Let's Judge the Comp Blurbs, Again

I just gotta warn you guys, my computer’s in the shop, so updates on this may be short and sporadic. But let’s begin!

100,000 years: This appears to be some kind of time travel story? Or maybe you play an immortal bacteria or something. Seems pretty interesting in any case.

9Lives Ah jeez, another class assignment. I really hope this is good, because I’d feel really sorry for these guys if it’s not.

Autumn’s Daughter Some kind of story about feminism, maybe? It’s kind of a funny blurb, because it says a little too much while also saying a little too little.

Work break’s up, gotta run. (See, told you these would be short.)

Here are mine, in order of quality. I’m only really looking at titles, though sometimes I got a little context from the blurbs.

1: Their angelical understanding: Say what you like about Porpentine, she can drop a mean title. I’d prefer it with capitalisation, but no matter.

2: Bell Park, Youth Detective: This tells you everything you need to know about the game. ‘Youth Detective’ is just right.

3: The Paper Bag Princess: Yes, I know this is a borrowed title, but it’s still a cracking good one.

4: Coloratura: This is a nice word, slightly hamstrung by my inability to ever remember what it means. (It means elaborate, fancy melody. This suggests something with lots of frills and details. That is encouraging.)

5: Vulse: Visceral out-of-context syllable! Suggests that the game will either be unbearably pretentious or really quite good. I am sort of drawn to it despite myself.

6: Robin & Orchid: This would be better if the names didn’t run together into the phrase ‘robbing an orchard’, which would not only be an -ing title (boo), but a terrible waste of an opportunity to employ the word ‘scrump’. ‘Orchid & Robin’ would have been better. Anyway, quirky names suggest quirky people, which is good.

7: Captain Verdeterre’s Plunder: Gives you a good idea of what to expect. Trouble is, that’s just ‘pirates’. ‘Verdeterre’ is not a strong word.

8: Ollie Ollie Oxen Free: Feels like something from the Stephen King school of horror titling. Which isn’t bad, even if it rarely lets you know a bloody thing about the contents.

9: Blood on the Heather: This is the perfect title for cheesy Celtsploitation horror. The sequels will be Death Wears A Kilt and Deirdre Of The Slayers. Everyone will have copious knotwork tattoos and flaming hair.

10: Machine of Death: Would place higher if it wasn’t already an internet-favourite bestseller that’s beginning to feel overexposed. (Yeah, I know, Creative Commons.)

11: Final Girl: This feels like an SF indie comic series, although whether it’s a 90s T&A action thing or a dark allusive feminist thing is as yet undetermined. Not quite as euphonious as it might be - it reads better than it sounds - but it does invite the question ‘so how exactly is she final?’, which is probably the idea.

12: Dream Pieces: Would be better if I didn’t keep thinking ‘isn’t there a jazz instrumental with that title somewhere in my music library?’

13: Autumn’s Daughter: The internal rhyme makes it a little bit too tumpty-tumpty. (Autumn’s daughter, Portia Borgia, had more fun than good girls oughta: caution never brought her thoughts in, fought off-court and wrought a slaughter.) Both of those are strong words, but together they feel a bit overwrought.

14: Trapped in Time: Everything about this screams ‘vintage pulp homage’, and probably CYOA pulp.

15: The House at the End of Rosewood Street: Crazy Uncle House Mystery! Or not. This isn’t perfect, but it does have a certain classic, clean-lines feel about it.

16: Impostor Syndrome: Almost certainly an earnest Twine game explaining a phenomenon that you know about already. Points for accurate labelling, points off for picking the most straightforward title possible.

17: Moquette: When your teenage D&D party ends up in 18th-century Paris and the GM needs to come up with a name for an expensive whore in a hurry, chances are he will go for Moquette. In reality it means a sort of carpet-like fabric, but nobody knows this.

18: Mrs. Wobbles & The Tangerine House: Trying a bit too hard, but gives you a good idea of the tone.

19: Who Among Us: Feels like an Incomplete Quote Title, and itches at my brain trying to remember what the full quote is. (Google’s autosuggest: doesn’t like nascar, has not sinned, doesn’t love nascar, is the greatest. I suspect they don’t have Nascar in Russia, which is a point in their favour.)

20: Saving John -ing titles are, with a very few exceptions, annoying. John is the ultimate everyman name, which is not of itself very exciting. As titles go, this is sort of like taking a pass - no harm, no foul.

21: Sam and Leo Go To The Bodega: Memorable, but riffing too hard on Harold and Kumar.

22: Solarium: One-word nouns are usually a good bet, but this isn’t the most exciting either as a concept or a sound.

23: Dad vs. Unicorn: Again, gives a good impression of what to expect, but that’s something worryingly close to Axe Cop.

24: A Wind Blown from Paradise: This is aiming for a classic-novel feel, but sounds more like a 70s soap opera.

25: Our Boys in Uniform: Would be much better if not for the big flashing sign saying HEAVY-HANDED POLITICS GAME AHOY.

26: The Cardew House: Suggestive - a Crazy Uncle House Mystery is all but proclaimed - but points lost for the worst blurb ever.

27: 100,000 years: The words hundred and thousand are both good strong words for titles. Put them together, and it’s too much. The scope of your game may make that precise period non-negotiable, but if so, express ‘a bloody long time’ without numbers. But bonus points because a game that attempts something of this scale might be interesting, and if a title gets you interested in a game, that’s huge.

28: The Wizard’s Apprentice: A stock title. It’s a stock title for a reason, but in an IF context it’s unlikely to mean good things.

29: Threediopolis: …okay, it’s about a city, I like city settings. But aren’t most cities 3D, in general?

30: Mazredugin: Vaguely Eastern European-sounding, but only vaguely. Doesn’t help that I have no idea how to pronounce it.

31: Reels: The blurb says this is about sorting reel-to-reel recordings. That does not sound like my idea of fun times, but at least it’s an accurate title.

32: Tex Bonaventure and the Temple of the Water of Life: If you’re going to do Indy-style titles, you need to make 'em a lot punchier than this. ‘Bonaventure’ isn’t punchy, and the X of the Y of Z construction makes me wonder if you’re going for parody.

33: 9Lives: Possibly about a cat. Possibly just an indication that the game involves lots of death. Lack of space between number and word impresses nobody.

34: The Challenge: Really boring. If you’re going to do a ‘The Noun’ title, you’d better pick a better noun than this.

35: Further: The boringest.

A horror movie thing, isn’t it? The Last Girl Standing for the sequel, as codified in Scream. I haven’t seen Scream.

And the completed quote is fictitious, too!

Sam, I’m assuming the Paradise title is a reference to Benjamin on Klee, which might be very cool:

Whether it’s Benjamin on Klee, I can’t say. But two subway games … there’s a trend one wouldn’t have anticipated.

Having played the game, sounds likely.

Sorry, I’ll take it down. I thought that rule only applied to content [emote]:([/emote]

Their angelical understanding

This is the second time this week I’ve come across the word “ideation” (and the second time ever), and my opinion has not changed. It’s a dumb word.

Still, it would be nice if somebody would do something that referred to a different passage from Benjamin.

Having no prior knowledge of Angelus Novus, my curiosity was sufficiently peaked by the quoted text to google it. I laughed my ass off.

The term ‘final girl’ was first coined in horror film criticism and subsequently worked its way into mainstream use.

  • Wade

‘Suicidal ideation’ is the exact phrase in which it’s used 90% of the time, describing a potential side effect of anti-depressants.

  • Wade

A ‘solid 5’ is five people who are really tight. Some would describe them as a team of superfriends. They say things like ‘Are we solid?’ then reply to themselves with a confidently stated ‘Solid!’ while making the corresponding hand movement of affirmation. It affirms their solidarity.

  • Wade

Wade, jargon can still be dumb. Though I guess in this case, those who will care about the trigger will be used to the term.

Ahem I’m back! Sorry that took so long. Starting where I left off:

Bell Park, Youth Detective: Hey, a Brendan Patrick Hennessey game! I was hoping it would be another entry in the wildly successful You Will Select a Decision series, but that’s just selfish of me. Still hoping it’ll have that old school CYOA charm, though.

Blood on the Heather: While I appreciate the second sentence for all the context it gives to the first, I can’t help but to believe that stating what your game is trying to do so baldy like that is a huge mistake. Imagine if, say, Vince Gilligan introduced his Breaking Bad pitch by saying “This is gonna be a homage to all my favorite crime and Western movies from the 70’s. Plus druggie jokes.” It’d never get off the ground!

Captain Verdeterre’s Plunder: Seems like this’ll be about rodent pirates. I feel like I can get a good idea of what this game is about, even though the blurb itself is rather spare. All the more proof for the power of good cover art!

The Cardew House: Folks, please don’t enter your first IF into the Comp. And if you do, please don’t mention that you entered your first game into the game right in your gotdanged blurb. You may think it will make the judges more forgiving of your mistakes, but it just riles them up something fierce.

ETA: More blurbs!

The Challenge: If Captain Verdeterre’s Plunder shows the effect of good cover art on one’s first sight opinion of a game, The Challenge shows what the effect bad cover art has. That fake metal plating, that awful shade of red, blech! I’m also not cheered by the done-in-24-hours thing, although if you have to announce it, this would be the way to do it.

Coloratura: There was an RPG released during The Dark Times (i.e., the early 90’s) called Immortal: The Invisible War, which was a bunch of new age gobblygook someone strung around some poorly thought-out mechanics and called it a game. It basically out-White-Wolfed White Wolf. This blurb’s goofy fantasy nonsense words reminded me of it. Pro-tip: If the audience doesn’t have a chance to understand a made-up phrase or word, it probably shouldn’t be the first thing that they see.

Way after you stopped caring, it’s time for more blurb reviews!

Dad vs. Unicorn: Looks pretty “wacky!!!” And by “wacky!!!” I mean annoying. I guess this could be a fairly serious family drama that just happens to have a unicorn though? Either way I don’t find it appealing.

Dream Pieces: Apparently this one is meant for kids? Seems cute enough. I don’t know what’s up with the MC Hammer reference, though.

Final Girl: I’m getting to the point where not only am I sick of slasher horror, I’m also sick of slasher horror deconstructions. Between Scream and Cabin in the Woods and god knows what else it’s starting to feel played out. It’s not really the author’s fault; I think superheroes are probably getting to be pretty shopworn in pop culture as well but dang if I don’t want to make a game about them someday.

Further: An after-life game, I’m guessing. I haven’t played one of those in a while, so I looking forward to seeing what this one has to offer. (Now watch as it turns out you’re just in a coma or something).