Theo's Massive Reviews for Massive IFComp Games

Hello everyone!
In Hamlet, no less of an authority than Shakespeare himself tells us that “Brevity is the Soul of Wit”
However, my motto here is very much that Brevity is not the Soul of Crit…nor should it be the soul of your IFComp entry…in fact, for the purposes of this thread, Brevity has no soul at all!

This will be my first year judging IFComp instead of making a game for it. So empowered, I choose to exercise the powers of my office to help people, similar to myself, who occasionally get passed over due to the IFComp format (it’s nobody’s fault…some of us just really like writing a lot).

I will be reviewing every game in IFComp that was entered with the designation “longer than two hours”. Additionally:

  • I will, by the spirit of the rules, score your game after two hours of play…however, I will write a review of the game after more than two hours of play (approximately whenever I get bored or feel like I’ve seen everything). If this violates some sort of comp rule, I’ll release the reviews after the comp.

  • I will write very long reviews of your game. Be prepared. You asked for it. We’re both in this together. Nothing hurts more than putting years of work into a game only to see a review that says “pretty good game, might play again later, 6/10.”

  • I will review and rate ONLY those games that are designated “longer than two hours.” I’m a pretty busy person, so this also means I’m unlikely to compare your game to other, shorter games in this comp…or even notice them. I may compare your game to other, previous games I played that are shorter than two hours…but I will likely make such comparisons favorably, heaping scorn and ridicule upon the shorter game.

  • Because there are a goodly number of entries in this category this year (I’m so very happy) I will likely not complete my review of all of them by the end of the comp…I will, however, eventually review all of them (and of course I’ll score them before the end of the comp)

  • I will release, following the comp, a list of the best games longer than two hours in the order I rated them.

  • I will review the games in the order of the longest title

Congrats you long-game-makers on making long games!


It doesn’t!

Yeah I didn’t think so.

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At this time, the list appears to be as follows

  • Little Girl in Monsterland
  • Fight Forever
  • Infinitube
  • Happyland
  • The Incredibly Mild Misadventures of Tom Trundle
  • Return to Castle Coris
  • Creatures
  • The Cursed Pickle of Shireton
  • Flattened London

In the spirit of my reviews, any game that changes to “longer than two hours” will not be reviewed. The point is to reward people with the courage, nobility of spirit, and depth of honor to enter into a two-hour competition with a game that is more than two hours long.

Any game designated as “longer than two hours” which is not longer than two hours will still receive a review (and likely a long one) but I may be slightly peeved by the false advertising.


I’m excited that someone is going to play my game :blush: :blush:

It took 4 years to make :rofl:


Curses, there goes my clever plan!


I, for one, can’t wait to see a really long review of my game. Bring it on!

Putting “15 hours long” in your blurb is like throwing down a gauntlet. As someone who has previously entered a six-hour game in IFComp, I am totally playing Little Girl in Monsterland. Whether I complete it before IFComp is over is another question… :grin:

For what it’s worth, Flattened London clocked in right at two hours for me. So it may be one of the “shorter” games in your list, The0didactus.


As the author of The Incredibly Mild Misadventures of Tom Trundle, I guess that puts me first…?? I only ask that you please be gentle.

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I don’t know why this line in particular tickled me so much. Looking forward to these, though. The longer games get constantly overlooked.


Thanks you, The0didactus. I appreciate your investing the time to do this and look forward to your review. Happyland has a number of in-jokes, NPC backstories, changing NPC moods, and bad poetry that a shorter playthrough might not uncover.



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Here in the thread that is pro full-sized games, can I reveal my dark secret and say that I really wish there was an easy way to filter out all those 15 minutes or less games? Like I’m happy to give any of them a look at another time, but I’m pretty sure none of these are a serious attempt at winning so I would like to not keep tripping over them when sorting through all these for the games I hope to realistically be able to get around to rating.

As a first time author, I debated whether to list my entry as 15 minutes or less vs half hour. A single playthrough does take about 15 minutes, but my goal for The Cave was to create enough content and incentive for people to play 3-5 times. No playthrough is the same. Some elements and options only reveal themselves if a particular combination of items and/or spells are possessed by the player.

But sounds like I shot myself in the foot by being honest about the 15 minute play time.

I have no dislike of short games under normal circumstances, they can offer some cool little experiences you can pick up at any time and I find they’re a great way to introduce new people to the concept of IF for one thing.

I’m sure they’re not going to get any shortage of ratings either, I suspect there are more people who rank their picks for shortest to longest to cover the most ground than what Theo’s doing here.

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I don’t think you did. A lot of people really like shorter games, and my reason for creating this thread is I feel that the long games generally get passed over for IFComp, in favor of the shorter ones. There have been some masterful short games (I recall with particular fondness last year’s Out).

However, in this thread, we mock the puny short games for their laughable lack of content. I want three hours of content, minimium! I want this game to be 4 years of your life! I want page-long room descriptions! dozens of submechanics! Hundreds of replays! Visions! omens! hallucinations! miracles! ecstasies!


I hope you’re around next year :slight_smile:

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Ideally, I’ll have my own 10 hour entry next year.


Slightly off topic, but I’ve always wondered what is the best way to rate the play time of games. It seems the author is the worst judge of such a thing, and play time can vary greatly depending on the person playing. You can certainly ask your beta testers, but even they usually have seen various iterations, and tend to be more experienced IF players. Anyway, I’ve always been curious about that.


I don’t think there’s any way for it to be exact, but I doubt there’s any expectation of that either. Everyone plays these at such a different pace, especially when you’re talking about parser IF.

That’s true, I don’t know why I bothered assuring him his game was probably okay.

Because I just remembered you actually can calculate play times a lot easier with choice based over parser, you can go by average reading times there which is like…300 words a minute? 250?

So…15 minute choice based? @babbaginator Bruh. That’s under 5000 words. You brought a thumb tack to a gun battle. Shaaaaaame, shaaaaame upon all the short games!

(Unless they are designed to be very replayable…but all the same perhaps a tradition should be started of a yearly thread insisting that short games should be put in their own category…)

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