cobaltnine: interactive fiction 2008 descriptive icon (comp 2008)
What is this? Two reviews in one night? Blame my schedule. I blame it for everything, including, long story short, the two pounds of pasta with alfredo sauce in the fridge.

Below the cut: A review of The Blind House, by Maude Overton. Plot definitely discussed.
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cobaltnine: interactive fiction 2008 descriptive icon (comp 2008)
Okay, so I'm a little behind. I've spent a few weeks working in a new place where people are less 'sick', per se, and more 'out of blood'. It's a lot more interesting, and it doesn't smell as bad.

Fine, let's get to the review of The People's Glorious Revolutionary Text Adventure Game, by Taylor Vaughn. One puzzler spoiled (re things relating to a book.)
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cobaltnine: interactive fiction 2008 descriptive icon (comp 2008)
The 12:54 to Asgard, by J Robinson Wheeler.

Today's Digression is on Trains:
There was, and there was not, and only secret government files know, but once there was a girl who took the train to work. One day, she got to the train, and two of the train cars had been gutted entirely; one was taken up by a strange magical box, and the other had nine soulless guards standing at pedestals. Then, given that the guards had removed many of the seats, the citizens crammed onto two cars where there used to be four, and arrived at work disgruntled.

And the men and women who took the 7:45 train starting taking other trains, because they were only implementing this on one set of cars, in hopes of implementing it on others, because apparently finding out if someone has a bomb while they're already on a train is logical in the Kingdom's infinite celestial wisdom. One day, the magic box, which detected sandwiches, and the guards, who didn't do much of anything, disappeared, like nothing had ever happened. The End.

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cobaltnine: interactive fiction 2008 descriptive icon (comp 2008)
One Eye Open, by Colin Sandel and Carolyn VanEseltine

Above the Fold - I will admit, I did skim a few of the other reviews before writing mine for this, because I wanted to verify something non-spoilery: that this game is really huge and I'm nowhere near an ending at the two hour mark. After reading reviews, especially Em Short's, I can feel assured that yes, yes it is. I was starting to get to the point where I was beginning to believe it was me - that I was becoming the slowest player in the world. But no, I think the 'randomize games' button gave me a few of the longer ones at onset.

Also, I'm writing this while on the bus. More below:

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cobaltnine: interactive fiction 2008 descriptive icon (comp 2008)
Game: Under, in Erebus, by Brian Rapp

This is the time of year I wish the comp wasn't in October. October is a busy month for me, and it's my first year back in school - in an accelerated program, at that - so I'm burning out a bit. I feel determined, though, and I'm on a roll. This next one isn't a long review, so no more preamble.

NB: Puzzle discussion unavoidable.
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cobaltnine: interactive fiction 2008 descriptive icon (comp 2008)
Today's Game: The Bible Retold: Following a Star, by Justin Morgan.

Today's Diversion: Job's Syndrome. Job's Syndrome is the catchier name for hyperimmunoglobulin E (hyper IgE) syndrome. I mention this mostly because 1. I, your friendly but occasionally cranky neighborhood atheist, once had to explain the name to the doctor I was working with who was treating someone for it and 2. we started the immunology section of my pathophysiology class today. It's called that because it generally presents with recurrent skin infections, like the boils of the Old Testament story. Per the original Lancet article, they also named it that because their initial patients looked, and I quote, 'pitiful.'

Bonus warning: Sweary!
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cobaltnine: interactive fiction 2008 descriptive icon (comp 2008)
Aotearoa, by Mark Wigdahl.

Preliminary Anecdote: I take a shuttle bus to school, and I used to take the same one to work. About two years ago, it was really, terribly rainy. I was in a foul mood because I hated my job and it was raining and I couldn't get my phone to tell me when the next shuttle was going to show up. A guy offered me his umbrella and I said, "No, thank you," in that sarcastic-petulant teenager way, which was pathetic from a woman in her mid-20s. So the next day I apologized to British-Looking-Guy-with-Umbrella. And that's how David and I became bus friends.

David looked really British, but it turned out he was from New Zealand. He said he couldn't speak any Maori, and I have learned that I can't get used to typing it.

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cobaltnine: interactive fiction 2008 descriptive icon (comp 2008)
Of note, I did do a randomly generated list and so there won't be any order to these. I'm also going to try to be less quantitative and more qualitative in the written reviews this year. Near the end of both years last year I looked at my spreadsheet of scores and kept considering how much relativistic merit I wanted to use to twitch the scores - it's hard to say if, given a year's worth of games, any particular one tends to be more of a 5 or a 6. I acknowledge the possibilities of no 10s or 1s, and I'm not going to curve, per se, but in the intermediate games, I think reflection does help score it. Memorability is something to be assessed at least a few days later.

Okay, enough cut-tag fodder.

NB: I will definitely give away plot, but I will try not to give away puzzles. I'll say if I have to.

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Re: reviews vs my schedule
Let's put it this way: my confidence is beyond shaken; perhaps 'made into meringues' is more correct. We'll see what happens.

ETA on Tuesday morning: Oho, it looks like Em Short's linked to me. So I'm going to make a promise to do 13 games, or half of the competition. That way, if I reach the goal, I feel all right, and if I surpass it I feel better.
cobaltnine: interactive fiction 2008 descriptive icon (comp 2008)
Last Year's Scoring Schema turned out to be too complicated. I'll see if I can work out a new one. I was proud of myself for almost finishing all the games in 2008, kind of embarrassed about 2009, and this year?

This year I'm back in school full time. More than full time. In fact, I'm supposed to be up at 0530 tomorrow and it's 0030 now. I got about four hours last night. So I honestly do not know if I'll be able to pull this off BUT I am willing to try to schedule 2 hours to do this, five days a week. If I could figure out how to do this and jog at the same time, that would be a real accomplishment.

25 games this year = 50 max hours. It won't be 50 - some game will be 10 minutes, I'm certain of it; there's always a large proportion that are only around one hour. Perhaps I'll keep track of duration this year. (I still hold that FOR COMP, a two hour game is the max enjoyable one, especially this year for myself.)

Let's think about the schema for a moment.
1. Workability/technical acceptability is still something to be considered. 0, 1, 2 is all it should be: doesn't work, sort-of works, and works fine. That's all. .exes are going to get 1, because I just don't see the point.
2. That Writing scale should be simplified. An 11 point scale? What the hell was I thinking?
3. Special Issues in IF is something that should be considered - but on an individual basis. It's rare enough. Decoupling it from the writing means it could be conceptual or using the media differently. In a new schema, I'll put this below the writing/puzzles, being the meat/potato of IF; this is 'in addition' more than a required part.
4. Puzzles, again, should be considered separately. It's still not enough to win on puzzles alone.
5. Individual game adjustment points. This is where my opinion counts, although not for more than a point or two either way.

Last year I did this gigantic mathy spreadsheet thing, and then I realized I had to add one to almost all the games to get the scores to 'fit' better. Tomorrow I have a 12 hour shift. Tomorrow is not going to be day 1. Maybe tomorrow night I'll manage a schema and set up the spreadsheet. So I'm thinking first review hopefully Sunday morning.
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