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PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2015 3:53 am 
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emshort wrote:
Uh, I now feel a bit sheepish about having tweeted the result list. It was before the additional comments showed up, I swear!

You are innocent. I testify to that.

(Although I also don't think there's anything wrong with tweeting a result list even when you are -- in one sense or another -- at the top of that list. Perhaps living in England has made you a bit too afraid of immodesty? ;-) )


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2015 4:31 am 
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VictorGijsbers wrote:
But what I meant by my comment about nostalgia is that the days are over (and probably have been over for a while) when writing interactive fiction was primarily seen as a way to recapture the qualities of a golden age. It is evident that the current community no longer thinks of the commercial era as a golden age. And I'm pretty sure -- not from this list, but from knowing the community in general -- that there is not now and has not ever been a widespread idea that we have to recapture another golden age, e.g., the late nineties.

I suppose that's true if you define a Golden Age as the time period when the best games were produced. Personally I consider the first half of the 80s as the Golden Age of commercial IF and the late 90s-early 00s the Golden Age of hobbyist IF, but modern games are consistently far better than almost anything produced back then.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2015 5:33 am 
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It could be that there are better games now than there were back then. :)

Things that were a staple of the genre got dropped as times changed. That doesn't just have to do with context (it's what every game did so by golly we'll do it too! Besides, the gamer is paying for this and expects months of frustration!), it has to do with this artform developing (what, really, when you get down to it, is the point of walking deads, mazes, and random daemons? Let's just do away with them and focus on other things). Although cave paintings have a charm of their own, you'd be hard pressed to rate them above greek urn paintings, and harder pressed to rate THOSE above the Flemish renaissance masters.

For my money, though, the old-school classics on the list - or the oldies-but-goodies - surely deserve their place there.

I AM surprised that Trinity rated so low. And I am NOT surprised that Planetfall is not there at all - it's outworn its gimmick at last.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2015 5:50 am 
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Peter Piers wrote:
Although cave paintings have a charm of their own, you'd be hard pressed to rate them above greek urn paintings, and harder pressed to rate THOSE above the Flemish renaissance masters.

But not hard pressed to rate those above Christo and Damien Hirst... Still, our art form is young, so maybe there still is a clear sense of progression.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2015 6:17 am 
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Yes, I was trying very hard to avoid a comparison like that, but I guess someone would eventually make it. :) We do have throwbacks, and we do have games trying completely different things just to see if they stick, so it's probably too early to *really* compare IF to an artform that's been around since the very earliest forms of human civilization. But for the purposes of my post I thought it sufficed. ;)

Plus, the reason I stopped at the renaissance is that if you come too close to modern days you get into an area where quality is debatable, and where some people may find it brilliant and others will find it horrendous, and as you say you'd probably prefer a piece of old art to this piece of new art - I *so* didn't want to go there! Although, if you care to, you can certainly compare that to IF as well!


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2015 8:05 am 
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David Whyld wrote:
I've always considered The Hobbit to be a truly amazing game but I never played Zork at all when it was first released and when I tried it about 10 years ago, I wasn't that impressed with it.


Zork is a special case, I think. You can separate the question of whether it's massively influential (yes), an amazing technical achievement given the limitations of the day (yes), or introduced you to IF (true for many, including me), from whether it stands, objectively, as one of the 20 best IF games, but I'm not sure everyone does, and frankly nothing about the exercise requires them to. Many of the same things could likely be said of The Hobbit, which I never played; Jimmy Maher's writeup (http://www.filfre.net/2012/11/the-hobbit/) suggests that I probably wouldn't put it on my own top 20, unless unintentional comedy were a major criterion. Lots of things go into the subjective "favorite" judgment; not much point in trying to dissect it.

jbdyer wrote:

Not of a fan of The Quill, eh?

TADS first came out 1988, although the games didn't start rolling until the early 90s.


Right--a few honorable exceptions (e.g., Shades of Grey, Cosmoserve) aside, no one other than the most hardcore of completists would rationally want to try anything written with The Quill, GAGS, AGT, etc. now. The TADS games are significantly better, but the volume was quite low.

jbdyer wrote:
I probably have a stronger claim to "trying the bulk of games from both eras" than most (I have played every Infocom and Magnetic Scrolls, most of Synapse, most of Phoenix, some Level 9, a whole bunch of other more obscure games) but I still feel like I'm lacking enough to really answer that. Not enough Quill and Eamon games for one thing-- speaking of amateur tools available at the time. Plus, I've yet to even touch Knight Orc (which is allegedly Level 9's masterpiece).


I'm impressed. You and Jimmy could have some fun conversations! :)

Peter Piers wrote:
Things that were a staple of the genre got dropped as times changed. That doesn't just have to do with context (it's what every game did so by golly we'll do it too! Besides, the gamer is paying for this and expects months of frustration!), it has to do with this artform developing (what, really, when you get down to it, is the point of walking deads, mazes, and random daemons? Let's just do away with them and focus on other things).


Right. There was a time when games were often conceived as a battle of wits, of sorts, between the author and the player, and a can-you-top-this escalating difficulty competition. It's certainly hard to understand, say, the Phoenix games any other way. That's not how authors approach games now--a good thing, to my mind. But it's hard to objectively compare something written in 1983 for one purpose to something written in 2015 for an entirely different purpose, and frankly I wouldn't expect anyone to try.

All of which is to say: no need to filter for nostalgia, IMO. If it worked for you then, it worked for you then; no need to apologize for it.

Peter Piers wrote:
I AM surprised that Trinity rated so low. And I am NOT surprised that Planetfall is not there at all - it's outworn its gimmick at last.


I'm surprised that Trinity is below AMFV, as the former seems to me clearly superior as a game and as a story, but de gustibus, etc. Agree on Planetfall not surviving the test of time, but I didn't play it until the hobbyist era, so my expectations weren't the same.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2015 8:24 am 
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If anyone's got the stomach for it, it might be revealing in a mercenary kind of way to examine which games got bumped off of the list -- dead man's boots! -- this time around, and to examine which periods were represented by the losers and the replacements. (Also, to see how on-both-lists games had risen or fallen in our estimation.)


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2015 8:52 am 
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UnwashedMass wrote:
If anyone's got the stomach for it, it might be revealing in a mercenary kind of way to examine which games got bumped off of the list -- dead man's boots! -- this time around, and to examine which periods were represented by the losers and the replacements. (Also, to see how on-both-lists games had risen or fallen in our estimation.)


In chron order:


Adventure, William Crowther and Donald Woods (1976)
Planetfall, Steve Meretzky (1983)
The Guild of Thieves, Rob Steggles (1987)
Arthur: the Quest for Excalibur, Bob Bates (1989)
Eric the Unready, Bob Bates (1993)
So Far, Andrew Plotkin (1996)
Sunset over Savannah, Ivan Cockrum (1997)
LASH -- Local Asynchronous Satellite Hookup, Paul O'Brian (2000)
The Gostak, Carl Muckenhoupt (2001)
1893: A World's Fair Mystery, Peter Nepstad (2002)
Blue Chairs, Chris Klimas (2004)
Vespers, Jason Devlin (2005)
Delightful Wallpaper, Andrew Plotkin (2006)
Suveh Nux, David Fisher (2007)
Everybody Dies, Jim Munroe (2008)
Hoist Sail for the Heliopause and Home, Andrew Plotkin (2010)
The Warbler's Nest, Jason McIntosh (2010)
Aotearoa, Matt Wigdahl (2010)

Games from both eras got bumped, but it's probably fair to say that, proportionally, the list has shifted toward hobbyist-era IF. The commercial era was more heavily represented in the prior version.

Notably, Vespers got 6 votes last time and LASH and The Gostak got 5, but all got 3 or less this time.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2015 8:54 am 
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HHGG wasn't on the list last time, but that's the only new appearance from the commercial era.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2015 9:14 am 
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Commercial era games were the Greeks; early hobbyists were the Romans (copying the Greeks). Now, we're in the Renaissance.


Last edited by busterwrites on Thu Mar 19, 2015 9:19 am, edited 1 time in total.

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