Is it right to judge hypertext games...?

…in a competition traditionally associated with parser games?


The Angel of Death is slow to change minds. While the Angel rests, take up the blessed sword!
Rain blessings on the good. Even the hypertext good.
Rain wrath on the evil. Including the hypertext evil.

Don’t wait for the Angel!
Play hypertext games.
Vote for hypertext games.

You can learn to play a new game by playing it. The idea of this post is that by taking a chance and playing hypertext games you can learn how to play them, eventually, how to understand what they are trying to do, and why.

It’s a journey I have begun but not yet completed. Hence my doubts.

I think that battle is over and everyone won. [emote];)[/emote]

Is it? Until a hypertext game wins the question of voting bias won’t go away.

Not really. Hypertext games have gotten amazing places last year, to the extent that it was very unlikely there was bias - the game people liked best simply happened to be parser. Of course, I have no idea if this is true, not being a mind reader, [emote];)[/emote] but there have been no demonstrations as big as last year’s “Parser Is Dead” fiasco.

Of course, if people who genuinely like parser best (and this started off as a parser community) rate a parser game higher because they genuinely thought it was better than its closest hypertext competitor… that surely doesn’t count as bias.

I would be amazingly wary of a hypertext winning “just because a hypertext game has to win to make a point”. It’s all about the games, not the development system…

EDIT - Also, is it wise to have a poll like this? If someone actually starts voting “no”, won’t there suddenly be a lot more trouble than it was worth? It’s the old adage, “don’t ask questions you won’t like the answer to”. And if no one votes “no”, was there a point to it at all?

(which is all rather precious coming from someone like me, who could stand to think a few more times before posting anything, but there you go)

There are grounds to vote NO. If you believe voters don’t understand and aren’t trying to understand hypertext games then it isn’t a level playing field. A hypertext game could be the best game but be rejected.

You learn to play a new game by playing it. The idea of the post is that by playing hypertext games you can learn how to play them, eventually, how to understand what they are trying to do, and why.

It’s a journey I have begun but not yet completed. Hence my doubts.

I think I understand you better now. Thanks for clarifying. [emote]:)[/emote] Your original post led me to believe you were going in a different direction, sorry about that.

Thanks, Peter. Post amended!

I mean Creatures Such As We got a close second last year, right? I think at this point whether or not a hypertext game wins we can at least be confident that it’s possible for one to win.

Although being familiar with a medium gives you better ability to understand what an individual work is trying to do and better criteria to form more objective judgments (obviously not completely objective), I don’t think the Comp has ever required that level of critical experience. I think all that has ever been expected of judges is that they take it seriously.

I’m slowly becoming more conversant with hypertext and Twine conventions, too. But in the meantime, I think it’s still okay to judge a work of a less familiar medium by the common elements and characteristics that the medium shares with other forms. You can still talk about the plot structure of a play even if you only know stories through movies and novels. A small degree of detachment among some judges and reviewers might even be a good thing.

[rant=“theological analogy”]The Angel of Death will judge Twine by its common laws of interaction, story, and accessibility, so that no game is without excuse. The thing we can never know is whether or not the parser itself is the Way, or whether other forms will also be drawn into the Fellowship, so that the command prompt will recline with the hypertext.[/rant]

What if movies and novels have qualities or conventions that plays don’t commonly have? By using special criteria to judge plays - criteria which apparently aren’t shared by most play users - are you sitting in judgement on plays (and on play-users / play authors)?

You don’t have to wait for the Angel of Death, you can vote for Twine games yourself!
Don’t call it “interaction” (turning a page and getting a new page is interaction!) call it “agency”.

I don’t understand and am not trying to understand them. I like parser games, or, as Infocom called them, “interactive fiction”.
I don’t play any kind of game in a browser.
Fortunately for the majority that disagrees with me, I haven’t voted in IFComp for a number of years.

Unless the IF Comp changes its name, then its name defines what should be accepted for judging. I (Interactive) F (Fiction) should be just that. A fictitious story (even if based on fact) that can be read Interactively. (be it via a mouse click on a hyperlink, or keyboard command or sentence to be parsed) So long as it moves the story along from the start to a finish.

If you choose not to play certain types based on your own preferences, then I think you could be missing out on some great stories. In other words ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover.’

Hence us having a story about a cat which leaves one scratching one’s head about its place in the Comp.

And possibly maybe Actual Sunglight could have been a comp entry, by that logic?

IF is a label. No genre/medium labels in gaming seek to describe the genre/medium literally, otherwise almost every game would be an RPG 'cause you’re playing a role. IF used to mean parser games. Now it means parser and choice-based games. If that label is to expand further, it should not be because of the title of a comp that surreptitiously meant you could stuff other stuff in there.

If we’re going by what gets listed in the IFDB, it’s been a long time since IF was exclusively parser.

I can’t tell whether you’re responding to my post. If you are, I did say “Now it means parser and choice-based games.” If not, apologies.

If you’re saying that “IF meaning parser and choice is not all that recent and has been around for much longer”, then you can’t really use that as evidence, because all that proves is that there have been CYOA games for a long time. And even if they were considered IF at the time (which I don’t know but rather doubt, partly because the genres were not as well-defined as they are today, and were still happy to be games/interactive stories (a term which is not necessarily what we understand as IF today, as Fallout is also an interactive story)) that won’t necessarily mean that they were the kind of IF that was understood as “Interactive Fiction” when Inform came out and R*IF was a thing and “Interactive Fiction” really meant something in the post-Infocom years.

This is only relevant because it would be that community that would eventually create the IFComp. They were not thinking to judge graphic adventures or first person shooters, they were thinking to judge IF as they knew it.

It’s only a label. [emote]:P[/emote] Taking that label literally to justify the inclusion of any game of any sort in the comp is just… misdirection. Doesn’t feel right. Thought provoking, to be sure, but hypothetical discussion like this seems counter-productive.

I don’t want to say much in this thread because I don’t want to break the author gag rule, but I feel like this statement is partially informed by something I said in another thread on the general design forum. So I just wanted to address one thing.

I wouldn’t consider turning a page in a book “interaction” in a meaningful sense, and that’s not what I meant by my comments in the other thread. An “interactive” version of Moby-Dick was released last year where the only thing you did was turn the page to read more text. It was exactly the same as any normal Moby-Dick book you could get in a bookshop. This game was created specifically to prove the point that “turning a page” is not quality interaction.

But it is possible to make a linear hypertext game that could not be transposed to a traditional book format, because the text is structured differently to capitalize on the interactive component. The Moby-Dick game does not require interaction. Something like growth by Liz England does.

Lotta pointless gatekeeping going on in this thread

I’d point to Climbing 208 Feet Up the Ruin Wall as a pretty good example of that.

Yeah, that’s another good one! There are tons out there.

Porpentine is especially masterful at that.

You could even say that Photopia and Rameses do the same, even if they are parser games. They’re extremely linear, but they gain a lot by the interactivity.

IF can be lots of things, to be sure. I don’t want to press my point any more, but I want to chime in at how absolutely I agree with the CMG quote and the post subsequent posts.