I played through the game ( The Interactive Fiction Competition ) twice, and I’m still feeling uncertain how to judge it. There’s only one review at this time on the review spreadsheet and it’s in the locked author’s area. So I was hoping to gather a little more feedback from other judges.
Specifically, I’m having trouble getting past the inclusion of the explicit sex scenes in the story. I know the author did a good job informing me that the scenes were there, in the content warning before you actually play the game. And I did get a sense for what the scenes were trying to do – one showing Juniper remembering Mike, and one showing Roger being vulnerable and asking for a specific sex act to escape from his grief. But on another level, I don’t know if the explicitness of the scenes was necessary. I can envision rewriting them to leave more to the imagination. I found them distracting rather than character-revealing.
I’m trying to decide if it’s fair for me to use my feelings about these scenes to affect my rating of the game. After all, the author warned me, and I chose to play. The thing is, I’m not sure how they could have done better. I feel like there aren’t great examples in IF of sex scenes being done well. (Maybe Adam Thornton’s Stiffy Makane games, but those games are trying to do something quite different.) I guess I’d like to hear from other judges if the sex scenes worked for you.