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Posted: Tue Nov 17, 2009 2:36 pm
by Duncan_B
JUDGE: Hannes Schüller

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The Dangers of Driving at Night | Lumin |
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SCORE: 4
Comments:
Writing: Effective and to the point. My main gripe: It's never really clear how Harold is dangerous exactly. Sure, he talks about keeping me there forever, but why don't I just jump into my own car again and drive away? Also, the whole story is basically only triggered by the protagonist's stupidity (not making sure the car has enough gas), but that setup is excusable. The ending (which I assume is the only one) uses a classic twist which I liked. Could have been stronger, though if the perceived Harold threat had fleshed out more before (which I think would have been well possible within the competition's time limit). I can't help the feeling I've missed something. Chris tells me I shouldn't leave without first *carefully examining* everything in the gas
station, though I can't find anything.

Technical: The 'west' direction in the gas station suddenly disappears. Instead, the game told me I couldn't go in *any* direction which was even untrue - I could go east. No scenery mentioned in the room descriptions is implemented.

Puzzles: None really. The only actions I had to take (apart from hitting 'n') were talking to the people and giving money (which wasn't listed in my inventory) to Chris. I would have liked to be able to stop the car at the first sign of getting tired. 'hit brakes' returned an unfortunate default response insinuating that the brakes didn't work which certainly wasn't intentional (since the car stopped just fine later).

Interactivity: None really, but of the three games, it kept up the pretense best. Even though there is hardly anything to interact with, the game felt less empty than the other two.

Final thoughts: Most likely not intentional, but it reminded me of the Swamp Thing episode about juvenile deliquents turned vampires hanging out in an arcade. Made me smile :)

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Way Out | Metron4 |
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SCORE: 1
Comments:
Writing: Rule #1: Always begin the narration by telling me who I am. Here, I have no idea how old or what gender I am. After the introduction, everything can be called brief at best. The ending is a little weak- I will never be the same again? After seeing all my friends slaughtered by ghosts? Really? Isn't that a bit of an understatement?

Technical: Does what it tries to achieve, though at least my friends could have been implemented, especially since they appear to be dying throughout the narrative.

Puzzles: None

Interactivity: The only times something happens is when I look left or right - which kills me. The game ends after going north four times. Trying to go into any other (listed)
directions is rejected by the game. Citing a good reason, sure, but it still feels frustrating not to be able to do anything.

Final thoughts: I like haunted house stories, but this seemed to take its cues more from the teen slasher genre, so my subjective opinion is probably negatively slated here.

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Patient 7 | Justahack |
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SCORE: 3
Comments:
Writing: Works very well overall in the mood department. The roles of the orderlies and the doctor remain very unclear. Do they know about my merger with the demon? If so, why has the doctor kept me alive so far and why do they take Francis away? If not, why am I killed in the end?

Technical: No serious issues. Sometimes, the game generated responses involving "Doctor_2" or "Francis_4". Great to find that at least one game has implemented some scenery objects!

Puzzles: Different endings triggered by conversation options (good). Final decisions are spelt out by the game, so they're not really puzzles (was alright, though, because I didn't really want to guess the right verb in those scenes).

Interactivity: Unfortunately, this game's downside. I'm not expecting much of a game written in three hours, but absolutely nothing I do has any effect. The game even told me to just continue waiting at some points. I'd like the game at least to keep up the pretense.

Final thoughts: Although this is the most fleshed out entry, I liked it a little less than "Driving". Upon reflection, I think it is because although there is more interactivity in here objectively (at least a couple of story branches triggered by that one conversation), the game always carried on without *me* triggering that progress. Even if it is only a very obvious action, having the player type something in to trigger the next scene instead of it occuring anyway is always the better choice. For example, an orderly brought me food. Why not wait for the player to eat it and *then* begin the next scene? That's what I mean with 'pretense of interactivity': It gives me a sense of achievement to have done something to have moved the game forward. Likewise in the recreation room scene: It would have been better if Francis hadn't approached me, but if I had had to locate him instead. Same reason. Even if those actions are trivial, I feel less useless in my 'player' role then.

Posted: Tue Nov 17, 2009 2:37 pm
by Duncan_B
JUDGE: DannyL7773
(Not too great at giving reviews, but I'll give it a shot)
Preferred Game: The Dangers Of Driving At Night

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The Dangers of Driving at Night | Lumin |
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SCORE: 7/10
Comments: Kinda short but I think that's to be expected from having only 3 hours to put it together. A good solid story with a not so winning win ending (Which also came as a surprise, although, can't say I wasn't expecting SOMETHING)


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Way Out | Metron4 |
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SCORE: 6/10
Comments: Despite having me confused exactly as to what was going on, other than all your friends are either dead or going to be (Yes, I read the intro), I liked the main menu and the feel of it being like one of those Halloween trains. Only one way to go but there's things on both sides to look at as you go along. When I got my first gameover, the gameover message made my smile.


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Patient 7 | Justahack |
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SCORE: 6/10
Comments: A great demonic story. Originally I had planned to not give in to the demon, if possible. Then I saw the words "incinerate your enemies". Hybrid ending won me over just on those 3 words alone. That said, I didn't actually find much to do other than just waiting for the events to pass, then again I could be missing something. Conversation was a nice touch though.
Needs more to do maybe between events?

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Overall:
TDODAN: Short, decent story, unexpected but at the same time expected ending (Expected something to happen but it was nowhere close to that). Pretty easy to go through since there really isn't much choice as to what to do. (Would have got a better score if you could have chosen to accept Harold's offer)

Patient 7: Demons, ability to incinerate people (I loved this <3). Great way of handling conversations. Too much waiting for events to kick. Good story though

Way Out: Kinda confusing as to what exactly happened. Simple game. Nice menu use. Great game over (Lose) message. Kinda reminded me of the Grudge. Not really much to do though. Really needs an explanation as to what happened after they looked down the hall and how they got to be where they are. Who/what did it?

Posted: Tue Nov 17, 2009 2:38 pm
by Duncan_B
JUDGE: Richard Otter

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The Dangers of Driving at Night | Lumin |
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SCORE: 4

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Way Out | Metron4 |
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SCORE: 5

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Patient 7 | Justahack |
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SCORE: 2

Posted: Tue Nov 17, 2009 2:39 pm
by Duncan_B
JUDGE: Mel S.

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The Dangers of Driving at Night | Lumin |
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SCORE: 7
Comments: While I think the ending is a little underwhelming and there were a few technical errors, this game definitely managed to create a very tense atmosphere with just a few locations and a very short amount of time. It felt very Twilight Zone-y, which is never a bad thing.


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Way Out | Metron4 |
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SCORE: 4
Comments: I was intrigued by the premise for this, a group of teenagers exploring an old house where some brutal murders took place is a fun and spooky idea for a horror game. There's a problem though: the entire middle section of the game, where everything is supposed to happen, is not here. The introduction shows the characters entering the house, then the game simply cuts straight to you being the last person alive, running north to escape. Without the middle section, getting to explore the house and slowly realizing the evil of it, it feels incomplete.


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Patient 7 | Justahack |
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SCORE: 6
Comments: This was definitely the most ambitious game of the comp, and while Justhack should definitely be applauded for taking a risk, I think the game's story is a little big in scope for a 3 hour game. All the talk of demons, Jesuits, schizophrenia and sacrifice is interesting, but they're very big ideas being done in a very small game so it all feels a bit rushed.

Posted: Tue Nov 17, 2009 2:44 pm
by Duncan_B
JUDGE: Rob Roy {Metron4}
Please note: This is an author's review.

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The Dangers of Driving at Night | Lumin |
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SCORE: 70.19%
Comments:
-Great descriptions for characters, objects and settings, even though every object was unexaminable.
-The game did most of the work, which is totally acceptable for Ectocomp in my opinion.
-Too many objects mentioned were not examinable.
-I love road trip stories, and a creepy gas station is a great setting.
-I laughed when I couldn’t stop the car or pull over in the beginning. I felt like screaming “I’m outta control!”

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Way Out | Metron4 |
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SCORE: Not Rated

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Patient 7 | Justahack |
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SCORE: 75.63%
Comments:
-I assume the opening part about being seven years old was a dream? Otherwise I would remove the age part because the rest of the story makes less sense if you are seven. The transitions between cell, dreams, and other areas were nicely detailed.
-Not many choices. I can jump off the roof if I don’t mention Francis, choose “demon” if I do, or wait to have the doctor open my head. And I’m only seven!
-The transitions between the scenes contributed a layer of surreality that I enjoyed. Some things mentioned had no interaction commands (x bed, x door). Trying to attack Francis or doctor yielded “Doctor_2” and “Francis_3” glitches.
-Most disliked: Not really being able to do anything, waiting for the next scene to transition.
-Great visual descriptions. I could see it all happening. If only I knew whether I was seven or not.
-Perfect length and scope for the Ectocomp challenge!

Posted: Tue Nov 17, 2009 2:44 pm
by Duncan_B
JUDGE: Lumin
Please note: This is an author's review.

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The Dangers of Driving at Night | Lumin |
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SCORE: Not Rated

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Way Out | Metron4 |
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SCORE: 4
Comments:

Writing:
I thought the intro was a little overly wordy (too many characters and their relationships/personalities introduced all at once, and in the end none of it mattered anyway.) This was one situation where trying to be balanced didn't really pay off--the NPCs either needed less time devoted to them to keep from being a distraction, or a lot more to make them developed enough to stand out.

The short, terse style of writing in the rest of the game definitely worked though. It's hard to create tension or a sense of immediacy in a turn-based text game, so the way it put you right in the PC's shoes and messed with the player's natural instinct to take their time and examine every single thing was kind of neat. (and cruel :p)

Gameplay:
No real puzzles, but that's not a big deal in a mini-game for a timed comp, and they would have only hurt the pacing anyway. Though on my second playthrough I did notice that if you did exactly what you were told and 'won', you were in for a very short (and not terribly interesting) experience!

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Patient 7 | Justahack |
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SCORE: 7
Comments:

Writing:
It's almost hard to believe this was done in just three hours. A genuinely creepy intro combined with a branching plot and a general atmosphere of wtf-ness and dread all adds up to some excellent writing and my favorite game of the comp.

Gameplay:
Again, no puzzles, and again it's understandable considering the time limit. (though this style of game I think could easily be expanded to support them)

Posted: Tue Nov 17, 2009 2:52 pm
by Duncan_B
There you have it! The votes are in. A note on the process, here...

Because there are only three entries, I'm using what we might call the "OddComp" method of scoring. That is, I'm looking more at the ranking of the entries than their scores. Who was most voted first? Who was most voted second? And so on.

Because not every author has submitted a vote, authors' votes have not been considered in the scoring.

If you have votes or reviews that I have missed for some reason, please either let me know or post them up here.

From these scores, the rankings end up like this...

* * * *

1st place: The Dangers of Driving at Night, by Lumin.
2nd place: Patient 7, by Justahack.
3rd place: Way Out, by Rob Roy {Metron4}.

* * * *

Lumin wins $10! Congratulations, and thanks to all who entered and participated!

Posted: Tue Nov 17, 2009 6:03 pm
by Metron4
Congrats, Lumin! :claps:

I really learned a lot from this competition. A big thanks to all the judges.

Posted: Tue Nov 17, 2009 9:18 pm
by justahack
Congratulations Lumin! :D

Thanks to all the host, judges, and of course the other competitors. It was fun participating and reading the reviews. :D

Posted: Wed Nov 18, 2009 11:14 pm
by revgiblet
Congrats Lumin. I'll have to give the games a play.

Posted: Sun Nov 22, 2009 3:07 am
by Lumin
Duncan_B wrote:Lumin wins $10!

Wha-!? How did that happen? :O

Anyway, thanks for all the feedback, guys.

Just FYI, I started working on a slightly expanded version right after sending this one in. There were obviously a few things that got cut due to the time limit (being able to stop and examine the damage to your car like a sane person after wrecking it, to begin with...) and I want to add some proper descriptions and a little more interactivity to the gas station itself.

Also, Hannes, thanks for this comment in particular:

Writing: Effective and to the point. My main gripe: It's never really clear how Harold is dangerous exactly. Sure, he talks about keeping me there forever, but why don't I just jump into my own car again and drive away? Also, the whole story is basically only triggered by the protagonist's stupidity (not making sure the car has enough gas), but that setup is excusable. The ending (which I assume is the only one) uses a classic twist which I liked. Could have been stronger, though if the perceived Harold threat had fleshed out more before (which I think would have been well possible within the competition's time limit). I can't help the feeling I've missed something. Chris tells me I shouldn't leave without first *carefully examining* everything in the gas
station, though I can't find anything.


Actually, yes you did miss something. ('look around' or 'look at parking lot, car, etc.' triggers a fairly important cut scene. I somehow completely missed that it was possible to progress the game without even seeing it. :blushed: Fixed now!

And of course, thanks to Duncan for stepping up to run the comp in the first place! :bravo:




Edited By Lumin on 1258859367