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:
J. Robinson Wheeler
“Another Mr Lizard”
Sarah Morayati (Lucea)
Russian reviews (if your grasp of Russian is like mine, namely nonexistent, you may want this comical Google translation instead)
Merk (Mike Snyder)
http://minimumsafedistance.org/ (warning: reviews don’t seem to be cut-tagged)
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)
Jake Wildstrom (no cut tags)
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
Something awful forum (comments on Nightfall and Violet mixed in with thread)
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”
Jimmy Maher’s most recent SPAG editorial contains the paragraph:
Some of us who are very, very good are writing games like the generally acknowledged best game of 2007: Lost Pig. On the one hand, Lost Pig is nothing to disparage. It’s hilarious; it’s great fun; it’s honed and polished to the most beautiful shine… And yet, on the other hand, it disturbs me just a bit that, after twelve months and dozens if not hundreds of game releases, a game about a cartoon-style orc with pidgin English skills trying to recover a pig was the pinnancle of our achievements. Best comedy (if such a category existed)? Sure. Best game? That concerns me a bit. It’s not that the XYZZY voters were wrong. Lost Pig probably was the best game of 2007. But why was it the best game? Where are the IF games that, to paraphrase a famous old Electronic Arts ad, make us cry?
I disagree with the sentiment that comedy is a second-class form, with less potential to be Real Literature. Continue reading “On Comedy and Feeling”
There are various good ways to announce projects and cool stuff to the IF community, such as:
- Posting to rec.arts.int-fiction or rec.games.int-fiction — these get a lot of posts daily and are the main point of contact in the community. If you’re not an IF regular but you want to get the word out about a contest, program, or event to people who are, your best bet is to post there.
- Sending an announcement to SPAG (which comes out every few months and includes community news) or Brass Lantern (which runs an RSS feed updated much more frequently but with briefer content)
- Having your own blog which you arrange to have picked up by Planet IF
- Listing events, tools, or projects at ifwiki
- Listing new games at IFDB
I mention this because I kinda want to discourage the trend of people asking me to mention/promote things on this blog.
I hope this doesn’t seem curmudgeonly, but there are already places to keep track of IF news. I’d prefer to keep this space for (a) stuff I’m working on myself or (b) stuff I have an opinion about and think is worth sharing. I’m not going to post announcements without looking at what they’re announcements for, but I don’t always have enough time to immediately check out everything that winds up in my inbox. And of course sometimes I look at something and don’t think it’s that interesting. (Bad judgment on my part, I’m sure.)
So… yeah. If you want to email me about something you think is cool, that’s terrific, but you should realize there’s a fair chance that I won’t have time to look it over right away, or that I won’t be moved to talk about it here.
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?”