_Eruption_ again: everything but the rant

(So you know, I have a lot to do right now; I’ll get back to reviewing games soon.)

I’ve been accused of reviewing _Eruption_ unfairly, only on the basis of his bad manners and bad sportsmanship in his About text.

So let me talk about the game itself:

There’s no story.  That’s pretty much all I can say on that point.

There are no puzzles.  Not really.  There’s one thing where you have to fill a bottle with water, and another thing where you have to cut something with a knife.  And you have to pick a fruit and open a door.

Really, no puzzles.

And there are no conversations — no NPCs at all.

The map is entirely static, except that there’s a door you open.

It’s true, as Wesley Osam says, that it’s spell-checked and bug-free.  To my mind, these simply are negative values:  We want IFs to be spell-checked and bug-free so that we can play them and enjoy the stories and solving the puzzles.

Also, Comp games generally — with some exceptions — run about the length of a movie.  Two hours max, often around an hour and a half.

_Eruption_ you can finish in seven minutes.  It took me about that long, not including the time I took setting up my transcript and going through the About text.  If you dawdle, it might take you fifteen.

Bugs come in when you start trying to program things that are actually difficult and complex.  Likewise, when the story gets long and involved, you start to run the risk of creating internal contradictions in the premises, because you didn’t think it through.  And, simply, the longer the text, the more likely you are to have typos and misspellings.

So, at best, Richard Bos created a thoroughly unambitious short film, rather than a movie.  I don’t think it really compares in engineering to something like _GATOR-ON_, and it lacks the voice and character of _Ye Astounding Castle_ or _The Ascot_.  But there’s nothing wrong with it, largely because it’s not sufficiently interesting to have anything go wrong.  And it’s inoffensive because nothing happens.

It seems to me that Richard Bos didn’t start with a story to tell.  Rather, he looked at the range of programmatic tools available to him pre-fab, and one by one wrote them into his game:

He knew from the manual how to make a door, so he made a door.  He knew from the manual how to make a lock, so he made a lock.  And he built up a “game” in that way.  It’s a collage of generic demo code.  It’s competently programmed in a way that doesn’t reflect mastery of the medium so much as abject submission to the medium.

It’s a little like his quote from _Hamlet_:  the quote mentions an eruption and a state, and his game is about a state and an eruption, so he figured the one was a good lead-in to the other.

So, supposing Richard Bos had not had appalling manners and had omitted the rant from his About text, I would have written him a review that encouraged him to be more ambitious and imaginative.

Published in: on October 18, 2009 at 10:47 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: ,

The URI to TrackBack this entry is: https://onewetsneaker.wordpress.com/2009/10/18/_eruption_-again-everything-but-the-rant/trackback/

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s