Hi SPAGgers. Thank you for SPAG.
For IFComp authors, this SPAG may largely remind them/us of the aggravations of being in the comp and watching reviews roll in, just because it is again another set of reviews of the comp games.
So here are my capsule reviews of the SPAG reviews. I don’t mean to review them just by whether I agree with what they say about any game, but whether I think they’re good work for the cause of reviewing, which was the authors’ primary gripe about many reviews written in haste in blogs during the comp:
Aot, Chronicler, One Eye Open, Following a Star, Warbler’s Nest, Flight of the Hummingbird, Gigantomania, Lost Sheep, Mite, R, 12:54 to Asgard, Under in Erebus, Blind House, A quiet evening at home: Thumbs up!
Divis Mortis: Mostly thumbs up, but many complaints about ‘lack of originality’ grow wearying. I find tropes and originality studies unhelpful, since total originality is so extraordinarily rare. Was this game obviously the author’s particular delivery? Yes.
The same trope-watching is going on in the Pen and Paint review.
Oxygen, East Grove Hills: Sure it’s only 1 paragraph long, or in danger of being underdeveloped, respectively, but thumbs up.
Rogue: Thumbs down! I don’t think the opening paragraph about playing some other unnamed TADs game is relevant, or demonstrated to be relevant in hindsight. Re: The complaint about ‘there is nowhere near enough prose’… I think the game’s consistent style shows it has the amount of prose the author intended. There aren’t inherently correct amounts of prose in these games. The more I hang on IFDB, the more I see this kind of criticism, where terse and perfectly arranged prose which also succeeds in paying everything off is unreasonably described as, ‘Well, it wasn’t awful…’ … A high word count for its own sake is not a good goal. Whatever serves the story best via author intention and logistics will be best.
Heated: Thumbs down. Opens with a paragraph saying the game is doomed because of the expectations of ‘the community’. No thorough description of why the game is actually as terrible as all that follows. There’s a valid para about the undernourished heatometer, then one saying ‘the tech is solid’, then one bug description. Conclusion paragraph: ‘Will go down like a lead balloon.’ Speculation on author’s motives and knowledge, etc., follows.
Leadlight: My game. I got a lot of reviews I placed on one pile which featured the combo of: ‘We’re trying to move IF forward these days’ (what, was I trying to move it back?) paragraphs of speculation on my motives for various things, and dotted line drawing to separate the lovely modern IF from the horrible old IF.
What I like about Junana’s review was that she didn’t speculate on my motives or google me. She did evoke the dotted lines and ‘moving forward’, though… buuut she also admits to not being au fait with horror games, and I think that may be one of the most important things you can say if you go to review a horror game - or more generally, to declare your au faitness with the general attributes of any particular game you’re reviewing if it’s new turf for you. So thumbs up.