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PostPosted: Sat Feb 07, 2015 10:16 pm 
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VictorGijsbers wrote:
UnwashedMass wrote:
Pick Up The Phone Booth And Die

Really? :)


What it does, it is unparalleled at. No less likely than Aisle or the Ascot, really 8)


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 07, 2015 10:33 pm 
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UnwashedMass wrote:
VictorGijsbers wrote:
UnwashedMass wrote:
Pick Up The Phone Booth And Die

Really? :)


What it does, it is unparalleled at. No less likely than Aisle or the Ascot, really 8)


And its influence can't be denied. How many other games have had so many direct imitators?

(Scribbles to add Cloak of Darkness to his list.)


Last edited by matt w on Sun Mar 08, 2015 7:23 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2015 2:51 am 
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My list is a mix of the old and the pretty new, but not the really new - unless it was in an IFComp. My list also has little from the middle, just because the middle area is what I have played the least of.

There are probably more old games that I like, but which I acknowledge are of historical interest rather than Top 50 worthy now. By the unnameable criteria I'm using, I definitely don't think a 'Wizard and the Princess' can cut it. But I do think some Scott Adams games cut it. Their puzzles also continue to stand up, unlike Sierra's, the latter largely defining what we now think of as classically unfair.

What I do realise is consistent about my list is that I'd be happy to open any one of these games right now (I mean RIGHT NOW) and play it again. Maybe that's my deepest down criteria.

Alphabetical order:

Adventureland

I don't know if you noticed Jason Dyer's recent review of Adventureland. He mentioned:

'This is going to sound like a bizarre statement to anyone who has played a Scott Adams game, but Adventureland is the first game in my chronological series that has felt modern.'

(https://bluerenga.wordpress.com/2015/01 ... land-1979/)

And he's saying that about the very first Scott Adams game.

Adventureland has always felt elemental to me. (Of course, having 'adventure' in the title helps.) It's clear and fun and really dense with the way the puzzles overlap. While the difficulty-favouring might prefer Zork or Colossal Cave in their elemental slot, I prefer this.

Some find so few words in a game intolerable. If you acknowledge that Adams's games convey an attitude (which they definitely do) I think you also have to acknowledge that their words have an aesthetic which is conveying it. I am more interested in what that aesthetic does than the fact that it's incapable of many things. His games may be the rawest demonstration of 'words + your imagination + puzzles = a particular type of engagement', and IF folk are always on about the power of words, and sometimes about the other things.

Andromeda Awakening

I feel that for the typical range of what parser IF does well, sci-fi and fantasy are its best matches. Compared to Awakening, Apocalypse was smoother and won a comp, where this first one generated a strange kind of controversy over its difficulties - but then got updated significantly in response.

In retrospect, the first one left a greater impression on me. It's that thing of exploring a truly alien world that parser IF does so well, and solving novel puzzles with a degree of abstraction, and that this world conveyed a lot of history and possibilities. This is my benchmark for a classically styled sci-fi parser game with more modern-feeling content.

Andromeda Dreaming

The achievement of Andromeda Dreaming is that it stands on something really solid (Andromeda Awakening) and manages to add an incredible amount to it in a short, mostly linear game that punches well above its weight in many respects. I'm unaware of another game with similar circumstances.

Because I'm mostly uninterested in short or speed games, this one stands out for me in the 'short' camp. Also for this reason, I'm aware it's unlikely to make most people's choice for a top 50.

Aotearoa

One of the first games I played from modern times, this made me think, 'Wow, this is how these games could be treating players and these are some of the new things they can do.' That's on top of it being a really good game in its own right, and I don't really separate the two. Actually, I believe in their integration, so this game's attitude was where I started when I made Six.

Coloratura

It's both conspicuously gamey and a visceral exploration of different characters' emotions. Someone said they haven't come back to it. I haven't come back to it either, but that's not criteria suited to every game for me. There are lots of great books I haven't read more than once, nor felt the need to until a lot of time had passed.

Kerkerkruip

I still feel weird calling Kerkerkruip IF. Not in any sense that it's not what IF is today, but just having to use those words 'interactive fiction' for this case. Kerk is like the ultimate combat text adventure, and one of the most addictive games ever.

One Eye Open

One of the best horror games of recent times. Really playable, and informed by all the developments in console horror gaming.

Strange Odyssey

This is my favourite Scott Adams adventure. The great dangerousness of outer space to humans summed up in 16kB, and benefitting and making sense from the memory limitations and hostility. A form and content marriage.

Suspended

My other favourite Infocom game. I was terrible at this but I still played the start of it over and over, because I found it that novel and creepy and suspenseful. There's still not a lot of competition today, either, technically, for a game where you can control six robot protagonists with different powers, personalities (so to speak) and ways of apprehending the environment.

Theatre

While other people name things like Curses as their obligatory, fine and traditional-leaning big puzzlefests, I name Theatre, which is the horror equivalent. Well, OK so Anchorhead is probably most people's equivalent, but I found Anchorhead too hard, and I'm afraid I really detest Inform's hint systems from that era of game. Meaning, most hard games from that era, they get in cahoots with me to destroy my own experience of them until I quit.

Theatre is of far more reasonable difficulty and is also more its own being. I really like Lovecraft, but I'm also aware I react against the favouritism of literary subject matter over other which characterises a lot of the post-commercial era.

Wishbringer

My favourite Infocom game. Powerful atmosphere, humour, menace, a normal version of the world and a flipside twisted one. And sort of tolerable difficulty. (I find/found all Infocom too difficult.)

You Will Select A Decision

Perfectly written and one of the funniest things I've ever read or played. And very substantial.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2015 2:27 pm 
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I have another anonymous one:
Quote:
Horse Master
Counterfeit Monkey
A Mind Forever Voyaging
Spider and Web
Photopia
Lost Pig
Shadow in the Cathedral
Bad Machine
Treasures of a Slaver's Kingdom
T-Zero
Babel
Gun Mute
LASH
Shades of Gray
Wonderland
Jigsaw
Aisle
The Sound of One Hand Clapping
Enlightenment
Necrotic Drift

Every new list makes me genuinely excited. There's so much I still need to play, and so much I need to replay!


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2015 2:32 pm 
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namekuseijin wrote:
that IF like Slouching Towards Bedlam or Jigsaw aren't anywhere near the top is truly embarassing

I don't know! Jigsaw has a lot of competition from other big traditional puzzlefests, so I can imagine it not making people's top 10 or 20. (I'll admit that I personally never played it, partly because I imagine it is a lot like Curses which is too harsh and unforgiving for my tastes. Please convince me that I should play it, if you think I should!) Slouching Towards Bedlam took 10th place in the previous top 50, so maybe it will get more votes soon, or maybe people need to be reminded about it. (Why not write a nice piece on it for SPAG?)

As far as I'm concerned, it would be great if this voting process gets people to either play games they haven't played yet, or write about games they care about.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2015 4:16 pm 
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VictorGijsbers wrote:
namekuseijin wrote:
that IF like Slouching Towards Bedlam or Jigsaw aren't anywhere near the top is truly embarassing

I don't know! Jigsaw has a lot of competition from other big traditional puzzlefests, so I can imagine it not making people's top 10 or 20. (I'll admit that I personally never played it, partly because I imagine it is a lot like Curses which is too harsh and unforgiving for my tastes. Please convince me that I should play it, if you think I should!) Slouching Towards Bedlam took 10th place in the previous top 50, so maybe it will get more votes soon, or maybe people need to be reminded about it. (Why not write a nice piece on it for SPAG?)

As far as I'm concerned, it would be great if this voting process gets people to either play games they haven't played yet, or write about games they care about.


Jigsaw is my number 8. I completed it over two weeks without resorting to any hints or walkthroughs (although I did google some of the real world stuff that appears in the game).

Honestly, Jigsaw is much more forgiving than Curses. It is still less forgiving than your average modern puzzlefest, and you will probably need to keep saves from across the game. However, unlike Curses, the game contains a lot of hints about whether you are done with everything in a particular one-time-only area. The game also has a general "feel" of its puzzles and once you've got the feel down the game gets a lot of easier.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2015 4:16 pm 
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Jigsaw is definitely not up there for me, but I did bring up Slouching so don't look at me


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2015 7:49 pm 
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VictorGijsbers wrote:
Jigsaw has a lot of competition from other big traditional puzzlefests, so I can imagine it not making people's top 10 or 20. (I'll admit that I personally never played it, partly because I imagine it is a lot like Curses which is too harsh and unforgiving for my tastes. Please convince me that I should play it, if you think I should!)


for what it's worth, I don't consider it a puzzlefeast. Sure, there're puzzles, but the point is that they don't quite feel like puzzles. I've tried enjoying huge puzzlefeasts as Muldoon Legacy or Just an ordinary ballerina, but I couldn't cope with all the gratuitous machinations, button pushing and so on. Those are puzzlefeasts for puzzlefeast sake, like the old dungeon romps collecting treasures. Nelson's puzzles usually feel very organic to the story and setting - I believe he abides by "Crimes against mimesis".

In Jigsaw it is about an unlikely romance as you romp through some XX century key events. Whatever it is that your love interest is trying to accomplish, it is your job to try to stop it from working. The "puzzles" mostly deal with observation and figuring out what had taken place and your role in preventing it. Some of those events are timed events and if you can't figure it out before it ends, you're doomed to watch a very different XXI... save often, before starting each new episode... a good deal of trial and error is nothing to be frustrated about: it is necessary so you can watch yourself the consequences of going wrong...

And it indeed does feel more forgiving than Curses. Fact is, it renders very vivid settings and a memorable chase-like romance story, so do yourself a favor and play it... BTW, be very sure to explore all the areas of the prologue and get the key items. You can't go back there once in the central hub and some of these items are needed for a satisfactory ending. be warned :mrgreen:

_________________
puzzleless IF is puzzling


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2015 5:39 am 
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VictorGijsbers wrote:
As far as I'm concerned, it would be great if this voting process gets people to either play games they haven't played yet, or write about games they care about.


It's certainly having that affect on me. I'm looking at the games listed above and wondering why on earth I've never tried the majority of them out. Some are games that have been out for years and years yet for some reason I still haven't got round to playing them.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2015 9:28 am 
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namekuseijin wrote:
BTW, be very sure to explore all the areas of the prologue and get the key items. You can't go back there once in the central hub and some of these items are needed for a satisfactory ending. be warned :mrgreen:


I think that right there is what's keeping it off a lot of people's lists--I started playing and kept getting bounced out of the prologue by the time limit until I had to consult a walkthrough. And when I did consult the walkthrough, I did not say "Gosh, I should've seen that."

Spoiler: show
The undescribed exit was a real killer--in more modern IF I usually expect to have a room description tell me where I can go, whereas in this one if you don't use a hint in one room to deduce that going a certain direction in an adjacent room will be productive, you can't progress at all. To some extent this is a question of expectations--I-0 had something similar (which I think was more of a pure try-every-direction-everywhere puzzle) though that only locked you out of one branch, not of the whole game.

I'm not sure if I found all of the hidden items on my own--I thought opening the piano bench was reasonably well clued, or maybe it's that I've known enough piano benches to know that they open, but I can't remember if I looked under it; it doesn't seem like the sort of thing I'd do. And sketching the bird.... I can only assume that eventually you get to a point where it becomes clear that you should've been sketching birds from the beginning, and you have to restart? That seems very old-school.


From what I've played since then it seems as though subsequent scenes might be a lot more accessible to the modern player. But the prologue is a high bar to clear. (I wonder if that's common in games of that period--I had a similar experience with Christminster.


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