Okay, so looking over the list of games here, I’m going to give my almost completely uninformed opinions on all the games:
Andromeda Apocalypse is the latest in the Andromeda saga/cycle/whatever. I wasn’t all that into the first (non-Director’s Cut) game, but the series has gotten enough good buzz since then that I may very well give it a shot.
Body Bargain is hard to read from just a blurb (transhumanism, yes, but is the tone going to be comic or horrific or melodramatic or what). The fact that it’s still listed as being in beta doesn’t give me much hope either.
Castle Adventure looks so much like an uncomplicated adventure game that I just know there has to be a twist in there somewhere. The “for the not-quite-beginning adventurer” line just clinches it.
Ch-Ch-Changes! Oh boy, inter-planetary Sci-Fi is such an easy genre to screw up, especially within the confines of the Comp. Maybe this game will clear the hurdles, though?
Escape From Summerland gave me a jolt when I first read the title, since someone made a post in the IF Comp predictions thread about how we’re going to see a game with almost exactly the same title as an already existing IF, and what should appear but a game with almost the exact same title as last year’s Escape From Santaland? Sadly it doesn’t appear that it was hastily cobbled together from a bevy of IF Comp predictions a la Pass the Banana (I would think Mitt Romney would at least get a passing mention if so), which means one of my deepest hopes for that thread didn’t come true.
Eurydice: I’m wondering why the author is listed as Anonymous when they have contact information; possibly it’s a way to give the author some space, but it looks like a mistake. Anyway, what jumps out at me is the blurb’s confrontational tone, which seems unearned; grief isn’t that uncommon a theme in IF or really computer games in general, so why be a dick (or an “arse”) about it? Like, think about a blurb for almost any other game done in that style: “There’s no way to put this without sounding like an arse, but Taco Fiction is a short game about crime. Yay.” or “There’s no way to put this without sounding like an arse, but Mentula Macanis is a fairly long-ish game about Roman antiquity, plus cocks. Yay.” It’s quite likely that this tone is because the subject is very personal to the author, though, in which case wow I sound like a dick.
Fish Bowl sounds like it should be interesting, but I feel rather blah about it for reasons I can’t quite articulate. Something about the tone of the blurb, which should be hinting at unmentionable horrors, but instead comes off as a half-hearted invitation to afternoon tea.
Guilded Youth is probably a throw-back of some sort, but I can’t tell from just the blurb if it’ll be a hack-and-slashy RPG type, with maybe a running commentary on the proceedings a la Endless Nameless, or a simulation of an early online community in the manner of Digital: A Love Story or Cosmoserve. Regardless, I’m looking forward to playing this one.
Oh hey, I recognize the authors of the next two games! I’ve already played Porpentine’s game, so after a token mention of how unhelpfully vague the blurb is, I’m dashing straight into discussing In a Manor of Speaking! Word-play games are an almost criminally under-used IF genre, so I’m hoping this will be good. I know Hulk Handsome from Glorious Trainwrecks, and he seems like a pretty bright guy, so he’ll probably pull it off.
Irvine Quik and the Blah Blah Blah Whatever: It is amazing: Immediately after reading the blurb, I anti-cared about this game. Monkey Island - Wit + Sci-Fi * Adrift/(Some IF dude I barely remember), All = who cares.
I think my favorite part about the Island blurb is the fact that it says you need a cheat code to access the walkthrough. It is the very definition of Missing The Point.
J’dal didn’t actually have a blurb, so I’m not actually giving it a review!
It seems the Sports IF genre has shot up in prominence the last couple of years. The main problem with Sports games, of course, is getting people who don’t care about the game to care about, well, the game. Kicker could be another Bonehead, or another Fan Interference, we’ll see.
There’s no way to put this without sounding like an arse, but it looks like A Killer Headache is another game about zombies. I’m getting a too-internet-clever-by-half vibe from the blurb; hopefully it’s just doing a bad job of selling itself.
There’s also no way to put this without sounding like an arse, but it looks like Last Minute is going to be a “novel” take on the My Apartment/My College/My Aunt Nancy self-reference self-aggrandizement auto-bio super-genre. I’m hoping that all this is just a front for an actually clever game, though.
The Lift looks like it could be a promising horror game, but I don’t think the generic baddies I see in the cover art is a promising sign. Subtle would work better here.
Living Will sounds like it could be a financial life sim, which I honestly would find intriguing. Not sure what the pillaged wealth from the Congo is about, though.
Lunar Base 1: I have a terrible secret: I don’t find Sci-Fi about space exploration interesting at all. This seems like it could be pretty neat if you’re into that, though.
The thing I find most interesting about Murphy’s Law is that it is a wacky hijinx game where the ultimate goal is to pay off your mortgage. We are making wacky adventure games that play off of our worries about the economy. I just think that’s pretty neat from sociological perspective.
The Sealed Room’s blurb needs to work harder to sell itself. That actually could be said about a lot of blurbs for IF Comp games, but this is one of the worst examples I’ve seen. The two things I learned about The Sealed Room from the blurb were that it’s a conversation game, and it’s short. This is all conveyed in a tone about as dry as the list of ingredients on a can of stew. No, I take that back, stew would have more pep to it. There’s nothing here that gives me a hint about the tone, about the themes, about anything I could actually give a damn about. D-, see me after class.
Is Shuffling Around going to be another word-play game? I sure do hope so! Even it’s not, it looks like it could scratch some interconnected puzzles itches.
I can’t actually say something coherent about Signos because I can’t stop snickering at the blurb. Therefore I’m just going to copy it here for the purposes of pointing and laughing:
The only reason I don’t feel bad about doing this is that I strongly suspect this game is poorly planned advertising for the author’s New Age seminars.
Is it just me, or does Spiral look like it could go into very icky territory very quickly? I might just give this one a pass.
Sunday Afternoon gives me a very strong Victoriana vibe. I’m actually very interested in playing it to find out what it’s about! This is what a well-written blurb can do for you.
It took me a while to parse The Test is Ready NOW’s blurb; it felt like it was describing three different games. I think what’s actually going on is that there are three different situations, all from the same game. So it’s one of those moral choice games. Hey, I’m good for it.
Don’t have too much to say about Transit, except that it looks fairly interesting.
Finally, I am hoping against all hope that Valkrie will actually be a good game, because if it doesn’t we will all look like cocks, to a man.
Well, that was quite the wall of text. What do you think about this year’s crop of games?