Play IF on a Haunted Typewriter!

I don’t know if he’s actually selling them…

…but if he is, you’d better sign up quick!

ps.  Isn’t somebody out there looking for a way to bring IF to kids?  “Back when I was your age, we had to play computer games on typewriters…”

Published in: on November 6, 2010 at 5:58 pm  Leave a Comment  

“Mom! You’re Breaking the 4th Wall!”

I have a friend, Becky — (Hi, Becky!) — who describes herself as an ex-hippie.  She dislikes representations of violence, and wouldn’t buy her son video games.

Becky told me today that when he was old enough, her son bought a copy of “Grand Auto Theft.”  She could hear it and wasn’t too happy about it, but it wasn’t against the rules and she let it slide.

Then one day, he had his high-school friends over.  They were all playing Grand Theft Auto, and laughing in a rowdy way.  So she decided she had to do something.

She went to the room.  On the TV there was a little old lady crossing the street.  Her son was at the controls, and he ran her over.  And all the kids laughed.

Becky demanded, “Did you just run that lady over?  Why would you do that to her?  You probably killed her!”  — and continued in this way for about fifteen minutes, as they passed the controller around.

Finally, her son turned it off and said, “Ok, ok, will you just go?”

Published in: on November 3, 2010 at 11:11 am  Leave a Comment  
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IFC10 review – Flight of the Hummingbird

This is a review of a Comp game, and as often happens in reviews of Comp games, I will be Saying Things about this game.  There’s one thing we need before we begin…

There.  I’ll get a new one soon.

Flight of the Hummingbird, by Michael Martin, is a fine game.  It’s entertaining, fast-paced, and very well-polished.  I gather there are a few alternate solutions.  I have only minor criticisms of this game.

I suggest, if you want to play a fun two-hour text game, you make  it a point to play this one before reading further. (more…)

Published in: on October 22, 2010 at 8:58 am  Leave a Comment  
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IFC10 review – Gigantomania

This is a review of a Comp game, and as often happens in reviews of Comp games, I will be Saying Things about this game.  THE PICTURE is coming up…


Gigantomania, by Michelle Tirto and Mike Ciul, is a beginner game, with some faults.  If you need a hint or don’t know what you’re supposed to be doing, I’ll post the main goal of each section (as I understand them) in a moment.

The title is not a reference to Stalin, by the way.  In order to create an economy of scale, there were plans to combine villages together into huge farming combines.  These schemes were later called ‘Gigantomania.’


Published in: on October 21, 2010 at 1:08 pm  Comments (3)  
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Let’s Raid Wikipedia!

Who else needs a break from IFComp 2010 awesomeness?

The sad fact is that the Wikipedia article on Plot is abysmally skeletal.  Like an underfed chicken.  And, let’s face it, plot is a super-interesting topic!

A couple times, over the years, I’ve tried to add things to this entry, only to have some “editor” come along, compare the differences and say to himself (apparently):

What is this?  Someone has altered the meaning of this paragraph.  Revert!

–Generally without doing any basic research to see if the new meaning is more factually correct.

BUT, this time I think I’m starting to make some headway.  I’ve got the Latest Reverter saying, “Ok, ok, fine, just go away–”  (Didn’t you love to hear that from your parents?  It was basically carte blanche:   go ahead and paint the cat a better color, just do it quietly!)

You know what I think we need?

A history of plot.  Currently they just have Freytag’s pyramid, which is all anyone says about Freytag and isn’t even why he’s cool.  We can put in some Aristotle to give Freytag some context, work in some Agusto Boal, maybe, for an alternative point of view, and then get modern–

I dunno, you guys tell me:  Who talks about the function of plot in modern video games?  In CYOAs? 

I mean, this is Wikipedia.  We really should have something more than Freytag’s Pyramid.

C’mon, guys.  Pitch in.

Published in: on October 16, 2010 at 3:48 pm  Comments (3)  
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IFC10 review – Divis Mortis

This is a review of a Comp game, and as often happens in reviews of Comp games, I will be Saying Things about this game.

Divis Mortis, by Lynnea Dally, is a pretty standard type of IF game.  There are just a few typos and syntactic manglifications of the structures of sentences creep in warily, like the hobo you don’t know about who’s living under your porch.  But these are rare, and it is over all a solid and fun game:  fun if you like lite, light-hearted horror with a bit of grisle.

I finished it in one hour fifty minutes, and (comparing notes with other reviewers) it seems I got the basic no-frills good ending.

From here on there are

l (more…)

Published in: on October 12, 2010 at 9:20 pm  Leave a Comment  
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IFC10 Review – Gris et Jaune

This is a review of a Comp game, and as often happens in reviews of Comp games, I will be Saying Things about this game.


Published in: on October 8, 2010 at 12:52 pm  Comments (4)  
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IFC10 transcript – Heated

My review of Heated was terse.  I’ll explain by posting the transcript.  The introductory text of the game will pad to the cut tag.  The transcript is commented, with

>* comments written during gameplay preceded by an asterisk, and

//comments written after gameplay preceded by a double slash.

(You may want to read the transcript, or to search for the comments.)

Start of a transcript of

Heated An Interactive Fiction by Timothy Peers Release 1 / Serial number 100930 / Inform 7 build 5Z71 (I6/v6.31 lib 6/12N) Identification number: //B5BB5521-FC26-4227-87EC-FBEAD0EEFE58// Standard interpreter 1.1 (4F) / Library serial number 080126 Standard Rules version 2/090402 by Graham Nelson Undo Output Control version 1/090626 by Erik Temple (more…)

Published in: on October 6, 2010 at 11:35 am  Leave a Comment  
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IFC10 Review – Heated

This is a review of a Comp game, and as often happens in reviews of Comp games, I will be Saying Things about this game.


Published in: on October 5, 2010 at 11:18 pm  Comments (1)  
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Do You Have What It Takes To Play Games For A Living?

Clara Fernandez-Vara has written an essay on the life of a games studies scholar.  Here we have a little of everything:  some game history; that there are two ways of studying games (the theoretical — naming parts, and such — and the experimental — making one); a little simulator-narrative tension; and a bit about her own work on Rosemary, a game she designed at MIT to model memory.

Is this carreer for you?  Fun and games isn’t all fun and games — turns out it takes work!

Published in: on October 5, 2010 at 4:02 pm  Leave a Comment