I have never judged in the IFComp before, so I’m probably going to get things hopelessly wrong.
I thought I’d write brief reviews of the games I play
So I’m going to start with:
Grandma Bethlinda's Remarkable Egg
I had high hopes for this one, since I loved figuring out what all the gadgets and gizmos did in Grandma Bethlinda’s Variety Box. But interacting with the egg just felt like I was yelling commands at Alexa/Siri with the game suggesting words I might like to try, hoping something would happen.
I figured out early on that I would be just doing random things and waiting until the “lockpick” command would become available, and somehow the egg would do something to pick the lock, and that’s exactly what happened.
I tried figuring out some of the extra content, but then I really did just feel like I was just typing random words, hoping for the best.
On the bright side, I didn’t encounter many bugs. There was probably one with the internal steam cleaning thingy, where I managed to get it to 100% but nothing happened. But that could’ve been just me.
Everything else worked as it should as far as I can tell.
Maybe the next whatsit from the wonderful Grandma Bethlinda will be more my thing.
Good luck to all the participants.
I was confused by that at first too. It turns out you need to have 100% steam at the turn when you get the message about too much/little steam. Getting 100% too early doesn’t help.
Ah, thanks. I’ll keep that in mind if I ever play it again.
I am about 90% and nothing happens anymore…
Another great game from Agnieszka Trzaska. Similar to 4x4 Galaxy. You’re in charge of a ship, and you set sail round the titular archipelago, exploring the islands, trying to complete the randomly generated quest the game assigns you at the start.
I’m far from completing my quest, but I’ve enjoyed seeing what each island has to offer, trying to get rich as well as increasing my skills.
It reminds me a lot of bbs games or even how some MUDs work. Before I played any of Agnieszka’s games, I had no idea that Twine could be this powerful.
This game should do well, I think.
I’m really bad at writing reviews.
You mention you are blind. Have you read Aaron A. Reed’s article about Shadows of Doom? It’s part of his magnificent “50 years of text games” series. 2005: Shades of Doom - by Aaron A. Reed - 50 Years of Text Games (substack.com)
The article tells the story of David Greenwood, a blind game-developer who goes very far in pushing the envelope of what games for blind people can be. It’s especially about Shades of Doom, a first person shooter that uses only sound and voiceover to describe the environment (and the monsters) to the player.
Should you ever, like David Greenwood, decide that you want something different out of a gaming experience than interactive fiction has to offer, the links in the article may be interesting.
Yes, I read that article. It was a brilliant take on it as they all have been. I’ve enjoyed every one Aaron’s put out so far.
I was a member of the Audyssey community during the early days of Shades of Doom’s development. I tested early builds and gave feedback. I remember the alpha version, which was just a tiny area with a couple of monsters just as a proof of concept.
It really was a game changer, literally. I don’t think I’d be wrong in saying that it was the audiogames equivalent of Adventure in how much impact it has. They were audio games before but nothing like Shades.
I’ve played quite a lot of the games that came after it, such as Super Liam, which was the first audio only side scroller, and I’m probably going to give the veil: Shadow of the Crown a go in a while.
All that said, I always end up returning back to interactive fiction. I’ve never really had fast reactions. Most of them tend to be realtime and I end up getting frustrated when I keep dying over and over again. IF doesn’t usually depend on how fast you can mash buttons, which is more my style.
Wow! It must have been great to be part of such an exciting leap forward.
I’ve mashed my share of buttons in my childhood, but it’s only when I discovered IF that I felt at home with a computer game. The slow pace has a great deal to do with that, as well as the whole part where you actually, you know, read the game/story.
Yes. It’s great to sit back and take it all in, even the bits where you’d be frantically button mashing trying to escape or whatever.
Actually there’s been an upswing in Inform 6 activity recently. One reason is the advent of a library called Punyinform that helps people use Inform 6 to easily write for a ton of 8-bit platforms as well as the Z-Machine. The other reason is, uh, I forget! I think there was some useful technical update or overhaul.
Ah yeah I remember seeing stuff about Punyinform now you mention it.
I submitted some of my votes last week, so I thought I’d do another review.
Dr Horror's House of Terror
I’m not a horror fan, but I played this one anyway since it was listed as ‘comic horror’, and I’m glad I did. It was funny, but also had some important things to say about the film industry.
yes there are some quite gruesome moments, mostly involving the various ways you dispatch the guards. The one with the cremation oven I thought was the worst. Wasn’t that a Friends episode? Anyway, couldn’t I have just had a drink with her and explain things?
The puzzles were a mixed bag for me. Some I figured out on my own but others I needed hints for, and it took me a bit to realise that I would need things from other studios to solve the one I was currently working on.
As far as I could tell, I didn’t encounter any bugs, and only one typo. In studio 4, when you’re hiding from the guard it says ‘Fortunately, it looks like her mind is only half on his job’.
I didn’t win the final battle, but I plan to try again if there’s a post comp release. I hope there is as it was brilliant.
Now voting has closed, I just want to say good luck to everyone that entered, and I hope you found my reviews such as they are helpful in some way.