IF Competition Reviews

The annual IF competition is now on! I’m reviewing the games here as I go along, and a number of other people are also doing blog write-ups. Here are the ones I know of:

Peter Nepstad
Victor Gijsbers
Aric Maddux
Gemma Bristow
J. Robinson Wheeler
“Newlin”
Michael Martin
Skeet
ralphmerridew
“Another Mr Lizard”
Joshua H
Wesley Osam
Nick Bronson
Mike Rubin
Nitku
Sarah Morayati (Lucea)
Stephen Bond
Russian reviews (if your grasp of Russian is like mine, namely nonexistent, you may want this comical Google translation instead)
Merk (Mike Snyder)
http://mybloglovesme.tumblr.com/
http://minimumsafedistance.org/ (warning: reviews don’t seem to be cut-tagged)
“Imrihamun”
Carl Muckenhoupt
Cesia (no cut-tags here either; the author claims there are no spoilers, but if you’d rather avoid seeing any information about specific games before you play, you may still want to be cautious)
Octopus Overlords forum (brief, largely unspoilery reviews; no cut-tags)
Wintericecrystal’s Youtube reviews
N. B. Horvath (detailed comments are cut-tagged; overview of comp scores are not)
Lucy
Dan Shiovitz
Jacqueline Lott
Jake Wildstrom (no cut tags)
George Dorn
Christos Dimitrakakis (no cut tags)
Ben Deane (no cut tags)
“Scatmania” (I confess to a little nervousness about the title of this blog, but it does contain reviews for “Violet” and “Grief” so far, and may eventually develop others. No cut tags.)
Auntie Pixelante (no cut-tags, review of Violet only so far)
Sam Kabo Ashwell
David Fletcher
George Oliver
Rob Menke
JDC
Reiko
Jimmy Maher
SPAG 53
Various authors
Something awful forum (comments on Nightfall and Violet mixed in with thread)
Magnus Martyr
Dylan Meconis
“Gaming Dungeon”

Frotz in the iPhone App store

After all the various discussion of whether Apple would or would not allow it: it’s there. Craig Smith has a free-download version of Frotz available, which comes preloaded with a bunch of games (9:05, An Act of Murder, All Roads, Anchorhead, Balances, Being Andrew Plotkin, Bronze, A Change in the Weather, Child’s Play, Christminster, Curses!, Dreamhold, For a Change, Heroes, Jigsaw, Lost Pig, The Meteor, the Stone, and A Long Glass of Sherbet, The Act of Misdirection, Photopia, Slouching Towards Bedlam, Spider and Web, Varicella, Vespers, The Weapon, and Zork (MIT version)).

It also has a button that taps straight into IFDB, and downloading a new game adds it and its cover art to your game collection.

Plays a little slowly with Bronze, but faster than the reports I’ve heard of the game on other PDAs (and Bronze does whacking lots of pathfinding all the time). Older I6 games are faster.

IF cover art looks really nice on the iPhone screen, too.

Money and Ambition

Victor Gijsbers recently posted about the peculiar comments “The Baron” has received: viz., that an independently designed, morally thoughtful game isn’t “feasible” in the present market conditions — even though “The Baron” exists and therefore has passed the feasibility test in the only meaningful sense.

For a long time I, like Victor, have been annoyed by the “market forces tell all” mentality that says that projects are only successful when they earn money and that artists prove their artistic credentials by selling their material widely. This tends to be contrasted with the “critical success” method of determining the value of material: something is good if it elicits the praise and admiration of a small cadre of those whose opinions matter. Bonus points if cat-fights arise between competing groups of critics.

Continue reading “Money and Ambition”

IF for the hard-casual gamer?

Lately I’ve run across the term “hardcasual” or “hard-casual” to mean a game that appeals to a gamer’s sensibilities (rich and original game-play, not just another match-3 or time management clone) but offers the accessibility and limited commitment of a casual game. [1] [2] [3] [4].

Continue reading “IF for the hard-casual gamer?”

Still Alive

For months now I’ve been hearing about the astonishing storytelling power of Portal, along with its fabulous physics and game design.

I hardly ever play mainstream commercial video games — I don’t have the hardware to run it well, for one thing — but I was really curious about Portal, so recently when I got a chance to play it on friends’ XBox, I took it.

What follows is spoilery and also probably doesn’t make that much sense unless you’ve played.

Continue reading “Still Alive”

Cover Art Drive

IF Cover Art Drive is now officially running. From now until April 30, I am collecting IF cover art on Flickr. There are a few pieces already there, but more will be posted as they’re contributed.

The idea here is to try to collect contributions of art to serve as cover images for existing IF. There are two reasons to do this: first, to make IFDB more attractive and less pure-text; and second, so that people writing about IF on indie game blogs and websites will have something other than a screenshot of raw text with which to illustrate their articles. (More about the rationale for this is here.)

[Edit: for reference, a list of how things stand.]

Cover art submitted and accepted, or submitted by author:

  • The Act of Misdirection, by Callico Harrison
  • An Act of Murder, by Chris Huang
  • Ad Verbum, by Nick Montfort
  • Adventurer’s Consumer Guide, by Øyvind Thorsby
  • All Hope Abandon, by Eric Eve
  • All Roads, by Jon Ingold
  • And the Waves Choke the Wind, by Gunther Schmidl
  • Attack of the Yeti Robot Zombies, by Øyvind Thorsby
  • Augmented Fourth, by Brian Uri!
  • Bad Machine, by Dan Shiovitz
  • Balances, by Graham Nelson
  • The Baron, by Victor Gijsbers
  • The Beetmonger’s Journal, by Scott Starkey
  • Being Andrew Plotkin, by J. Robinson Wheeler
  • Blighted Isle, by Eric Eve
  • Blue Lacuna, by Aaron Reed
  • Breath Pirates, by Mike Snyder
  • The Chinese Room, by Harry Giles and Joey Jones (pending revisions)
  • Coke Is It!, by various
  • The Cove, by Kathleen Fischer
  • Cryptozookeeper, by Robb Sherwin
  • Dangerous Curves, by Irene Callaci
  • A Day for Soft Food, by Tod Levi
  • Degeneracy, by Leonard Richardson
  • Desert Heat, by Papillon
  • Distress, by Mike Snyder
  • The Djinni Chronicles, by J. D. Berry
  • The Edifice, by Lucian Smith
  • Enlightenment, by Taro Ogawa
  • An Escape To Remember, by IF Whispers
  • Fate, by Victor Gijsbers
  • A Fine Day for Reaping, by James Webb
  • Fine Tuned, by Dennis Jerz
  • Firebird, by Bonnie Montgomery
  • For a Change, by Dan Schmidt
  • Gardening for Beginners, by Juhana Leinonen
  • Gourmet, by Aaron Reed
  • The Gostak, by Carl Muckenhoupt
  • Help! My Vacuum Cleaner is Broken!, by Admiral Jota
  • In the End 2, by Adam Thornton
  • Katana, by Matt Rohde
  • King of Shreds and Patches, by Jimmy Maher
  • The Land of the Cyclops, by Francesco Cordella and Simone Di Conza
  • LASH, by Paul O’Brian
  • Learning to Cross, by Mark J. Musante
  • Legerdemain, by Nathan Jerpe
  • Letters from Home, by Roger Firth
  • Losing Your Grip, by Stephen Granade
  • Lost Pig, by Admiral Jota
  • Luminous Horizon, by Paul O’Brian
  • Lunatix — The Insanity Circle, by Mike Snyder
  • Lydia’s Heart, by Jim Aikin
  • Masquerade, by Kathleen Fischer
  • Moon-Shaped, by Jason Ermer
  • Mother Loose, by Irene Callaci
  • My Name is Jack Mills, by Juhana Leinonen
  • Not Just an Ordinary Ballerina, by Jim Aikin
  • Nothing But Mazes, by Greg Boettcher
  • Pass the Banana, by Admiral Jota
  • Persistence of Memory, by Jason Dyer
  • Photograph, by Steve Evans
  • Revenger, by Robb Sherwin
  • Rameses, by Stephen Bond
  • Ribbons, by J. D. Berry
  • Scavenger, by Quintin Stone
  • A Simple Theft, by Mark Musante
  • Snowblind Aces, by C. E. J. Pacian
  • Square Circle, by Eric Eve
  • Tales of the Traveling Swordsman, by Mike Snyder
  • The Tarot Reading, by Michael Penman
  • To Hell in a Hamper, by J. J. Guest
  • Trading Punches, by Mike Snyder
  • Treasures of a Slaver’s Kingdom, by S. John Ross
  • Undertow, by Stephen Granade
  • Voices, by Aris Katsaris
  • Waystation, by Stephen Granade
  • The Weapon, by Sean Barrett
  • Wearing the Claw, by Paul O’Brian
  • Whom the Telling Changed, by Aaron Reed
  • Worlds Apart, by Suzanne Britton

Cover art submitted and declined; submitted and unanswered; or supplanted by other art:

  • Aisle, by Sam Barlow
  • Anchorhead, by Michael Gentry
  • Chicken and Egg, by Adam Thornton
  • Choose Your Own Romance, by David Dyte
  • Christminster, by Gareth Rees
  • The Corn Identity, by IF Whispers
  • Deadline Enchanter, by Alan DeNiro
  • Delusions, by C. E. Forman
  • A Dino’s Night Out, by Aris Katsaris
  • Downtown Tokyo, Present Day, by John Kean
  • Elizabeth Hawke’s Forever Always, by Iain Merrick
  • Goldilocks is a FOX!, by J.J. Guest
  • Guess the Verb!, by Leonard Richardson
  • House of Dream of Moon, by IF Whispers
  • Janitor, by Peter Seebach and Kevin Lynn
  • Lost New York, by Neil deMause (would prefer no future cover art be created)
  • The One That Got Away, by Leon Lin
  • Rematch, by Andrew Pontious
  • Shade, by Andrew Plotkin
  • She’s Got a Thing for a Spring, by Brent VanFossen
  • Sins Against Mimesis, by Adam Thornton
  • Sting of the Wasp, by Jason Devlin
  • Theatre, by Brendon Wyber

Cover art submitted:

  • A Change in the Weather, by Andrew Plotkin
  • Delightful Wallpaper, by Andrew Plotkin
  • Hunter, in Darkness, by Andrew Plotkin
  • Spider and Web, by Andrew Plotkin

Cover art in progress:

Cover art requested:

Cover art “opted out”:

  • Building, by Poster

Continue reading “Cover Art Drive”