ParserComp 2021: IFComprehensive reviews

I’ve begun reviewing the ParserComp 2021 games at my blog, IFComprehensive. Today I posted the first two games I played: Fivebyfivia Delenda Est, by Andrew Schultz, and Acid Rain, by Garry Francis.

Reviews so far:
Acid Rain
Black Knife Dungeon
Daddy’s Birthday
Fivebyfivia Delenda Est
Return to the Stars
Snowhaven
The Time Machine
Waiting for the Day Train

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Thanks for the review. I just wanted to point out one thing. You said that “the code on the keypad only works in uppercase”. That is definitely not the case (excuse the pun). I use lower case myself and I just checked a few of the tester’s transcripts and they all used lower case and it worked fine.

Perhaps you meant that it only works in lower case. I must confess that I haven’t tested it in upper case, so that’s something I need to check, as it should be case insensitive.

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Oops, thanks for the correction. I also always use lowercase expect in specific instances like this, and apparently I flipped things in my notes.

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Just finished Acid Rain today and your review captured my thoughts on the game very well. Nice job.

It had everything I find both entertaining and absurd about 1980’s text adventures, plus the polish of a newer authoring engine. I quite enjoyed it for what it was.

Didn’t have any problems with lowercase characters in the keypad either.

One question.: What is an eigenroom?

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One question.: What is an eigenroom?

A room containing exactly one object of interest, typically part of a map where each such object has its own such room. More generally, it’s a room where there’s exactly one thing to do, and once you’re done with it, you’re done with the room forever. This isn’t inherently good or bad, but the more extreme version of having that one action being just taking an object that’s sitting out in the open is definitely more representative of games from the 80s than more modern games, or even ones from the early 90s. And that’s perfectly fine for a game like this, where recreating that 80s vibe is the point of the game; but it still makes the map a bit less rewarding to explore than it would be otherwise.

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I wondered that myself. I didn’t want to say anything that may sound like I’m being defensive, but the original game that I played way back in 1987 was extremely minimal because of the memory constraints back then. ‘Acid Rain’ adds a huge number of extra objects, lots of scenery, richer descriptions, full sentence parser, many extra commands, a story and extra puzzles. It does rely a lot on “drill down” details, which you seem to have missed, but most of that only adds colour.

Interestingly, most of the things you singled out, like the screwdriver, the hint giving macaw, the beds and sheets were all new additions (the latter just hours before the submission deadline). There are also a few “in” jokes (like the Magnetic Scrolls puzzle) that are only meaningful to a limited number of people. Did you try using the broom, for example? That one’s for Adam.

The toilet paper, negatives and message on the wall are all hints towards the keypad code, but you can easily fluke it. It sounds like you might have done that.

There is also a very subtle hint from the toilet paper, the message on the bathroom mirror and the message on the wall regarding what may have happened to the mad scientist. If I’d had more time, I could have worked harder on the mystery element, but this was another last-minute addition.

‘Acid Rain’ is meant to be fun to play and should not be taken too seriously. After all, it’s a game, not a novel.

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Nope, I hit all three of those hints for the keypad puzzle (though I just brute-forced the cipher, then found the hints later), and I played the game to (as far as I know) completion. What I was referring to with the toilet paper was that there’s nothing more involved in it than just examining it and getting the message directly. With the message on the negatives, for example, there’s a bit about developing them and using the enlarger.

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Thanks for the reviews! Always nice

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Thank you for taking the time to review!

Adam :slightly_smiling_face::pray:

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Two more reviews are up: Black Knife Dungeon and Daddy’s Birthday.

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Thank you for the review of Daddy’s Birthday :slight_smile:

You might like this game if: You were ever considering writing a similar game for or with your own child.

It would be great if it were to provide inspiration in that direction, to parent or child!

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Two more reviews are up: The Time Machine and Return to the Stars.

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Thanks for the review of Fivebyfivia and following up. As someone who hasn’t played TM or RttS yet but wants to, these are great reviews for helping me know what to expect/getting me in a good mindset, without spoiling too much.

I mean, I generally can (and should) trust authors’ summaries, but having a player’s experience with neat things to look out for helps a lot.

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Two more reviews are up: Snowhaven and Waiting for the Day Train.

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Thanks for the review!

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