intfiction.org

The Interactive Fiction Community Forum
It is currently Fri Nov 16, 2018 9:54 am

All times are UTC - 6 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 117 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5 ... 12  Next
Author Message
PostPosted: Tue Oct 04, 2016 3:09 am 
Offline

Joined: Tue Oct 04, 2016 3:05 am
Posts: 7
Hey Billy,
I enjoy your reviews a lot. May I ask what the order of the games you're playing is? :?:


Top
 Profile Send private message  
Reply with quote  
PostPosted: Tue Oct 04, 2016 2:41 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2016 7:13 pm
Posts: 203
Cactus Blue Motel

Spoiler: show
I scored this game a 10. Three young adults at a crossroad in their lives are forced to decide whether to escape reality by pursuing their base comforts, or if they are ready to accept the burdens of adulthood in order to achieve something much greater. But who cares? This story is not about them.

I felt the three characters, Maria, Becky, and Lex, to be awfully bland. There was some relationship issues going on, they were having a tough time trying to figure out which paths they should take in life, all very mediocre, all very unimportant, the author could have replaced these three characters with anyone and it wouldn't have mattered.

The main character in this story is the Motel.

Where this game really shines (pun intended) is in the Motel. This is where the author demonstrated story craft mastery of the highest level! And I am capitalizing Motel because it was a very real, and very living character, at least in its importance to anyone who crosses paths with it sometime in their lives. The imagery was vivid, it changed physically, emotionally, and spiritually to reflect how the friends were changing, everything about it was so alive that I would swear that the walls had blood pumping through them. The tenants were unable to leave because they were actual parts of the Motel, like separate appendages autonomously grasping out for that which they desire now, constantly feeding but never being satiated, and all connected (imprisoned?) to one central body.

The game "implied" Dean was the leader, I believe the author was being intentionally deceptive here, not maliciously...just playfully(?). Dean was just as trapped as everyone else. He was the lone drifter, constantly looking for acceptance in a world more complicated that his casual brooding demeanor would betray, pleading with people to stay so that he wouldn't feel so alone.

Don, the Motel manager, never able to find the monetary wealth in his past life, now finds value in human numbers, being part of a collective, never happy with just the people around him, he constantly craves for more and more people. It is all quantity over quality for Don.

The Smoking Lady, consumed by passions out of her control in a past that seems foreign to even her, she now consumes herself with the one thing she can control.

The Lost Author, untapped genius hindered by his fear of criticism, he sabotages himself, presenting poorly written pages because the criticism of writing he doesn't care about is less painful than that which he does. He will never be able to become a famous author hiding in his bunker, but that is what he wants, that is what comforts him, it is more comfortable to drift into obscurity, then it is to face any sort of criticism. The fact that his typewriter has a blank page is all the more appropriate because he knows nobody will ever read anything of his because he won't allow it, he will not allow himself to feel vulnerable by pouring his true self onto sheets of paper.

The Band: "I always want to say to people who want to be rich and famous: 'try being rich first'. See if that doesn't cover most of it. There's not much downside to being rich, other than paying taxes and having your relatives ask you for money. But when you become famous, you end up with a 24-hour job." - Bill Murray. They found this lesson out the hard way.

And finally the Jackalope...Now we are finally at the ringleader of this operation. A wall full of red herrings, sending Maria on wild goose chases that just debunk all of his trap theories ever so conveniently...very suspicious...I am not sure if what the Jackalope was doing was an act of deception to entangle victims further into its web, or if it needed on some individual or otherworldly level to make sure visitors had all of the information to make a decision on whether they wanted to leave or stay permanently, but the one thing I do know is: that bunny is running the show.

Outstanding!

_________________
Born2Clean


Last edited by Billy Mays on Tue Oct 04, 2016 5:47 pm, edited 3 times in total.

Top
 Profile Send private message  
Reply with quote  
PostPosted: Tue Oct 04, 2016 3:14 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2016 7:13 pm
Posts: 203
interactivehuman wrote:
Hey Billy,
I enjoy your reviews a lot. May I ask what the order of the games you're playing is? :?:


I am glad that you're enjoying my reviews! I am enjoying the games, so thank you if you made one, or are even thinking about making one!

I am reviewing them in the default alphabetical order shown on the IFComp page:

https://ifcomp.org/ballot

I am going to review the entire competition of entries, and then write something about my experience as a whole at the end.

I haven't been reading other peoples' reviews yet because I don't want them influencing my judging of the games, but you should consider playing them and writing your own reviews if you haven't already: Everyone has something valuable to say, and it helps out all the people who worked on these games and organized the competition when people play, score, and write about the games! Plus, I am interested to see how other peoples' opinions on the games compare and contrast with my own when I am finished.


Take care!

_________________
Born2Clean


Top
 Profile Send private message  
Reply with quote  
PostPosted: Tue Oct 04, 2016 6:33 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2016 7:13 pm
Posts: 203
Cinnamon Tea

Spoiler: show
One bitter cup of tea.

The author used tea as a metaphor for meditation in a story revolving around love, loss, and self-discovery. The player was presented with three options for how the protagonist would perceive the tea, and based on that selection, would glimpse into another facet of the soul of the protagonist, and the wounds received in this "dreamworld" carried over into the real world because I guess the protagonist' feelings are so intense, and you don't understand them, or something equally trivial. To top it all off, the main character even discovered a new relationship at the end because I guess if you want something bad enough all you have to do is feel sorry for yourself long enough.

The main character was egotistical and arrogant, never caring about how others' felt, always playing the victim card, and never taking any personal responsibility for how they themselves may have contributed to this outcome. I can't even comment on the other characters in this game as they were nothing more than wallpaper for this dreadful soliloquy.

The writing was fine.



3

_________________
Born2Clean


Last edited by Billy Mays on Thu Oct 13, 2016 1:31 pm, edited 17 times in total.

Top
 Profile Send private message  
Reply with quote  
PostPosted: Wed Oct 05, 2016 2:58 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2016 7:13 pm
Posts: 203
Color the Truth


Spoiler: show
I gave this game an 10. The plot was very engaging, I really enjoyed how the author structured the story, and the mechanics of the game are superb. You play the role of a detective questioning four persons of interest as they recount the last moments of their interaction with a recent homicide victim. You take the perspective of those individuals as they recount their version of the story, but something doesn't stick and you need to uncover clues and cross-reference their version of things with that of the other potential suspects, you can then use this as leverage to gain a more accurate telling of the events without all of the deception that they added. This was all remarkable. Where the game fell apart for me a little bit was in the writing.

I enjoyed the writing for the most part, but I did find some areas to be a little lacking in their presentation. The impression I got was that the author wrote an overall solid structuring of the story that included inspirations when they struck, and then went back over it and jazzed up few areas with the "magical bag of infinite adjectives and obscure colors" that every author has clung to at one point or another. Here are two examples that are outside of that basic formula that I feel demonstrated some of the best and some of the worst this story offered:

"The dawn sun smiles on you as you stand in the parking lot, and you smile back."

I enjoyed this line, it was pleasant to read, and is an insightful beginning to the secretary's account of the day. You first get the impression that she is the always the optimist employee who is even cheerful at the beginning of their workday, and later as the mask is removed, it demonstrates that she is so arrogantly manipulative that she believes she can con even the sun. Bravo.


And then you get something like this in the room descriptions of a radio station:

"From the speakers, you hear the radio quietly playing I Love Rock And Roll."

To demonstrate how poorly this missed the mark, allow me to present this video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xL5spALs-eA

When this song comes on the radio in your car, you don't think to yourself "the speakers in my car play I Love Rock N Roll", you know the name of the song, but you are too focused on the epic guitar riffs and the thundering voice of Joan Jett hitting you harder than a boat full of vikings.

This generic sentence structure happened a lot in the story: the speakers [insert adverb] played [insert intellectual property]. This was very distracting for a game that mainly takes place at a radio station.

Normally what I see that works is some ellipsis, some onomatopoeia of the music, and a carefully selected handful of lyrics all appearing in italics.

In conclusion, this is a superb game that was slightly held back by modest deficiencies in creative writing skills.


*****update: I originally scored this game an 8 due to some minor deficits in creative writing. I then added a point because despite whatever I was feeling was wrong with some of the writing at the time I was playing it, many of the images are still stuck in my head. I most recently decided to upgrade this game to a full 10. This is because this game's mechanics is probably the one that sticks out the most to me in terms of how much I enjoyed them, and while there were some misses in the writing, there were games that I scored a ten because I found them so well written despite having much simpler mechanics because of how powerfully they moved me on an emotional level. Therefore, I thought it'd be only fair to credit this game's mechanics here....plus the writing was still pretty good.

_________________
Born2Clean


Last edited by Billy Mays on Thu Oct 20, 2016 7:52 am, edited 8 times in total.

Top
 Profile Send private message  
Reply with quote  
PostPosted: Wed Oct 05, 2016 3:27 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2016 7:13 pm
Posts: 203
Update: no new updates.

_________________
Born2Clean


Last edited by Billy Mays on Mon Oct 10, 2016 4:46 am, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile Send private message  
Reply with quote  
PostPosted: Wed Oct 05, 2016 8:14 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Mon Apr 04, 2016 1:31 am
Posts: 42
I kinda liked Black Rock City. It was weird in a good way and gave me the same relaxed feeling as did Beautiful Dreamer by S. Woodson.

The PC doesn't have any clear goals, they just have some time to spend before the storm. There are no right or wrong choices, no pressure; you explore different branches of the game, learn things about the bizarre city and its inhabitants, feel free to try even ill-advised things like
Spoiler: show
jumping from the flying carpet.

I suppose many people would behave in a similar way if told that the end of the world is expected in an hour: walking streets, talking to strangers, ending the conversations abruptly and going away to find other things to do. There's something apocalyptic, too, in the inevitable dust storm ending the game after 6 turns; since it's clearly not set in our world, I guess a "dust storm" may mean a different thing there.

The scale of the work is rather impressive; as far as I understand, there are about 80 endings. I've seen about a dozen, and some of the stories I got seemed interconnected, adding to each other - but, yeah, I didn't feel curious enough to see more. Maybe later I will.

_________________
IFDB


Top
 Profile Send private message  
Reply with quote  
PostPosted: Wed Oct 05, 2016 9:54 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2016 7:13 pm
Posts: 203
Sobol wrote:
I kinda liked Black Rock City. It was weird in a good way and gave me the same relaxed feeling as did Beautiful Dreamer by S. Woodson.

The PC doesn't have any clear goals, they just have some time to spend before the storm. There are no right or wrong choices, no pressure; you explore different branches of the game, learn things about the bizarre city and its inhabitants, feel free to try even ill-advised things like
Spoiler: show
jumping from the flying carpet.

I suppose many people would behave in a similar way if told that the end of the world is expected in an hour: walking streets, talking to strangers, ending the conversations abruptly and going away to find other things to do. There's something apocalyptic, too, in the inevitable dust storm ending the game after 6 turns; since it's clearly not set in our world, I guess a "dust storm" may mean a different thing there.

The scale of the work is rather impressive; as far as I understand, there are about 80 endings. I've seen about a dozen, and some of the stories I got seemed interconnected, adding to each other - but, yeah, I didn't feel curious enough to see more. Maybe later I will.


Yeah, I feel you bring up a valid counter-argument to my review. I have been considering revisiting the two games I mentioned in the prior post, Black Rock City and Cinnamon Tea, because I still have way over an hour (realistically an hour and a half, but I will just say an hour to be safe) to play them.

_________________
Born2Clean


Top
 Profile Send private message  
Reply with quote  
PostPosted: Wed Oct 05, 2016 8:31 pm 
Online

Joined: Tue Mar 09, 2010 2:34 pm
Posts: 5397
Location: Burlington, VT
Sobol wrote:
There's something apocalyptic, too, in the inevitable dust storm ending the game after 6 turns; since it's clearly not set in our world, I guess a "dust storm" may mean a different thing there.


I thought it was set in our world, at the Burning Man festival. (Gathering? Event? Whatever you call it.)


Top
 Profile Send private message  
Reply with quote  
PostPosted: Wed Oct 05, 2016 9:46 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2016 7:13 pm
Posts: 203
Ventilator



Spoiler: show
The most significant contribution to interactive fiction since Zork.




That's a bold claim I just made there...but why?

Well, when I first saw the list of entries this year, my mind instinctively divided all of the games up into two categories: The first being games I am looking forward to playing, and the second one being what the hell is Ventilator?

So my original plan was to review the entire competition in alphabetical order, and while I'll still be reviewing the full competition, I was beginning to have a difficult time concentrating on the games I was playing because I just couldn't for the life of me figure out what the hell is Ventilator?

So now that I played it, what is Ventilator, why is it such an important game?

Quite simply what the author did here is invent an entirely new genre of fiction!

Do I mean like fiction as in the grand body of fiction, and not just the interactive fiction community?

I sure do.

Why, what makes Ventilator so special?

Well this is where things become difficult, trying to assign words to a completely new concept. It is like that timeless riddle: "What does an orange taste like?", well it tastes like an orange, that is the word we have to describe what oranges taste like, "Without using the word orange, explain the flavor to somebody who has never encountered one.", well there are over 50 common varieties of oranges currently in the world, not including all of the...."Just PicK ONE!"...I'm partial to the Valencia..."FINE! GREAT! HOW DOES A VALENCIA ORANGE TASTE?", well there is a lot of complicated science that revolves around the chemical compound......And this argument would just go on for eternity between these two until the only reason they remain clinging to life is to watch the other one cave...but none of this helps to explain Ventilator.

What does an orange taste like?

It is sweet, refreshing, just tart enough to be exciting, and loaded full of body essential vitamin C.


Ventilator is these exact four things combined with a speeding, out of control, steam locomotive being piloted by a complete madman.



10

_________________
Born2Clean


Top
 Profile Send private message  
Reply with quote  
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 117 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5 ... 12  Next

All times are UTC - 6 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group