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Review Comp 2011 (the Vote)

The home for all discussion of competitions for ADRIFT and multiformat IF

Review comp 2011

Poll ended at Mon Oct 03, 2011 5:31 am

Where is Richard:
4
57%
Beethro's text adventure:
2
29%
S Tar Dus T:
1
14%
Tic Tac Toe:
0
No votes
 
Total votes : 7

Review Comp 2011 (the Vote)

Postby Po. Prune » Mon Sep 26, 2011 5:31 am

Ok, Here are the reviews. Sorry about the slight delay. I was expecting people to post their review in the thread but found out that they were all posted at the appropriate adventure page. No problem, here they are.
Out of the 10 games listed, 4 got reviews. So these 4 reviews are in the competition. It's a little discouraging to see that only 3 people have actually taken time to play one or more of the games and written a review. Especially considering all the talk there has been about how important it is to get Adrift games out there.

ISince I was late in putting up the vote, have extended the voting period till Sunday Oct. 2

Thanks to David W, for coming up with the idea in the first place. I plan on running this competition again next year. Hopefully with the new V.5 out, there will be many more reviews to choose from.

Where is Richard:
Not altogether unwelcome or unpleasant, 'Where is Richard?' struck me as a quick play that's just... bland. There is still some satisfaction in overcoming it, at least, and it is logically done.

I can't think of exactly what thematic content the thing explores, if any. One's friend disappears in a Tardis and so you chase him down, but don't really learn anything along the way. We hardly interact with the missing man, but we do get to raid his whole house and learn a bit about him from that. Still, Richard feels more or less like a cardboard cut-out token standing in place for a close friend.

From all the healing items and weapons one gets early on, it seems to me like 'Where is Richard?' was supposed to have a more thoroughly implemented combat system, but as it is there's only one fight and it's treated basically like any other puzzle. It's a fight against a creative monster, but it's so sudden without being surprising and the solution is so simple, it's hard to say that scene amounts to much.

Descriptions are mostly functional, but this means they often serve to disrupt the establishment of mood in any given scene. Finding Richard's house empty and trying to search him down could make us feel something, but then all the descriptions of household objects are written as though they come from a catalog rather than, say, a suspense thriller. Later on, many rooms are just lists of exits, and are more like level padding that the game could have done without.

The game does contain several ADRIFTisms that are likely to be thought of as downright brokenness by any unfamiliar with the language. For example, typing anything other than >LOOK AT PICK AX when carrying it gives the response, "You are already carrying the miner's pick." There's the usual situation where >PRESS BUTTON works, but not >PUSH BUTTON. At one point, a room description mentions an unimplemented handle that still must be pulled. These things are misleading and problematic.

The final puzzle, at least, has multiple solutions, though it turns out the one I felt was most heavily suggested by the game is actually just a red herring. Figuring out some puzzle solutions at least felt more like a challenge than a frustration, since (despite running in desperation to others for hints after a few turns, there being none in the game to help) I was able to solve them all on my own, before I heard back from others.

Overall, it's a pretty quick game, not especially imaginative, but beatable. You could do worse in a choice of a game, but it wouldn't be too hard to do better, either. Play it if you love instant oatmeal and want a game to match.

Scene of the Crime:
No Review.

Humbug:
No Review

Shards of Memory:
No Review.

Beethro's text adventure:
From the blurb: "Although labeled a ’demo’, "Beethro’s Text Adventure" is a complete and fully playable subset of a much larger adventure ( I view it as a prequel ). In fact, with 40 rooms, 7 characters, 51 objects, and full hints, this game is larger and more developed than many ’complete’ ADRIFT adventures."

Can it live up to that? Of the 40 rooms, there are 15 for which you have no reason to even enter, 11 more which are just flyover territory, and 4 which are only involved in optional puzzles.

Puzzles have one solution, generally a matter of picking up the right object that's lying in some room, and USE it in the appropriate location. Little or no thought was given to close tries or alternate solution: At one point the player needs to use a crowbar as a lever; trying to use your sword as a lever simply fails; even a message along the lines of "That would probably damage the sword." would be better. The player needs a hammer at another point, but searching the tools in his house doesn't have a response.

Objects and characters will appear in rooms when they are needed; characters disappear when they are no longer needed.

Of the 7 characters, only the supergoblin was implemented beyond a description and "talk to" tasks.
On the plus side, text written directly by the author is competently done. (Game generated text is sometimes in the wrong tense, such as "Beethro take the sword." instead of "Beethro takes the sword." ALR work could have fixed this up.)

In short, this game would be greatly improved if the unimportant parts were cut out and the important parts better developed.

S Tar Dus T:
While playing S Tar Dus T, I keep constantly thinking, "This would be great if...

... I could get the NPCs to respond to me reliably.
... the author would just tell me how I can use this item.
... this game had a hint system.
... I could read the author's mind."
(and so on)

S Tar Dus T has a compelling narrative tone and interesting descriptions that bespeak the skill of a talented amateur writer. It drew me in. I found the environment delightfully surreal (as opposed to "jumbled mish-mash non sequitur surreal), vaguely reminiscent of Lewis Carroll. Even non-responsive, the NPCs in the game are colourful and seem to promise something unique, but the characters and writing are let down by the game's obscure construction.

Unfortunately, the game offers no hints or help to allow players meaningful progress, I haven't been able to find a walkthrough, and the code is password protected. So, until a walkthrough comes around or someone posts the password or the author publishes a revision, I can only rate this one a disappointment. This is all the worse because I really do want to finish it.

Sorry, cannot recommend this game.

Jonathan Grimshaw: Space Tourist:
No Review.

Hunting Ground:
No Review

Tic Tac Toe:
A very easy game of tic tac toe given an epic, if entirely unexplained, frame story.

There's a comedy of scale and blundering going on here, but when it comes down to it, the entertainment limit of this game is already set at however much the player enjoys winning a game of tic tac toe.

Add to this that the screen doesn't clear between moves, but scrolls, and that there are proofreading errors in even a game of this size and... well, unfortunately, it can't add up to much.

Yon Astounding Castle! of some sort:
No Review.
Last edited by Po. Prune on Mon Sep 26, 2011 6:08 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Game removed from review.
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Re: Review Comp 2011 (the Vote)

Postby David Whyld » Mon Sep 26, 2011 6:04 am

Actually I don't think it's really fair to include my review of The Twilight as it turns out the game-breaking bug preventing you leaving the first location doesn't occur if you're playing the game in the same version of ADRIFT as it was written in (3.8 ). So I think it's best if I withdraw that review.
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Re: Review Comp 2011 (the Vote)

Postby Po. Prune » Mon Sep 26, 2011 6:06 am

David Whyld wrote:Actually I don't think it's really fair to include my review of The Twilight as it turns out the game-breaking bug preventing you leaving the first location doesn't occur if you're playing the game in the same version of ADRIFT as it was written in (3.8 ). So I think it's best if I withdraw that review.


Ok, David, Thanks.. It's removed.
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Re: Review Comp 2011 (the Vote)

Postby Duncan_B » Mon Sep 26, 2011 6:54 am

Shame the competition didn't produce any positive reviews.
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Re: Review Comp 2011 (the Vote)

Postby Po. Prune » Mon Sep 26, 2011 7:21 am

Duncan_B wrote:Shame the competition didn't produce any positive reviews.


8) Yeah, but the important thing is that it produced some reviews. I had hoped, though, that more people would have written a review.
(Yes, I know... I didn't write one myself. My excuse being that I was pretty busy correcting the flaws in RtC for the IF Comp)
I did write one though. But it's for a game entering the IF COmp, so I can't release it until the comp is over.
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Re: Review Comp 2011 (the Vote)

Postby Po. Prune » Fri Sep 30, 2011 5:54 pm

I certainly hope that more people will vote for the Adrift end of the year reward.
How hard can it be to read three or four reviews and then vote for the one you think is the best?
I'm seriously beginning to wonder if it's worth the time and effort (not to mention the prize money) to organize a competition in this forum. Aaarggh
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Re: Review Comp 2011 (the Vote)

Postby David Whyld » Fri Sep 30, 2011 8:10 pm

I didn't vote for the same reason I never seem to vote in ADRIFT comps these days: I disliked the voting system. Four reviews but I'm only allowed to vote for one? Sure, I can vote for the one that I liked the best, but what about the others? Don't they matter?

The IFComp has a simple 1-10 voting system which has worked fine all the time it’s been running. Would people still bother with voting if they were only allowed to cast a single vote?
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Re: Review Comp 2011 (the Vote)

Postby ralphmerridew » Sat Oct 01, 2011 2:12 am

With only 4 entrants, being only able to vote for one doesn't matter much. With the larger set of entrants in the IF comps, the more flexible the voting system needs to be for it.

Side comment: The first year of the IF comp had two divisions, TADS and Inform. A judge played all six games in one or both divisions, and then picked his/her three favorite games in that/each division. Most votes win. (I think that top vote getters in each category got their pick of prizes; then second best got their pic, and so on.)

Every comp since then has used the "single division, rate from 1 to 10" format.
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Re: Review Comp 2011 (the Vote)

Postby Duncan_B » Sat Oct 01, 2011 5:58 am

ralphmerridew wrote:With only 4 entrants, being only able to vote for one doesn't matter much.

I can't agree more, especially when there are really only two entrants. As for the rest: if one wants to review them in a fashion, there is the possibility of voting them "Helpful" or "Not Helpful." Or, should one wish to go really in-depth, they would make a wonderful addition to the long-languishing collection of writings and knick-knackery known as InsideADRIFT.
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Re: Review Comp 2011 (the Vote)

Postby Po. Prune » Mon Oct 03, 2011 8:46 am

Although the votes were a little slow (only 7 in all) we do have a winner.

Congratulations to Duncan for winning the Review Comp 2011.

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