Although I literally have the polar opposite opinion as you on every single game you reviewed, and never issue 10s unless they are as good as HHGTTG, I cannot help but devour your reviews and the mixed metaphors they contain like a pack of flock of ravenous gulls at a clam bake. I rated Ventilator very low because I just did not 'get' it but this review alone has caused me to love it solely because it elicited this response from a human being. In fact it may be now my favorite game I never played to completion for this very reason. If you ever wished to go into detail about why you love Ventilator I would eagerly buy multiple copies of any book you chose to write on the subject and liberally distribute them to relatives at family gatherings in order to sweeten the pot for return presents from said relatives at holidays and birthdays.
First, I need to premise everything I am about to write by stating that I follow all comp rules to their extremes without question and all of my scores have been in good faith. Second, I stand behind Ventilator as my number one pick of the competition without any doubt, the other 13 games on that list I may shuffle the order around, but I am adamant in my belief they are all 10's.
This Ventilator question has been brought up to me on several occasions, and it is a fair one to ask in which I have been meaning to address for some time now. I decided to do it here because I enjoyed your absurd review of my absurd review of an absurd game, I was hoping more people would have caught on to that, but I take full responsibility for any ambivalence. The other important point I need to make is that I also believe that Ventilator is something much more than just an absurd game, while you can easily enjoy it for its base comedy alone, its wit will cut you deep if you attempt to explore it further unprepared.
I believe comedy is the hardest genre to write for. Something can be kind of scary or pretty thought provoking or reasonably entertaining and it will all hold some degree of value. When you say that something is kind of funny or pretty funny or reasonably funny, that is just a polite way of saying something wasn't funny at all. Something is either funny or it isn't, there is no middle ground, and there is no doubt when something is funny.
I felt the author here came out with the ferocity of a prize fighter from the first to the last word of each ending. There was no lull in the writing, it was just unmitigated savagery without concern for anyone or anything, even their own personal well being. It was just a blood crazed flurry of teeth and nails. The author showed no mercy, no quarter, no compassion, no forgiveness. Even after the ref put a stop to the fight, even after the ref tried to tackle the author off of a now extremely brutalized and very obviously deceased former professional athlete, even after the Las Vegas Police Department stormed the ring to viciously club and mace and taser the author in a vain attempt to put an end to the carnage, the author still kept tearing out handfuls of flesh, headbutting the solar plexus, and delivering devastating knees to the chin until the the stain on the mat representing somebody at sometime once was neatly separated into plasma, red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. This was all a metaphor for what the author did to their keyboard of course, I don't actually think the author is a violent psychopath.
I may try to do an in depth analysis of it in a future post, but right now I am thoroughly enjoying Ectocomp, and I still have a few IfComp reviews that need to be fleshed out significantly.
I see a lot of different explanations people have for how they judge a game, I have nothing to say on this because that is between them and the officials. I personally always judge a game based on the context of what category it resides in. If a verified comp official instructed me to score the games based on how they hold up to a must own game that easily resides among the greatest works of Interactive Fiction of all time such as "Hadean Lands" for example, http://zarfhome.com/
then I would first contact the comp directly to verify that the individual who contacted me is indeed a comp official, confirm that I understood the instructions correctly, and then change all of my comp scores to 1's and 2's, but that wouldn't be fair to the authors of this comp, so I judge the games against each other.
*****Update: After rereading my post here, I am concerned over the wording of my final point. I thoroughly enjoyed all of the comp entries to various degrees up to and including elated, and I would score them on the IFDB proportionate to how I scored them here, rounding up or rounding down to be determined on individual merits. The games all hold a tremendous amount of merit on their own as well as in comparison to the overall body of IF. The point I was trying to make is that I believe it would be unfair to base your score of a comp game based on how it stacks up to a game that has reached the bleeding edge of perfection through decades of an author building up skills through hard work and determination. Or to the commercial Infocom games where they had an actual business location and a team of talent to work on projects as their full time job instead of making games as a passion and trying to fit that around careers and family. Sorry if this came across the wrong way.