choice script, or perhaps even a gamebook. Lots of the available options are determined by the choices the player has made earlier. I played and replayed several times, never ranking above third place in the race, but I enjoyed the story and game each time.


I hope that’s a technical glitch. I reviewed the game, and I’m conscious I can sound like a buzzkill when I criticize, but I did think it was an intriguing premise.

– Jim

Hi - definitely an error! I’ve reached out to the organizers to let them know so that the online version can be fixed. I uploaded a bug fix a day or two ago, and I’m guessing that’s a factor. Thanks for mentioning it!

And thank you also for your thoughtful review–you didn’t come off as a buzzkill at all. Unfortunate is the first thing I’ve made in Inform7, and everyone’s feedback has already helped me to learn and think about so much in terms of what could improve my next attempt. Much appreciated!


Welcome to intfiction.

You game is only short list.

Thank you.

Welcome to the forums! You should ask the @moderators to add you to the author’s group. We have a secret forum where we gossip about all the people who didn’t enter. :wink:


Thanks, will do!

After discussing this in a chat, it seems possible that this last time you just uploaded the gblorb file. Can you try uploading the whole release folder again?

This has been a really slow year with me and IF comp. I had to scramble to get my scores posted today to make sure they would count. But there have been a few worth mentioning.

“And Then You Come to a House Not Unlike the Previous One” by BJ Best is a bittersweet story about a relationship between two adolescents playing an 8 bit text game together. One of them is about to move away, and the kids are having trouble talking about their feelings. There are recursive games inside of games, a mechanism I’ve seen used before, but it remains an amusing novelty. I was a frustrated that the “undo” button is disabled. The online version may support a save and restore feature, but that was something I did not discover until too late, after I had made a regrettable choice near the end game. Playing again, I discovered some additional dialogue options that I had missed the first time through, but never made it to the end game a second time to achieve a better outcome.

“A Papal Summons” by Bitter Karella is a dark atmospheric story written in Twine. We’ve been summoned to visit the pope, but by the time we arrive he is already near death. A story likely to offend some true believers, this free-thinker found it an entertaining work of horror.