Reviews? Chat?

I’m always excited for the glut of reviews and chatter that comes in the hours after November 15th each year. It’s like the whole thing has been a well-guarded secret, and suddenly the flood gates open and I get to see what everybody else thought in comparison to my own opinions.

But now, we (being all of us but the authors in the competition) can talk. But we’re not. Is it because it’s too early and we don’t have anything to say yet? Is it because we all prefer the chatter in bulk after the judging ends? Is it because nobody is coming here?

We can use this forum to discuss the games – even review them, I think (just mark topics clearly and without offering opinions or spoilers in the title please). But should we? I’m tempted to post each of my reviews as I complete them, but should I? Do we collectively want to just wait until the middle of November? I’m fine with that – I just want to get opinions.

If you’re one of the IFcomp authors this year, I think you’re still prohibited from participating (probably even from answering this post – I dunno). You can mail me privately if you have any comments though.

I have only played three games so far, but all of them were of excellent quality. That is, they may not all have been excellent games, but they were all made with skill and care and lots of testing.

Have I just been lucky, or is the avarage quality higher than in previous years?

Well, I’ve only played three games as well. Two were pretty good. One really wasn’t. I’ll have to play more before I have a good feeling of whether this is an “up” year or a “down” year. In my mind, 2006 is a tough act to follow. I was very impressed with MANY of the games last year, and that’s after playing only half of what was entered!

I see you posted your checklist. Are you playing them in no particular order? I was hopeing people would put them in whatever order they intend to play (even if it’s the random order done by Comp07.z5 or the voting site), kind of as a way others could see what you’re likely to play next. It’s no biggie anyway – it’s your list. [emote]Smile[/emote]

I’m extremely impressed by a few of the entries I’ve played so far. I’ve played 9 games (one I did some beta-testing for, so I can’t vote on it) and I’d say that 4 are absolutely phenomenal, two are worthy entrants, and 3 are duds. I always write a review of each game after I play it, but I don’t know if I should post them anywhere until the contest is over or at least close to being over. What does everyone else think?


Yeah, that’s what I’m curious about too. Sargent says it’s okay for us to talk about (due to a new change to the rules), but it begs the question, should we?

I’m kind of itching to post my reviews, even though I’d be fine with waiting until the end. I think if I do post, I’ll make the topic something like “Merk’s Review of Some Game Name” (no score or opinions or anything in the title). I haven’t decided if I will, but I’m tempted to. Problem is, I’d have to practice restraint not to read OTHER reviews for games I haven’t played yet. I did that last year, and in some ways wished I hadn’t. But of course, if they’re already here, I can read them as soon as I have played. [emote]Smile[/emote]

Speaking personally, simply seeing the fact that someone has checked off my game on theitr checklist makes me feel something like the following:

Ohmigod. They played my game! What if they hated it? I want to know even if they did hate it! I want to know! Ohmigod! Tell me! Tellmetellmetellme!

But then, I’m new to all this, and don’t appreciate the culture that’s built up over the years of the review inundation. One thing, though: the idea that judges have anything like objective integrity is obviously an absurd one, so I really don’t think things’ll be damaged by posting reviews. Any judge who’s swayed by a review – their opinion isn’t important anyway; any judge worth eir salt won’t be swayed. So it may, at a stretch, affect the marks – but they’re not the important thing anyway.

Ieeee… the dreaded phpBB beta italics bug.

A while back, I tried to install a release candidate that Rioshin told me about. I had a problem with the default theme/skin, of all things, and it never would run right. Maybe if I get a chance this weekend, I’ll try again.

I wonder if real italics HTML code works?

Merk, I think it’s still a little early for people to be posting reviews (I haven’t played any games yet). Though Emily Short at least has posted something already at her blog.

One thing I know I’m allowed to say is that authors love feedback.

And whether you decide to post comments here or not, there’s never been any rule against sending feedback to authors directly (even including emailing them your reviews) if you so wish.

As an author, I’m quite happy not to take part in any discussion of the games until the comp is over, but I still like to read reviews and see what other people think of them.

A ha! I thought I recognized that orc!

Hmmm. I’m not so sure. I think that if a person hears good things about a game, they’re going to start out expecting it to be good (and, most likely, it will be). If they heard bad things, they’ll be biased against it from the start. You could make a point that people will make up their own minds, but a collective opinion can form. I do think this can influence opinions.

I’m not opposed to posting my reviews as I write them, and seeing others post theirs. I think I can refrain from peeking, although I might be tempted to skip games out-of-order so I can play whichever game(s) I see getting all the discussion (even if I don’t know for sure if the discussion is good or bad). So there’s a risk.

One thing I’ve noticed from reading a few reviews (of games I’ve already played and rated) is that one person’s trash is another person’s treasure. I found myself astonished at a negative review of a game I thought was one of the best I’ve played so far. It’ll be interesting to see how the voting turns out! What I’ve taken from this so far (I am new to these comps) is that if I ever finish my game and enter it into next year’s competition, I’ll just be happy it’s done and out there and available for the people to play. If it happens to get a super high score that’s great, but sometimes that may just be the luck of the draw. And it would also depend on the strength of the competition. I’ve been impressed by many of the games I’ve played so far, but some other people beg to differ.

Where’d you find those reviews? I guess I wouldn’t mind reading opinions of the ones I’ve already played and reviewed.

The only reviews I’ve found so far have been on Emily Short’s blog: … e-fiction/

There are also two other sites that have reviews. I forget the addresses but I think they were linked from Emily Short’s blog.

I went ahead and posted two of my reviews (in “quote” boxes, which seems to avoid the formatting bug in UBB italics and bold tags). I’ll post more if there’s an interest, although one of them is likely to make me pretty unpopular in the Adrift community.

So far, I’m only through four of the games. Today was too busy to get to the next one. Plus, my reviews seem to be taking longer to write than in prior years, which eats up the time I might otherwise spend playing the next game. Maybe tomorrow I’ll get to another one.

I’m thinking about setting up a simple blog collating reviews as they come, and probably adding my own. Good idea, or no?

Good idea.

From earlier:

From now:

If you’ve entered a game in the competition (and I do see one co-authored by somebody with those initials), you’d probably want to double-check the rules for authors first:

In the announcement Stephen Granade made, authors themselves are still asked not to discuss the games. It was always gut-wrenching for me in prior years, but it’s better than a potential disqualification or something like that. I just mention it, since blogging links to other reviews might even be a problem, but the best way to know for sure is to email Stephen directly.