I’ve posted about my entry, “Buried In Shoes”, on my blog. Thanks to all who reviewed this year’s entries. I think I might take the golden banana; I’ve thought so since I decided to enter the competition (at which point I had already prepared my piece for beta-testing).
Nightfall really sucked me in; on my second time through I printed out the map and attempted to visit every location to get all the memories. Even though the game isn’t perfect (I found a few typos and had a few nit-picks with it) it’s very atmospheric and technically pretty slick.
I also had a lot of fun with Violet, although by the end I was I was getting tired of the puzzles and feeling like they were too contrived. But Violet’s strong voice and all the customized messages were great. So these two were my favorites this year, and I think they (along with Everybody Dies) will be in the top 3.
Oh, Hardy also liked the sandwich in April in Paris (and what happens to it).
There were a couple of games this year that I just didn’t get, although many people seemed to really like them. Opening Night was one of these for me. I was thinking it was a light, puzzly thing, but then the tone shifted and it lost me. Although I got to the end, somehow I felt more confused than touched by it. It’s quite possible I missed the point.
I also didn’t care much for Everybody Dies. When I first tried to play it, the language and player character really turned me off, and I quit. After reading some nice reviews, I gave it another chance, but went though most of it not really enjoying it at all. My main emotion playing it was revulsion: I didn’t really like any of the characters, I was examining nasty fish and cleaning nasty toilets… While I think in this case I understood the ending, it just didn’t move me. I did really like the illustrations, though.
The game I felt the worst for was Freedom. I have a friend who suffers with anxiety problems and panic attacks, so I am sensitive to these issues, but the game could have done a lot more to show how it feels to deal with them. Mostly I’m afraid that the author will be really discouraged by the reviews.
As for my game, Snack Time!, I liked hearing people’s comments about it and thought that the reviews were pretty fair. I knew the length might count against it, but for the most part people seemed to think it at least cute and fun. I was surprised by Merk’s comments about the ending action needed not being clued well enough; one of my beta-testers had commented specifically on me making that too obvious and so I had changed it a bit. Merk, you said it seemed that this clue came only if one thing was left undisturbed, but different things and scenarios should trigger this same clue. I would like to see your transcript to see how this happened for you, and I’m sorry you missed it the first time around. I think I could use your comments to make the ending better.
Thanks to everyone who played and wrote reviews, it made the waiting time easier. As did playing the other entries, thanks authors.
First off I thank everybody who reviewed my entry “Project Delta: The Course”, regardless of positive or negative feedback.
In retrospect I can say that the reviews altogether weren’t that bad for me and quite inspiring in terms of how to improve the functionality of the Node-X system. For example, the concept of transcripts has become something I share with the community. I haven’t thought about it myself, but since more than two people screamed for it I’m adding this feature to the Node-X interpreter and it will be basicly implemented in any future version and generation from now on.
For the tech freaks: the thing will be called a “transcript logger”. When the player activates it during game by typing the command letter T it will automatically write game output into a *.txt file and into a desired folder specified by the user in the nodex.ini config file. It’s easier to code than it sounds actually, because I already have a versatile load/save subsystem implemented in Node-X, as all of you know who had a closer look at the various interpreter subfunctions.
But more on Node-X and its new features in the next weeks and months…
As for the other entries: I guess either Violet or Nightfall have a good chance to become winner of this year’s competition. But I remember reading a couple reviews where these titles were not scored 9 or 10, but 7 or less. Anything is possible. Let’s wait for the results…
I liked your game, although it didn’t touch me as much as I guess you hoped I would. I think it’s awfully hard to make a game dealing with the holocaust. But it definitly made me want to see the memorial you were inspired by.
The first game I played from this competition was Everybody Dies (I guess the name caught my eye), and I think it might be my favorite of the bunch.
There were a few reviewers that completely misinterpreted my game. Most reviews were pretty accurate (not enough testing, implementation problems), and there were lots of reviews that understood what I meant but disagreed with me (which is understandable), but when the reviewer just didn’t understand what I was trying to say, or misinterpreted the message, it got on my nerves. It’s partially my fault, sure, but the fact that some reviewers understood it rather well while others completely missed anything but the very surface level satire convinced me that it’s at least partially their fault as well.
Anyway, my game scored pretty much exactly how I thought it would. I knew it wasn’t tested enough (I had some friends beta test it, but none of them had ever played IF before). I’m happy that I got a few good reviews, and a lot of constructive criticism.
For what it’s worth, I liked Buried in Shoes a lot, and was surprised it didn’t place better in the comp. The fact that it was so short didn’t bother me - I figured it was meant to be a vignette more than an argument about anything. However, I would have liked to have seen what was there more completely implemented, particularly the main scene in the shop. I wanted things to be more responsive; continually getting told “You achieve no reaction.”, “You hear nothing unexpected.”, “You can only do that to something animate.” broke the mood. In particular, more responses from the shoes in various scenes would help a lot. I can send you my transcript if you’d like to see it.
Obviously this is very subjective, but I would have liked to see the image of the shoes used again at the end of the piece. It’s a strong image, but it seemed to me to fade out as the story moved on. I’d like one more glimpse of it - in some guise - before the final question.
I’m Jeremy Freese. Violet is my first game. I got totally obsessed while writing it. More importantly, I had some EXCELLENT beta testers, and every time I wanted to do something and couldn’t figure out how, somebody on RAIF helped me.
Not to take anything away from that score or the win, but I think many judges probably do what I do, and evaluate games in the competition as they relate to each other, rather than to how they relate to prior competitions and other games played previously. In theory, I’d expect a competition with one “very very good” game and 34 “very very bad” ones to have its winner rank at 9.0 or higher, due to the tendency to give top points to the best among the set. I know not all judges do this, but probably enough do. I bumped Violet up to a “10” (from a “9”) in the final minutes of voting, since it remained my favorite of the 30 I played.
A competition with a larger number of excellent entries would probably have its top game rated lower than a year where a lesser entry won, if the lesser entry was among fewer strong contenders. At least, that’s what seems to happen. When you start to divide various judges among too many favorites, the points of the top games will tend to sink a little.
In my opinion, there were some good games this year, and only two – well, maybe three – really outstanding ones. I hope that’s not me being cynical, although it probably is. (I also hope I’m not burning bridges by saying that.) I felt like 2006, by comparison, was a far stronger year in the number of really awesome entries.
A work of art is not a certain amount of information trying to get across from the author to the viewer; and therefore, there isn’t really such a thing as misinterpreting the message. There can be more and less fruitful interpretations of a work of art, but the goal is certainly not to arrive at the interpretation that the author had–why would the author be the one who best understands the work? No reason to assume that.
In fact, I would say that misinterpretations are a good thing: they show that your work is rich enough to support several different readings. I’d take it as a compliment.