Saucers of Mud

November 11, 2009

IFComp Scores

Filed under: IFComp — matt w @ 9:15 pm
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My scores for the IFComp below the fold. Not a whole lot of spoilers or in fact individualized commentary at all, but if you’re still playing you might not want to click. I’ll have a couple of general remarks, and then I hope to write something later that touches on some issues raised in the course of the Comp.

Links go to my reviews. I’ll explain the scale below.
Rover’s Day Out: 10
Resonance: 9
Byzantine Perspective: 9
The Duel in the Snow: 8
Interface: 8
The Duel that Spanned the Ages: I’ll be submitting a 7 because that’s where I was after two hours, but if I’d finished it in time it’d get a 9
Snowquest: 7
Grounded in Space: 6
Earl Grey: 6
Beta Tester: 5
Eruption: 5
Gleaming the Verb: 5
: Gator-ON, Friend to Wetlands: 5
The Grand Quest: 4
Spelunker’s Quest: 4

Not rated, because for various reasons I didn’t play them enough to form an opinion independent of the things I’d read about them: Broken Legs, Condemned, The Believable Adventures of an Invisible Man, Star Hunter

The rest of the games I didn’t or couldn’t play. (What the hell, Adrift?)

At first I meant to score based purely on my play experience — pleasure minus pain given by the game — but that would’ve meant scoring a smooth-playing vignette like Eruption above an ambitious and innovative frustratofest like Earl Grey, and I couldn’t bring myself to do that. If a game had a certain amount of ambition and followed through it enough (often meaning, it implemented all its objects), it got at least a 6. Otherwise it didn’t. I suppose the 5 and below games are games I probably wouldn’t go out of my way to play if they weren’t in the comp. Though I hasten to say I got some enjoyment out of every single one of these games, one way or another. (Basically the two games that got a 4 got busted down for having a puzzle where underimplementation really got in the way of my solving it; Gator-ON got promoted back to a 5 because at least one of said puzzles was pretty clever, and also because it had a certain flair. As I said in the review, I think with some revisions this could be a good game.)

I was a little on the fence as to whether Byzantine Perspective should get an 8 or a 9, but I think its one puzzle is really very clever, and I want to stand strong for the idea that a game with a good puzzle can present that puzzle without a lot of padding — one of the things IF can do is present puzzles like that. Also I have a feeling that if I gave it an 8, it’d be because I was hypercorrecting for the fact that the author wrote me a nice note in response to something else I wrote about the comp, and I don’t want to penalize such behavior, do I? I was also on the fence with Snowquest; the opening sequences probably were 8-worthy, but the whole seemed less than the sum of the parts to me. As I said in my review, it might have suffered from raised expectations.

I also see that the glulx games, which I believe are larger, were at the top and bottom of my 6-10 range (or, like Broken Legs, intimidated me out of really trying them); I guess they were all trying something ambitious, and got scored as to whether they succeeded for me.

Rover’s Day Out was my pretty clear favorite. But, as I said, I got at least some enjoyment out of every game here.

UPDATE: Oh, I forgot my morals. The first moral is that I need to write shorter and quicker reviews. The second moral is that for at least one game, what got me back into playing it was reading part of a transcript of someone else’s playthrough and thinking “Hey, I bet I know how to solve that puzzle.” I’m actually not sure what the moral is there. Write your game so it will present me with puzzles that I think I know how to solve?

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