cobaltnine: interactive fiction 2008 descriptive icon (comp 2008)
Title: Byzantine Perspective
Author: Lea

This review gets really spoilery for puzzles (not plot).

Whoops, botched the cut. )
cobaltnine: interactive fiction 2008 descriptive icon (comp 2008)
Title: zork, buried chaos
Author: bloodbath (I'm going to take a wild guess and say this is a handle.)

I played this one last night, but finished up so late I fell asleep before posting. That's what the good cough syrup does. More below the cut:

Scores and Commentary Below the Cut )
cobaltnine: interactive fiction 2008 descriptive icon (comp 2008)
I spent 15 minutes hunting down a buggy bit in one of the games. Not good. Didn't see anyone else mention it, but I will tomorrow, don't despair.
cobaltnine: cobaltnine name and retro-looking shapes (Default)
Title: Snowquest
Author: Eric Eve

This one errs on a much more spoilery side than many of my reviews may.
Scores and Commentary Below the Cut )
cobaltnine: interactive fiction 2008 descriptive icon (comp 2008)
Title: Trap Cave
Author: Herr Emilian Kowalewski

Scores and Commentary Below the Cut )
cobaltnine: interactive fiction 2008 descriptive icon (comp 2008)
Cobaltnine's Horribly Fractionated Scale, Started on the Chalkboard during Making Dinner (Chili) But Continued in Notepad and then Excel because Both Board and Chalk Ran Out and All the Paper is Missing.

Or the C9-HFS-19, for short.

The C9-HFS-19 consists of several subcategories, because I felt like I was being, ironically, too whimsical with my grading last year. I say 'ironically' because I was part of the little outlier group who made gnashing-teeth noises about Whimsy and Twee Nonsense and hoped one of the more...explody games would win last year.

Instead of trying to fit everything to a 10 point scale, every section gets its own scale. I've developed a formula and will round the results to comply with the 1-10 score of IFComp. There exists the possibility of up to 1 bonus point or -2 anti-bonus points based on whether I liked it or not. (For submitted scores, except in extreme cases, the bonus will only affect rounding decimal scores.)

music or sound
images or video
special effects
I'm sorry if you worked extra to get any of the above working, but here's the thing: I'm picky about my music, I startle easily and sound effects drive me crazy and my apartment is at an intersection with a stoplight and can be crazy noisy sometimes. Second, I played a recent game that had an image that reacted, supplementarily, as a signal to the player. I had to struggle to pay attention to it. However, I found that I could still play the game very acceptably without using that image. While it was nice, I think that's the sort of thing that should be added later to this, the Text Adventure.

See under 'Tiebreakers', Section IV.

The C9-HFS-19 IF Scoring Schema

  1. Workingness and Technical Thingummies
    Total: 0-3 pts

    0 pts: doesn't work at all, turns out to be spyware, etc. This happened last year. Your maximum grade if you get this? Also zero.
    1 pt: later bugs that render the game either unwinnable or unplayable or glitchy.
    2 pts: fiddly bits, significant interpreter incompatibility, or Windows only exe files. I'm on Windows, but I hate these things.
    3 pts: I open the file, I play the file, the file and I come to a mutual agreement about going our separate ways and seeing other files.

  2. Writing
    Total: 0-11

    1. "I speak English well, I learn it from a book." - 0-2
      0 pts: Needs someone fluent to go over the text with a big red marker
      1 pt: Ap'os'trope's (apologies to Mr Pratchett) or other verbal allowances.
      2 pts: Even your meanest English teacher would go over this little to no red ink.

    2. Stories - 0-6
      NB: Storytelling is different than being a great writer. Stephen King, for example, is generally a good story-teller. That doesn't mean he's the best writer - for fuck's sake, the end of The Dark Tower tells us that - but story itself means more than writerlyness. On the other hand, well, there are limits.
      0 pts: No story. A Rybread Celsius submission.
      1 pts: A setting and some names.
      2 pts: Some of the scenery gets described.
      3 pts: The PC has emotions and feelings. I still don't.
      4 pts: NPCs react to different things appropriately and differently OR there is significant world-building. This is the first level of *good* stories. Still may be flawed - perhaps something feels slap-dash or I can't finish it in 2 hours. The two-hour limit is part of the comp. I'm not just being cranky about it, but I do want to get through these.
      5 pts: Attention to detail; significant world-building and NPC building, little inaccuracy either in reference to real-life things or within the logic of the world.
      6 pts: Socio-cultural analysis or thought-provoking issues are treated well, made compelling, without resorting to cheap emotional tropes.

    3. Special IF issues in Setting, 2 credits, MWF - 0-2
      0 credits: Failure to give me anything to work with here.
      1 credit: Oh, look, it's [A school/A haunted manor/a bland spaceship/generic fantasy-land]. Sigh.
      2 credits: Huh, that's a new setting/very different treatment of an old setting.
      (There is a slight chance this can be applied to the PC instead of the setting, if the PC is a very different type. In that case, setting does not get rated; it does not stack.)

  3. Puzzle Complexity
    Total: 0-5
    0 pts: No puzzles. This isn't necessarily negative, but it is generally expected. Low scores here should be made up in creativity or interactivity.
    1 pt: Object, verb, result.
    2-3 pts: Average, thinking required, moving some stuff around, maybe combining simple objects, but nothing innovative. Complex puzzles that are unnecessarily or illogically complex can fall into this range.
    4-5 pts: Complex puzzles with creative solutions or multiple solutions.

  4. Tiebreakers, or, Personal Issues with Gaming
    Total: -2-1 inclusive.
    -2 points: Managing to personally offend or insult me on a non-shallow aspect of my personality.
    -1 point: You know what? I hate Wes Anderson and Napoleon Dynamite and American Idol. I have a right to my opinions, but they might not be popular.
    0 points: Well, that was two hours.
    1 point: You managed, through luck, since I didn't beta and I don't know any authors this year as far as I know, to find a topic I love and you treated it well. Alternately, an interesting aspect of 'interactivity' will get this.
cobaltnine: interactive fiction 2008 descriptive icon (comp 2008)
Okay, I guess this means I need to make a more generic Interactive Fiction logo. I have to admit, I didn't beta or anything this year, and plans to write a game fell apart about the same time I made plans to apply to a new grad school. (Oh, what a long and sordid story I'm not going to recount. Let me put it this way: largely not my fault and if things don't get settled in a month, there's gonna be lawyers.) Last night I thought to myself, self, isn't it about time for IF Comp?

And it is!

I'm going to formalize my new schematic over this afternoon. It looks like there's only 24 games this year, which means I should be able to finish it, even while I do things like write this stubborn application essay. With luck - tonight!
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