In previous years I’ve picked something based on how much time I have… but then I played a bunch of so-so short works and so this year I’m thinking about what I’m in the mood for (something puzzly, something by an author I like etc.) and going from here.
Yup, that was pretty much my reaction too.
I still have a couple pesky bugs to zap but I feel I can already safely say that Trouble in Sector 471 a worthy follow up to Inside the Facility (one of my favorite games)!
Very much in the mood for SciFi now (even more than usual, that is. I’ve just read a great historical doorstopper about the colonization of South Africa, Islands by Dan Sleigh, and now I crave something that goes a few hundred years in the other direction.)
I see that the authors have been very forthcoming in the futuristic department. My first pick is Crash by Phil Reilly.
The game also follows my general MO: big parsers first.
In the first days, I generally hit the page and collect the titles of everything that looks interesting to me. Titles from my favorite authors or sequels to games I’ve enjoyed always end up on that list (“A sequel to Ballerina? Yes please!”), plus any blurbs that catch my attention. Then, because I’m terrible at choosing when the choices are all things I want, I tend to randomize, unless I see something that I just absolutely have to play this minute, or I get distracted by a shiny.
Eventually, once the archive is released, I cruise my way through it and play everything I can, although ADHD and health issues mean it sometimes takes ages.
First up this year was The Archivist and the Revolution by Autumn Chen: “The world is ending, and you are still paying rent.”
If that isn’t a mood, then I’ve never experienced one.
You have character, Mike. This is really the only fair way to do it. Something for me to strive for, although, major spoiler ahead, I am just not going to achieve that when there’s even a chance that an author I love is going to drop a game in the comp.
I made a silly little thread about some of the ones that caught my eye and why, but I essentially scrolled through the list and sifted through what seemed appealing, made some brief notes as I went along, and then reordered my final list of games I do want to play in order of which was most sparkly seeming.
Interest was very biased towards my favourite genres (post-apocalypse, horror, gothic, romance). In terms of most to least important, it went: eye catching name → interesting tags (did I like the genre, tool used to make it, could I play on the web) → riveting blurb that made me want to play more → cover art → author. I will admit that my eyes glossed over entries without any cover art.
Top game of the list is January by litrouke for me- I love their work, and have thoroughly enjoyed previous post apocalyptic writing from them. It also hits it out of the ballpark in terms of a story I’d enjoy: morose, sombre, following a man in the aftermath of the apocalypse, and the promise of the sort of peculiar desolation you get with deep winter that I love so much in Canadian literature.
I will admit, it was originally lower down my ‘want to play’ list, (in large part because I felt like I was left wanting for a bit more substance than their very short blurb) but once I saw the author, it went straight up to the top of the list. Their writing’s delicious to sink your teeth into- atmospheric, haunting: pulling you into building dread with a deep undercurrent of unease percolating just beneath the surface of an already grim situation. I love it.
I always start by drawing up a list - handwritten with a fountain pen! - of the games that initially appeal to me most. That gives me a starting point, but I tend to go off piste later, eg if just fancying something short for a while, or another game has caught my attention from what other players have written about it.
I’ll be hand writing my list later tonight. But it isn’t a definitive list of what I might play. Just a starting point of things to choose from.
My play time and energy is incredibly limited from my neuro disease, so I prefer not to go full random, and rather start with things that intrigue me.
I’ll grudgingly accept the compliment, but honestly it’s mostly just because I have (I think fairly obvious) obsessively completionist tendencies and try to play everything – if I wasn’t playing via the randomizer that’d mean I’d have a bunch of less-appealing (or longer, or all custom-engine, or whatever) games clustered at the bottom and it’d be too painful to motivate myself to power through, even if I often wind up really enjoying those games and finding hidden gems once I get going. I’m also really looking forward to Arthur DiBianca’s game, but I think I’ve got it like 60th on my list, so that makes me excited to get there!
If I were able, I’d play them in random order. I did that for Spring Thing and ParserComp, and it felt right to me.
As it is, I feel nearly overwhelmed with other tasks—all IF-related, as luck would have it—that I either can’t or shouldn’t delay. As such, I’ll only be able to play a select few while IF Comp is active. The first on the list will be The Archivist and the Revolution, since I’ve enjoyed AC’s other games so much. I know that A Paradox Between Worlds was divisive, but I was crazy about it. I’ll undoubtedly slide over to EctoComp for Amanda’s game. I’ll find time for a few more, but not as many as I would like. At least I can be sure to enjoy what I do play very much!
A short, puzzly Twine, and a little rough around the edges - but nonetheless entertaining and well thought out. Certainly not unworthy of your time. The end credits tell me that it was a school project and I’d be interested to know the context of that, and the age of the student(s) involved - perhaps if the author (Andrew Howe) pops up on the forum he’d be able to comment.