The place to discuss the ADRIFT Interactive Fiction toolkit

Spring Ting 2010 rewievs

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.

Postby P/o Prune » Sat Jul 03, 2010 3:07 pm

These two reviews were sent to me by Lumin.
I have taken the liberty to post them here, hoping that it would be ok. :cool:
Po. Prune

Egg Hunt:
At first glance, this game written by a newbie plays exactly like a game written by a newbie, with all the 'my first gaem' mistakes I've seen time and time again when these things pop up on the adventures page. From a gameplay perspective the biggest problem of course were that the descriptions and puzzles were all but non-existent, something that will usually immediately make me quit with the thought that I'd be putting more effort into playing the game than the author did into writing it. But since this was a comp entry I pressed on, and discovered even worse problems with the plot, which apparently started out as an attempt at a classic Christmas folkstory I've heard a few versions of, but then devolved pretty much immediately into some of the clumsiest sledgehammer preaching I've ever seen, so much that I can't help but wonder whether the author was for real or not. (I became even more confused a few minutes ago when I looked them up and saw that they'd written 'Igor' as well, a flawed but still pretty decent game.)

So while I'm not wanting to hurt anyone's feelings, the only positive thing I can really find to say about this one is in noting the nice sound effects that were added for different rooms, though that kind of attention to a welcome but unnecessary detail while the much more important 'text' part of the text game was all but ignored is somewhat baffling in itself. In the end, my advice to the author is the same as it always is in these situations: it's best to play a few games before you attempt to make one of your own, just like a wannabe novelist needs to do plenty of reading before they're comfortable with writing. Go to Baf's Guide, pick out some good IF and some bad IF, get a sense of what works and what doesn't. (And if you're serious about the Christian fiction thing, try Eric Eve's All Hope Abandon and Paul Panks' Jesus of Nazareth...see if you can tell the difference. ;) )

Wes Garden's Halting Nightmare:
This game. This freaking game. While I'm glad Jubell's going to get his free copy of Adrift and all, he really should have saved it for the Summer Comp...unregistered limitations and all, I think it still would've given some of us more experienced Drifters a run for our money. I loved everything about this. Well, okay, I admit thought the whole 'Soul Scythe' things sounded like something out of a cheesy action game, but everything else--the intro and the writing, the genuinely creepy rooms and mindscrew plot, and of course the amazing art and music, just blew me away. I even loved that I still had no idea what was going on at the end. Usually that's something that would annoy me a little, but here it's a strength...I was SO glad it didn't all wrap up neatly with a pat 'but it was alllll in his head' or whatever ending.

The limitations of the unregistered version did show up in a few cases, (mostly when I was getting drawn into a trippy room description but not being able to examine something that seemed prominent) so I'm really hoping that in addition to a sequel, the author might be able to go back and flesh this one out a little once they've got their shiny new full version. And though this one's more a matter of personal taste, it also seemed like there was a lot of plot railroading, long cutscenes and such popping up every couple of minutes. Though once again, even though it's something I don't always care for, in this case I might call it a good thing because it allowed so much plot and content to be crammed in despite the limits and made the game seem a lot larger than it actually is. (I noticed you made good use of conversation topics as well, which is also a good trick in this kind of situation.)

The one and only thing I would have to say I definitely didn't care for were the combat aspects - the fact is I simply hate hate hate Adrift's default combat system and have never seen it used in a good way. I found it yanked me out of the story here too, and finally after being killed half a dozen times in the first fight (my own hits never seeming to do any damage) I got frustrated and changed the opponent's stats in the generator, which let me move past that part but may or may not have caused a bigger problem later.

For the second fight, I got the message saying I was being attacked, but nothing happened (I was alone in the room) and since I couldn't trigger the end of the fight I wasn't able to progress any further after that. I can't say with any kind of confidence that it was a bug, because there's a good chance I broke something with my meddling earlier, but even if it was, the game up until that point was amazing enough to more than make up for it. Happily I was able to sort of experience the last few scenes by following along with the walkthrough and the generator anyway, and the ending did not disappoint. Really, really, REALLY looking forward to whatever this author decides to write next.
D-Day V.5 in progress 86Kb (Slowly drifting)
Just a Fairy Tale: 37Kb
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Re: Spring Ting 2010 rewievs

Postby TommoHawk » Sun Sep 15, 2013 8:37 pm

Firstly, thanks for reviewing my games. I do appreciate opinions and comments.

I think you should know that I wrote these games for 8 year old children. So they are shallow and overly simplistic. I also was teaching them how to understand how creative and cool these type of games can be. I simply submitted the games to see what kind of feedback would be forthcoming.

I was teaching a class of 14 children (8 to 10 year olds) about A.D.R.I.F.T. text adventure creation and wanted to keep them interested as typing is not as much fun as playing other games. So I got them to all create a room with a toilet and they had the challenge of making the game work by getting a jobby (cr*p) to be flushed down the toilet via commands and to input a sound effect. AT THE END OF THE CLASS, THE CHILDREN WERE ASKED (BY THEIR PARENTS) WHAT THEY HAD LEARNED AT COMPUTER CLASS TODAY. THEY ALL SAID "WE GOT A JOBBY TO FLUSH DOWN THE TOILET". !!!
( I had to "EXPLAIN" !!)

The "Egg Hunt" was also written for children to be able to play quickly and understand the simplicity of how these games work. They only had 20 minutes to play the whole game.

I wrote a much more complex game in the 1980s for the commodore C16+4 and the Commodore C64 computers when Text Adventures were being overtaken with the new isometric and freescape games. I had to get a programmer friend to write machine code to expand on the restrictions of famous text adventures like "The Quill". I designed and produced a game that was submitted to all of the games companies of that era, but they had all moved onto the newer types of games and text adventures were becoming old school sadly! My game, which I am considering making for Adrift when the time is right (£££?) was so vast in it's design, that I had clever and interesting and humorous answers for every possible thing that a person might type in the given situation, room or whatever they wanted to ask about life etc etc? I used to play all the spectrum and c64 classic text adventures and they lacked logical responses and had too many repeated neutral answers. Graphics came in to these games and ruined the imagination created by good descriptions. One would look at the picture and e.g. : not see anything on a table and therefore lazily miss examining it (just a simple example of the inferred problem with graphics). Another annoying thing was extremely long-winded boring descriptions the size of a whole page of a book. These would be fine for book worms, but not for adventure seeking gamers. These were the death nail for the popularity of the text adventures of that era.

Please try my "Little Britain : Find Andy" text game. It is full of original TV show voices and please bare in mind it was also written for very young children to complete in under 20 minutes! I hope you can enjoy the silly fun of it!

yours sincerely and appreciatively,

ian Thomson (TommoHawk) : (An Experienced gamer, games designer and Tutor)

P.S. I also worked for the computer Games company DMA Design (Now "ROCKSTAR") as a Game Engineer (Level Designer 1995 - 2000). I worked on (66+ hours work was criteria for being in the credits) and have my name in the credits of :Grand Theft Auto 2 (PC), Silicon Valley(Nintendo 64), Body Harvest(Nintendo 64),Tanktics(PC), Wild Metal Country(PC) and Wild Metal (SEGA Dreamcast).
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