ShuffleComp Conclusions, and a couple more reviews

The ShuffleComp results are in, with the top third of the games earning “commended” status.

I didn’t get to play all of the works during the competition period itself. There were 33 games, as many as in a typical IF Comp, with a shorter play window, and while some of the games were little five-minute pieces, many of them were surprisingly involved.

Fifty Shades of Jilting is an Aisle-style take on Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover. The concept is a natural fit. The execution struggled a bit, at least for my experience, with some plausible verbs not covered (and I kept wanting to be able to use lyrics from the actual song as commands). I have the impression that the author may intend a post-comp release, though.


Bound is a tidy little puzzle about trying to get a stuck ring off your finger. As that premise might suggest, it doesn’t go very deep in the story direction. As a puzzle, it worked fine for me. Some reviewers talked about needing to replay, but I was (just) able to solve it in the first try.


Illuminate has a really cool concept, which is that you can manipulate some paintings to give more or less attention to particular aspects of the image. Interacting with a pictured chair or face or flagpole brings out new details.

There are lots of permutations to explore, though, and many of them aren’t immediately obviously rewarding on their own — that is, they give you just a little more information, but not so much that you feel like you’ve definitely gotten somewhere. I kept fiddling with it for a while, but didn’t feel like I was reaching any sort of conclusion or discovering a definitive meaning from any of this interaction. So for me this could have used a more directed design, even accepting that it’s meant to feel toylike.


Monkey and Bear is one of the commended pieces that I didn’t manage to get to within the competition period. It’s wholly deserving of its commendation, though: brief but highly evocative, and with a metaphor about healthy and unhealthy relationships at its heart. It both builds beautifully on the inspiration of the original song and adds some new, fitting elements of its own.

2 thoughts on “ShuffleComp Conclusions, and a couple more reviews”

  1. Thanks for the evenhandedness regarding “50 Shades”. Looking at my precedents in the Aisle-alike genre suggests that I should have implemented around 150 unique responses to give the impression of having expected everything (and to make the game less of a magic word hunt and more of a barrel-fish shoot). I was sweating bullets to get 50 in within minutes of the comp’s final submission deadline, however, so whenever I’m able to triple the amount of time (in which, sadly, workplace coffeebreaks figured rather prominently) I was able to put into sketching the outlines of this game, I’m looking forward to finally fleshing it out. I’ll notify my helpful critics when the time comes, but, y’know… don’t hold your breath. Cheers!

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