XYZZY Awards 2011 reviews

While the XYZZY Awards were going on, I put together a team of reviewers to tackle the finalists category by category: after a certain amount of cat-herding, those reviews are now ready for the world. We have reviews from Marco Innocenti, Joey Jones, Jacqueline Lott, Iain Merrick, Marius Müller, Aaron Reed, Lucian P. Smith, J. Robinson Wheeler and yours truly. Many thanks to everybody who contributed.

Due to assorted factors, we didn’t manage to get every category covered, and only a couple of categories by more than one reviewer, but it’s still a substantial chunk of reviewage. Next year, next year. We hope you enjoy 'em, and that authors find them useful.

(And apologies for any editing errors; after compiling and editing a document of 30k words, one’s eyes start to glaze over a little. Corrections welcomed. We’re happy to correct factual errors also.)

Thanks for putting these together! I found them valuable, especially the detailed critiques on the technical and feelies categories, which offered scrutiny of a kind most other IF reviews do not.

And, of course, thanks to Lucian for the feedback on Indigo.

Hmmm… I never even knew I’d been nominated for the fire puzzle in my game and, like the reviewer, I’m kinda flummoxed as to why. I thought the fire puzzle was a very straightforward one and certainly not elaborate or especially memorable.

Still, thanks for the nomination whoever it was.

That was some excellent reading and has shoved a few games much higher on my “I really should play this sometime” list. Thanks so much for doing the necessary herding of these very groovy cats.

One thing that jumps to the eye is how my reviews are double or triple or even four times the length of the others and, still, they say nothing special.

This means that, wow, I have a style of my own.


Thanks a lot to maga for the editing and the removal of inglisc from my reviews.

I’d love for somebody to review Quest 5 in a similar way to those nominated for “Best Technological Development”. It covers a lot of bases covered by the other nominations in that category, but I guess a lot of Quest users would have been completely unaware of the Xyzzy’s.

In fact I’d love for Quest to get any attention on this forum at all - the recent thread on the TADS sub-forum here made me realise that a lot of people on here don’t really know very much about it at all, and I don’t want to have to keep going on about it. :slight_smile:

David Whyld – Duncan Bowsman originally nominated the fire from Suzy for the XYZZY and explains his rationale here. It seems to me that the virtues he describes are ones that are easily missed if you just play through the game once (or twice, restarting after you

use the extinguisher the wrong way

); if you don’t know what’s going on under the hood, deceptive simplicity, multiple solutions, and smooth implementation just seem like, well, simplicity.

People have expressed interest in another round of something like the Indigo minicomp, in which people test-drove IF languages they haven’t used before. You might also consider something like the Hugo Open House Comp. (Neither of these generated a massive amount of discussion, at least not in review form; Jacq was planning on putting something together for SPAG, and then SPAG apparently fell off a cliff. But they did expand the pool of people who had some direct knowledge about the languages in question.)

I also posted about potential ADRIFT nominations here, at the ADRIFT Forum. Even if none won in their categories, I was happy to see them nominated.

Thanks a lot to all involved, and to the folks who wrote about Six. Perhaps next XYZZYs I can help with this project from the other side.

Re: supplemental materials comments, I’m glad nobody ever doubted the authentic look of the map in Six to this day. I did draw it myself, but I didn’t want to let people know that during IFComp, so I credited it to Demi. My methods for drawing like a six year old involve a combination of research (look at real drawings by six year olds to see how they represent things) and forcing a degree of physical incompetence on yourself. So for instance, use your non primary drawing hand, use your whole grip to wield the drawing implements clumsily like a knife. And use authentic drawing implements - real crayons, real second hand textas, etc.

I was thinking that the reviews were pretty SPAGesque; whatever happened to it?

I’ll put you on the headhunting list for next year.

I have a small update on one of my reviews.

While talking about Zombie Exodus, I stated that it being a partial game was non that bad, although I preferred playing a complete game. Well, I’m not sure about that anymore.

ZE part three is out. Having uninstalled it from my especially full iPhone, I went to the appstore thinking: “Well, let’s try this again an look where it…”. Then stopped.
Really: now, to know how the story unfolds, I have to play it again from the beginning, isn’t it? There’s no “save” routine (that I’m aware of) and there’s no way I can remember which road I took and what weapon I used and so forth. So it would be like a whole new run, re-reading, re-choosing etc.

And I went “Naaaaah…” No more ZE for me. Not if I have to play it from the start, anyway.

So, being unfinished is an issue, I now understand.

I stopped because as best as I could tell, part 3 on iPhone was paid content only – though those with a burning curiosity can still I believe experience it for free in their browser after doing a complete playthrough of parts 1 and 2 on the CoG website now.

I can’t begrudge them the profit motive when it appears they do have a decent shot at achieving some profit (well, why else release a Zombie game at this moment in time? 8), especially when they do give it away for free in at least one format. No Kickstarting even required!

I’ve made a start at adding the reviews as editorial reviews on the IFDB. If anyone else wants to follow my lead then do go on ahead…