Billy Mays Reviews the IFComp 2016
Page 1 of 12

Author:  Billy Mays [ Sun Oct 02, 2016 3:32 am ]
Post subject:  Billy Mays Reviews the IFComp 2016

500 Apocalypses

I really didn't enjoy this game at all, I didn't enjoy reading any of it, and I didn't enjoy playing any of it. That being said, I still plan on giving it an above average or higher score?! Why would I do that?

Spoiler: show
Because it was written into the body of the game that you can send your own stories for worlds to the author, and they could get written into the game! This is about as interactive as interactive fiction could get in my opinion! There is a lot of writing that went into this game, and if you don't like any of it, you can always shape the world into something you would enjoy! And given how many entry slots are available, you could get a large number of the IF community's authors and fans into one single game! This is a magnificent idea in a game I really didn't enjoy that much.

*****update: After careful consideration, the final score I gave to this game is an 8. I had to take into consideration that despite the fact I did not enjoy much about it: The author did exhibit quality writing (not my cup of tea, but I can still respect it.), and mainly the idea I had mentioned in my original review was a huge factor.

Author:  Billy Mays [ Sun Oct 02, 2016 4:29 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Billy Mays Reviews the IFComp 2016

16 Ways to Kill a Vampire at McDonalds

Spoiler: show
I gave this game an 8. I can think of at least half a dozen vampire mythologies off the top of my head, and the one thing they all have in common is that the vampire is cunning. In this game the vampire you are hunting is stalking a cashier at a McDonalds, and doing so from the lobby. This does not make him cunning, this makes him a boob. I played the game to three different conclusions, and in these three games, the female protagonist cobbled together different strategies which included moving an air sanitizer and making crosses out of drinking straws. I am pretty sure she brought nothing with her specifically designed to hunt vampires. While I appreciate the MacGyver aspect of this game, the end result is that the protagonist seems weak and ill prepared. Even if she was not expecting any conflict at the McDonalds, as a hunter of the supernatural, she should always have some sort of contingency plan. There may have been a typo or two in there as well, I am not sure, I am probably the least literate member on this forum, and I just give authors a lot slack unless the typos are way out of control and all over the place. My final impression is that the author attempted to make a comedic vampire hunting game with some degree of John Carpenter style elements that missed the Carpenter feel in the writing.

******update 10/27/16: I originally gave this game a 6, but decided to award it two additional points for a final score of 8 after some consideration. Despite my original criticisms, the game did some pretty impressive things, especially for a choice game. There is over 16 (I think?) endings. I saw three of them, I can only assume the 16 victories alluded to in the title is accurate based on how much was going on, and then also the death endings. There was also a surprising amount of freedom in the game, an inventory system, and crafting. The writing was also pretty good.

To any mod or admin: this is my first go at this, if I totally missed something here in what I am doing, could you please forgive me and put the kibosh on my topic? Thank you.

Author:  Billy Mays [ Sun Oct 02, 2016 3:42 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Billy Mays Reviews the IFComp 2016

Aether Apeiron: The Zephyra Chronicles

Spoiler: show
I gave this game a 6. The author combined two of my favorite genres, space opera and Greek mythology, into something that I just felt slightly indifferent towards, and I am pretty sure the spaceship was a physical manifestation of the human condition somehow. Some things I enjoyed reading, and others I did not, I really felt this game was a mixed bag for me. Overall the writing was nice, and it was interesting how the author adapted Jason and the Argonauts.

Author:  Billy Mays [ Sun Oct 02, 2016 4:26 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Billy Mays Reviews the IFComp 2016

All I Do is Dream

Spoiler: show
I will be giving this game a 2, I played for maybe about 5 minutes, until I got to the "Maybe tomorrow you'll play it again?" option which I clicked, and then clicked, and then clicked, and it was registering it as a response because the command became underlined when I highlighted it, and would disappear and then reappear as I clicked on it, so I was thinking at the time that the author is really trying to drive this one message home, and then I clicked on it for like 50 or 60 times, at which point I decided that this is just becoming unreasonable, or the game may be bugged, or that is as far as the author got before the deadline. I then hit the restart button, replayed it down a different (not really because it is pretty linear) path, and got the same result.

Author:  Billy Mays [ Sun Oct 02, 2016 4:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Billy Mays Reviews the IFComp 2016

Mirror and Queen

Since I am prohibited from casting a vote for this game in accordance with the rules of the IFCOMP, I am not even sure if I can write a review about it until after the competition is over. Therefore, I decided this would be a good time to review the author. The author is an incredibly pleasant person to work with, thanked me on multiple occasions for my assistance, and addressed all of the concerns I had with my experience of the game, and I am really rooting for the author on a personal level. If an opportunity presents itself to playtest one of the author's games, I would highly recommend you do so, I know I will.

Author:  Billy Mays [ Sun Oct 02, 2016 4:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Billy Mays Reviews the IFComp 2016

Slicker City

This is another instance in which I am prohibited from casting a vote on a specific game, and will use it to review the author. I found this author to be incredibly pleasant to work with as well, this author also thanked me on multiple occasions for all of my assistance, and was very receptive to my concerns and suggestions, it was a very positive experience for me. I would also highly recommend that you take any opportunities to playtest one of the author's games in the future, I certainly will. I am also rooting for this author on a personal level.

Author:  Billy Mays [ Mon Oct 03, 2016 2:05 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Billy Mays Reviews the IFComp 2016

A Time of Tungsten

Spoiler: show
This game is a 10

I loved everything about it. The writing, characters, and locations all felt alive. The plot was evocative. I rated this game a 10 as soon as my 2 hour time limit was up, and then went back to complete the game. I quickly became enraged after picking it back up, this was due to the artificiality of the husband's distress beacon, it felt completely forced, it felt like a cheap plot element. I began to bemoan the 9 I had given it based on time restrictions, this most certainly did not feel like the experience the author had promised, then I thought about it, then I realized...the significance of it being "artificial" in its introduction, and how the author is telling multiple stories, and only one of those stories is what you are reading. Now I am glad I was forced to render judgement after two hours, because this game is easily a 10. I wrote several paragraphs elaborating on my theories, and attempting to unwrap the onion that is this very complicated game, but then reread those paragraphs, and found what I wrote to be completely terrible, and possibly insane. You may PM me if you want to listen to complete gibberish from a nobody in the IF community, for everyone else: suffice it to say that I feel this game is outstanding.

*****update: I still feel strongly about how I originally reviewed this game, I just thought it pertinent to also point out how exceptional the author's music selection was in this game. Every sound, every instrumental, all went a long way towards enhancing the atmosphere of this game, and none of it disrupted from the reading.

Author:  Billy Mays [ Mon Oct 03, 2016 4:46 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Billy Mays Reviews the IFComp 2016

Ariadne in Aeaea

Spoiler: show
I gave this game a 10. At this point I was contemplating if I was getting to be too generous in handing out the elusive 10, a score that some would believe should only be handed out to the most outstanding, once in a generation, ground breaking games of all time...

So I thought about the game...and I concluded that I absolutely loved everything about it, I loved the story, I loved the writing, I loved how the author seamlessly inserted a very fictional island into the politics and culture of a very real era. I loved the characters, the protagonist had more vices than a golden age Hollywood film star, but still came across cunning, resourceful, and strong. Everything about it was so realistic, I swear I could smell the salty Mediterranean Sea, and the decadent bitterness of olive oil. I also laughed a lot and laughed hard at the author's strong comedic style, sharp jabs paired with absurd scenarios that never crossed the line into buffoonery.

And then there were the typos...a couple I may have noticed in the first third of the game, I wasn't really sure, and I didn't feel like looking anything up to confirm my suspicions. Plus they were spaced out enough, and I give a lot of slack to authors until things start getting out of control...and then things got out of control: there were a couple of sentences that described one location that had 2-3 (I can't remember the exact number now) blaring typos! One every once in a while is one thing, this many in one spot felt like I was getting attacked by a swarm of angry bees! I was at the point of getting ready to exercise my judicial authority on the game when something magical happened, something that caused me to happily ignore this score deducting offense: I did something very stupid in the game (nothing magical about this), and then the game presented me with this line:

"Let us hope this is not what the poets will remember you for..."

This line, with its exact wording, the tactical use of ellipsis, in the context it was presented, and the imagery it provoked in my mind was genius. Granted it was nowhere near as soul grabbing as "And thus they buried Hector, tamer of horses." -Homer, but I was unable tell the differences at the time due to my ribs painfully contorting as my lungs struggled to prevent me from loosing consciousness from all of the uncontrollable laughter I was experiencing. In all honesty, I am having a difficult time even typing out this review as my hands are still trembling with pure glee. I am pretty sure there was a sentence towards the end that was really awkwardly written/grammatically incorrect, but I don't know, I didn't reread it, plus it wouldn't have mattered anyways because I was thoroughly in the author's camp at this stage, and was buying anything that was getting sold.

Author:  Billy Mays [ Mon Oct 03, 2016 8:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Billy Mays Reviews the IFComp 2016


Spoiler: show
I felt I shouldn't be here, I'm an outsider, this is all too personal, I don't belong in this room, in these minds, I want to leave, I want to go anywhere and do anything that isn't here, but I can't, someone is preventing that, something is preventing that, an emotion demands to be shared, everything is out of my control. As my eyes pan from the door over to the child, I am no longer a stranger, I am that child, the words I am reading are my words, the feelings are my feelings, the experience is all of our experiences, that which unites all living things is also that which is most violent, most unforgiving, most necessary, most natural. Reminding you of what you lost, and what you will become. This struck a nerve in me. It is both painful and beautiful at the same time.

I initially didn't want to post the score I gave this story. It didn't feel right to do so, the story is too personal for everyone reading it, especially the author. I have concluded that since the author was brave enough to publicly share that experience with us, the least thing I can do is publicly post my rating.


Author:  Billy Mays [ Mon Oct 03, 2016 10:47 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Billy Mays Reviews the IFComp 2016

Black Rock City

Spoiler: show

My initial experience with this game was an unpleasant one, I then decided to go back and figure out what it was specifically that I didn't like about it.

My problem was how I had initially decided to experience the game, reading it like a book, nothing made any sense, everything all kind of blurred together into a series of quick incomprehensible images.

I then decided that now would be a good time to go back, replay it with the time I had left, and try to come up with something concrete that rationalized my original scalding reviews of this game. So I was playing it, reading it at normal speed, having the same unpleasant reaction to the game, and then I went back because a sentence didn't quite make sense, I didn't know why, it just didn't feel right and I thought I could use it in my review as part of my criticism.

So I went back to reread it, I didn't like it, reread it, I didn't like it and I couldn't figure out why, and then I reread it really slowly trying to break down why I didn't like it and morphed into a completely different game! My problem from the start had been how I was approaching this magnificent game, I had been approaching it like a book, when I should have approached like a poem, or a cup of tea, slowly savoring and enjoying every word, every thought. The end result is instead of a blurred and disjointed fragmentation of stories, you get a clear and fluid depiction of many stories, our stories, stories that are not crammed together, but intersect, interact, evolve, collectively, and then it's over seemingly before it even began, time for a new story, somebody else's story.

This game represents life ifself: you are here, you meet some interesting characters, share some interesting times, and then you are not.

Page 1 of 12 All times are UTC - 6 hours [ DST ]
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group