Ectocomp 2012

Ectocomp is a Halloween-themed IF comp, which takes entries just before Halloween and then runs judging through the month of November. All of the games are written in 3 hours or less, which means that they tend to be very brief and a bit on the buggy side. Even with that caveat, though, several of this year’s crop were rather entertaining, and of course none takes very long to play, so it’s worth a look.

If you’re interested, there’s still time to play and vote!

I particularly recommend Carolyn VanEseltine’s What Are Little Girls Made Of?, a short piece that is all the more frightening for containing nothing supernatural or paranormal at all, just some well-observed characterization and a creepy scenario.

I also liked the premise of Parasites (Marius Müller), which concerns life on Earth after an alien invasion. The implementation is just rough enough that it’s possible to miss exactly what’s going on; it’s worth playing this until you’ve got both of the two distinct endings, or you’ll really have missed the point of the thing. But it’s successfully entertaining and disquieting.

The Hunting Lodge (Hulk Handsome) and Ghosterington Night (Wade Clarke) are both replayable puzzle games about dodging wandering-monster NPCs in sinister mansions. In both cases, I’m impressed by how much NPC action and varied puzzle outcome they were able to fit into three hours of implementation. The Hunting Lodge is also written in Twine, and serves as a bit of a demonstration of the versatility of that system. There were things about it that made me still wish it were a parser-based game, but it does some sophisticated modeling under the hood that most people may assume are not possible in a CYOA system.

Beythilda the Night Witch does its responses in rhyming poetry, which sometimes feels a bit stilted, but it’s an interesting and rare effect in IF. (Night Guest and Tempest try for some similar effects, but this is just not an easy thing to do.)

And finally, The Evil Chicken Of Doom 3D is as the name implies a determinedly goofy little story about menacing poultry. I had some difficulty in completing it, but I may have missed something obvious.

Other people have posted some comments here.

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