September Writing Spiel - and reviews thereof

A forum where new and old games can be reviewed - an alternative to the reviews on the Adventures page of the main ADRIFT site. Also the place to ask for any assistance if you are stuck playing a particular game.
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Duncan_B

Post by Duncan_B »

Here is a space to offer reviews of the two works submitted for the September Writing Spiel, Top Hat and Cumberbund. Please keep in mind the lax nature of restrictions for the spiel... authors have submitted under the pretext that the spiel is a no-pressure situation to experiment with releasing their work. However, if you have constructive criticism for an author, feel free to provide it.

Also remember that writing samples submitted are not competing, so no rankings will be given. Please review both games in one post if possible in order to keep the thread from becoming cluttered.

Rules for the spiel may be found in this thread, for reference.

Thank you!
justahack
Posts: 126
Joined: Sat Jan 31, 2009 10:59 pm

Post by justahack »

I thought I would throw in my two cents for Cumberbund and Top Hat. I thought they were both fun little pieces. I'll start off with Cumberland first.

In short Cumberbund is about a fellow trying to find his lost red and green cumberbund that's somewhere in his room. It's a one room style game, so no traveling of any sort. There are a very limited number of places to look for said cumberland so it's quite easy to reach the end game fairly quickly. Throughout the quest for looking for said lost cumberbund, you get very faint glimpses and pieces of a back story. When reaching the end, the fate of the cumberbund is reconciled with the back story, and you're presented with an entertaining conclusion. All in all, it took about five minutes or probably less to finish the whole thing. I found it very enjoyable, because I was not expecting the ending at all. If you have about five minutes, I would suggest this little excursion into cleaning your (virtual) room.

Top Hat, is another one room game where you play the role of a little elf helping in a magic show. More specifically, you're in a top hat (hence the name) during a magic show and you're tasked with handing the magician the right items he needs for his show. You share the top hat along with other items and living creatures, and it's up to you whether you wish to cooperate or hinder the magician's efforts at not-failing. I had a minor problem in figuring out how to initially help the magician at first, but the hint system helped rather well in that department. I was even able to get hints on how to achieve the "best" ending, which I presume is to become the center of attention and not the various other items that are in the top hat. Again, about five minutes or less, and it was entertaining.

So, if you have about ten or less minutes, I would suggest these two games for a quick diversion from whatever it is you're doing today.

:D
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revgiblet
Posts: 444
Joined: Sat Aug 05, 2006 10:11 pm
Location: Canowindra, NSW

Post by revgiblet »

Thanks for the generous assessment!
"He who lives only to benefit himself confers on the world a benefit when he dies."

Tertullian

In Progress:- Watch This Space...
justahack
Posts: 126
Joined: Sat Jan 31, 2009 10:59 pm

Post by justahack »

Mm I just noticed now I misspelled Cumberbund many times, hehe. Funny thing is that it appears quite random. D:
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DCBSupafly
Posts: 290
Joined: Tue Jul 07, 2009 9:19 pm
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Post by DCBSupafly »

1) Hooray for short games!

2) Cumberbund was great fun, super quick, and wonderfully unfrustrating given the nature of its story. Typically when I'm forced to search a small room or space for something like this (in IF or IRL), I end up cursing a lot and ultimately giving up, but even after the initial humor of the situation wore off, I still had a feeling of excitement searching the room and looking at everything. I think what distinguishes this from other searches is that the fun in this came from trying and failing to find the cummerbund, and instead finding interesting details, while in many situations there is no fun in this act, and only failure.

I was disappointed at the fact that the ending came out of nowhere. In such a small space with so few objects, revgiblet crammed so many interesting details about the pc as well as his relationship with this woman, but then when the twist of the ending came, it had no supporting details. It's my opinion more than an objective criticism, but I would have liked the ending to tie in to the rest of the game a little more.

You can imagine my disappointment when I couldn't interact with the calendar. Cummerbund and calendar were both misspelled in this, but in the case of calendar, I failed to notice while playing, and thus didn't see the reason until I opened the game in the generator to investigate. These mistakes are not grave, but could have been fixed easily by testing, which would have improved the experience.

In the end, this was a fun little adventure, with great details, and original premise, and a solid & simple construction. The spelling errors were not game-breaking, but did actually weaken my experience.

3) I was more impressed with the premise and writing of Top Hat than the actual gameplay. I loved having the option of selecting what to give the boss, but everything I did ended with an insinuation that I could have done better. My only real complaint would be that it seems the ending was triggered often without a warning, which can frustrate me.

I love the use of font sizes, and the characterization of the boss in this. Reviewing the .taf in the generator a little bit, I found the hints and realize that maybe I should have used them more, but I haven't used them before, and am unfamiliar with the system.

I love that this had a title graphic as well! Whose work is that?




Edited By DCBSupafly on 1255839925
Duncan_B

Post by Duncan_B »

Yeah... can't say there was too much to the gameplay of Top Hat. Did you never find the best ending? I drew the title graphic myself using MS Paint. :D
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