Bespoke IF

Greg Costikyan recently ran a post about GMing as bespoke tailoring — the idea that having your game run by an individual human with an interest in your tastes is the ultimate high-end in gaming experiences, with digital RPGs and MMO games as the equivalent of ready-to-wear stuff.

I don’t GM, but this interested me because I do enjoy what you might call bespoke IF authorship: writing a game (usually tiny, though not necessarily joky) for a specific person or small group of friends. Obviously, there’s usually no expectation that what I create is going to be of value or interest to anyone else; it’s more like writing a letter than like a literary exercise. The reason I find it so satisfying, though, is that it’s much easier to get the balance right if you’re addressing the game to a particular person’s play style.

Does anybody else do this? Or is it my own private form of crazy?

What, no game criticism?

Over on Play This Thing!, Greg Costikyan has posted a critique about the lack of game criticism — as opposed to game reviews — in the industry as a whole.

I thought this was pretty interesting, because it hadn’t previously occurred to me as a problem. It’s true that I don’t see a lot of criticism of mainstream games myself, but then, I don’t own a console or a Windows computer, don’t play most of these games, and don’t regularly read the relevant websites and magazines. So I assumed this stuff was out there somewhere, even if I never ran across it. (And, in fact, several of Greg’s commenters argue it does exist.) But this got me thinking about the situation in IF.

Continue reading “What, no game criticism?”


This particular item won’t come as news to anyone here, since I started with a review of an old-but-good piece, but I’m contributing reviews of IF to Greg Costikyan’s new indie and alternative game blog.

There’s some other cool and fun stuff to see over at PlayThisThing too. As it does pretty much everything but casual games, I’m hoping it’ll be a great game-a-day pairing with JayIsGames, where I get my casual fix.