Mite: Not So Friggin’ Huge

Posted in IfComp, Interactive Fiction on October 15, 2010 by preacherjohnposits

I haven’t posted reviews in a couple of days.  Partially this has been due to a strange combination of overwork and laziness, and partially this is because one of my online thingers got hacked.  So I got paranoid and changed all my passwords to everything.  And now, of course, I can’t remember my new passwords to anything.  But I eventually remembered this one!

So up now we have Mite, a z-code game by Sara Dee.  Sara Dee is also responsible for Madam Spider’s Web, a game which I am currently mixing up in my head with Plotkin’s Spider and Web, which is causing some vaguely amusing visual imagery of a giant house frau spider strapped to an interrogation table.  Anyhoo.  Let’s keep the buffer text short today and play this game.

Spoilers. I’m trying to hold them back, but they just. Keep. COMING!

Lost Sheep: Found!

Posted in IfComp, Interactive Fiction on October 11, 2010 by preacherjohnposits

As you might guess from my last rss-buffer entry, I’m not particularly church-going.    Aside from involuntarily dropping the f-bomb in polite company like some kind of syphilis-maddened avante-garde poet, I have the odd luck of going to church (any church) when the normal pastor is out sick and they have temporarily replaced him or her with Embarrassingly Crazy Preacher From Dimension Y.

The last time this happened, I was visiting a friend’s church nearby, and sure enough the normal guy (who was supposed to be giving a sermon on the importance of cultivating unconditional love and tolerance) was out sick.  His replacement for the day spent a solid hour giving a very heartfelt, impassioned speech that every single “negative” mental state humans have (anger, anxiety, lust, depression, what-have-you) is literally a demon trying to invade our souls*.  By the end of it, half of the congregation was face-palming, and the other half were desperately fashioning tin-foil hats.

So these days I generally just stay at home and try to be as good a person as possible to other people.

All that aside, I like bible stories.  And I’m always interested to see how people repackage and retell their favorites.   So up next we have The Lost Sheep, a z-code game by Ben Pennington, based on a very gentle parable.  Let’s take a gentle look.

Toot toot! Spoilers comin’ through!

Leadlight: Kickin’ it oldschool.

Posted in IfComp, Interactive Fiction on October 10, 2010 by preacherjohnposits

I should probably be reviewing one of the bible games next, since I had planned to space those out a little (so as not to unintentionally compare one to the other), but I’ve been semi-subconsciously avoiding them.  Not because I’m anti-bible (was raised Christian, and much of the second half is the basis for my own ethical system) but because I have a tendency to swear like a sailor. That might well piss off some otherwise reasonable people in the context of reviewing a bible game.  Unless the bible game itself was full of hurtful cuss-words, which would be kind of unique.

Anyway, I’ll hit one of the biblical games tomorrow and try to work on my swearing problem.  In the meantime, I’m going to kick it old-school style with one of the weirdo-interpreter games, Leadlight (a… wow, an Apple II game, by Wade Clarke).  It most definitely does NOT look like a bible game. At least not New Testament.

As most of you know already, weirdo-interpreter games can be kind of… bad… so I’m approaching this one with a bit of trepidation.  The artwork is purdy though, so I have some hope.  And I know that other people tend to skip the weirdo-interpreter games, so maybe if it is good I can get the word out or something.

Anyhoo, on with the show!

This line right here? Spoilers under it. Spoilers and a whole lotta candy corn.

The Chronicler: Needs a bit more time in the oven.

Posted in IfComp, Interactive Fiction on October 10, 2010 by preacherjohnposits

The following rss buffer text is not necessarily related to The Chronicler, a z-code game by John Evans, which we are reviewing.  It is just here to pass the time for a paragraph or two.

I’ve decided that I’m biased in favor of “weird” or “quirky” games.  Things from a bizarre perspective, or set in a bizarre place, or involving bizarre npcs.  Even if a game is incredibly well-written, if it’s about a protagonist having a normal day… I will probably go with the game that has me driving around with a Yeti in a golf cart, trying to dodge sentient landmines.  I mean, there’s a point where that’s no longer true depending on other factors, but it’s a solid general rule I’ve found for my own enjoyment of a work.  I could say this is because I live a boring life, but honestly I *don’t* lead a very boring life, so I don’t know why this is.

I wish more authors would push the throttle a little bit on their thematic elements, regardless of their chosen fictional milieu.  Even if it’s a slice-of-life game, hell, especially if it’s a slice-of-life game, I wish people shot for the out-of-the-ordinary.  Oh sure, shoot for real people, real emotions… but if you can’t do that, shoot for the rich and strange.  Or both at the same time.  Give us a glimpse of what’s REALLY lurking in your head, deep down.  I don’t know, what do you guys think?

Anyway, regardless, let’s hit up The Chronicler.  It’s not a huge spoiler to say that this game does not have a particularly ordinary location/theme, nor is it a huge spoiler to say the author should have better warned people about one huge glaring thing.

Huger spoilers than those are under this here cut!

Flight of the Hummingbird: Look, up in the sky, near that weird glowing wall!

Posted in IfComp, Interactive Fiction on October 9, 2010 by preacherjohnposits

Next up: Flight of the Hummingbird, a z-code game by Michael Martin!

I have this bizarre sense of deja-moniker.  Like, I feel like I have seen Michael Martin’s name around a whole bunch, but to the best of my knowledge I have never played one of his games.  Maybe I have seen him commenting on other people’s work?  Oh wait, yeah, I’ve read his reviews for last year’s comp!  And if I am not mistaken, he also authored the Retractable Quips and Quip-based Conversation extensions for I7, which I am quite fond of.  Well, there’s one mystery solved.

There are now only two mysteries left in the world.  One is what the hell happened to my pants (long story which still has no conclusion).  The other is what this game is going to be about.  I suspect it will NOT be about a magic Swan-Bird changing a Tsar’s son into an insect so that he can secretly visit his father, because that is the plot of Flight of the Bumblebee.  So out of the million-zillion things this game could be, I have narrowed it down by one.

Let’s drive the reviewer’s steamroller over this game and see what squirts out, shall we?

Spoilers! They’re everywhere! My God, they’re EVERYWHERE!

Aotearoa: You give Hulk Hogan’s flanks a bit of a kick.

Posted in IfComp, Interactive Fiction on October 9, 2010 by preacherjohnposits

I am really off my game today.  Aside from an uncharacteristic near-total lack of stimulants (legal, jeez), I was bumper tapped earlier by a woman with a vanity plate reading “Arya 51”, who proceeded to get out of her car and accuse me of being a lizard person who was intentionally harassing her.  Apparently “stopping on the red” is a form of lizard-person harassment.  This is a true thing that happened.  I eagerly await the day I am harassed by normal people, for normal-people things.

Then my car radio got stuck on some kind of local npr-like station, which would normally be fine except the radio announcer was talking about artificial exo-skeleton technology in the most boring way possible.  You’d think it would not be possible to talk about artificial exo-skeletons in a boring way, but he managed!  It was like listening to someone read the ingredients list on a box of multigrain crackers.

So I zoned out, had a fantasy about walking through traffic in a bad-ass artifical exo-skeleton, crushing cars while the drivers screamed “No, lizard person!  Please, spare us!”.  And then I got home, which brings us to now.

For tonight’s amusement we have Aotearoa, a glulx game by Matt Wigdahl.  It is only through sheer force of will that I have managed to spell the game’s name properly up until this point, and I fear that this state of affairs may not long continue.  Blame David Icke and the crazy drivers who read his books.  For the misspellings, but also just in general.

I’ll bet you money there’s a great many spoilers past the cut!

A Quiet Night At Home: For enhanced happiness, hit the head before you play this one.

Posted in IfComp, Interactive Fiction on October 7, 2010 by preacherjohnposits

And now we have “A Quiet Evening At Home”, a z-code game by anonymous.  I’ve noticed over the years that this “anonymous” character authors a whole lot of games, and the quality varies incredibly from one to the next.  If you’ve never played a game by anonymous, some of their hallmarks as an author include locked rooms which you must escape from, normal houses, weird implementation, and occasionally joke games that tend to really piss people off.  Truly a versatile author and I am excited to see what they have whipped up this time.

We actually had a bit of discussion amongst ourselves as to what this game would hold.  “A Quiet Night At Home” is exactly what I’d name a game filled with all the nightmare-inducing horrors I could dredge from my poor brain.  Jenni over at Pissy Little Sausages also had some jocular conjecture along those lines, but I will not repeat that conjecture here because someone might actually make it into a game (*shiver*).

Anyway, let’s play this thing, shall we?

Spoilers, as always, under this cut!